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Wadden - Griend.PNG
Location of Richel in the Wadden Sea
Coordinates53°17′50″N 5°8′05″E / 53.29722°N 5.13472°E / 53.29722; 5.13472Coordinates: 53°17′50″N 5°8′05″E / 53.29722°N 5.13472°E / 53.29722; 5.13472
Archipelago(West) Frisian Islands
Adjacent bodies of waterWadden Sea

Richel (Dutch pronunciation: [ˈrɪɣəl] (About this soundlisten); English: Ridge), or rather De Richel (The Ridge), is a permanently dry sandbank in the Wadden Sea, in the gap between the Dutch islands of Vlieland and Terschelling. It is located about 1 kilometer east of the northernmost point of Vlieland and is administered by the municipality of Vlieland. The sandbank has an average surface area of 116 hectares.[1] It is completely flooded only during extremely high tides.[2]

The island is primarily known as the most important breeding place in the Wadden Sea for grey seals.[3] More than 300 pups are born on Richel in winter. In summer seals seem to prefer areas more sheltered from human contact. The sandbank is also important as a breeding and feeding area for ringed plovers, Kentish plovers, little terns and other bird species.

Richel is uninhabited and virtually barren. It is too low to support any permanent vegetation.[4] The sandbank is only able to support some temporary colonisation by the grass species sand couch (Elytrigia juncea).

The ferry between Harlingen and Vlieland passes by Richel, making a detour around the sandbank. During low tide, it is possible to walk to the sandbank from Vlieland (see mudflat hiking) although Richel is off-limits to humans due to its importance as a nature area. Boat trips from Vlieland used to be organised daily during the summer tourist season to observe the seal population on Richel.


External links[edit]

  • Media related to Richel at Wikimedia Commons