Sights in West-Terschelling

Lighthouse Brandaris Terschelling

Lighthouse on Terschelling

The Brandaris is the recognizable lighthouse of Terschelling. It is the oldest lighthouse in the Netherlands. A beautiful square lighthouse with a rich history. The Brandaris lighthouse is probably named after Saint Brandarius, a saint after whom the present village West-Terschelling in the Middle Ages was named.

History of the lighthouse on Terschelling

The first tower wasn’t named Brandaris. It was built in 1323 to allow ships that were on their way to Amsterdam via the Zuiderzee to pass through the narrow opening between Vlieland and Terschelling. A good marking was necessary, because from the North Sea point of view the Wadden Islands are very similar.

The Hanseatic city of Kampen not only paid for the construction, but also brought the necessary stones and beams for the construction. To thank the villagers, they were allowed to moor for free on Terschelling for a long time. Because the sea slowly 'ate the beach' of Terschelling, the first lighthouse collapsed into the sea around 1570. It took until 1592 before the construction of a second tower was started. This Brandaris collapsed before it was finished, due to the bad building materials that had been used. The present tower dates from 1594 and is still standing.

About the lighthouse on Terschelling

The Brandaris often led the way with new developments: in 1837 the first rotating light was placed and in 1907 there was a lamp with electric drive. Since the restoration in 1977 there is also an elevator. The light is now fully automatic and there is special bird lighting to prevent birds from flying against the tower.

The salty air and the weather still eat at the Brandaris, so maintenance remains necessary. At the beginning of 2010 Rijkswaterstaat started to rejoin the tower. For a while there was talk that the crew of the Brandaris would go to the nearby nautical college, but in the end this was not continued.