Ameland is one of the West Frisian islands. Most of the island, which has an area of 6,000 hectares/15,000 acres, is now a nature reserve. Ameland can be reached by car, but since the greatest distance to be covered is only 20km/12.5mi the most convenient form of transport is a bicycle. Ameland's main source of income is the tourist trade, to which agriculture comes second. There are only four villages on the island - Hollum, Ballum, Nes and Buren.In the 14th century Ameland belonged to Bavaria, although its neutrality was recognized from 1396 onwards. It was granted full independence and neutrality by the Spaniards in 1598. In 1801 it became part of Friesland, with which it was connected by a causeway until 1883.
Nes, Ameland, Netherlands
The chief place on the island of Ameland is Nes, where the ferry from Holwerd puts in. The days when Ameland was a whaling center are recalled by the 18th century commandeurshuizen - the homes of the captains of the whaling fleet - to be seen in Nes and the other villages. The most prominent feature of the village is the church tower (1664) with its characteristically Frisian saddle roof. The church itself dates from the 13th century.
Natural History Museum
The Ameland Natural History Museum on the seafront promenade illustrates the varied natural pattern of the island.
A tower standing by itself at Ballum is thought to have belonged to the chapel of a castle which once stood here.
Hollum is the most westerly village on the island of Ameland. When the island was taken by the Sea Beggars the church was destroyed, but it was rebuilt in 1678. In the churchyard are the graves of captains of the island's whaling fleet and British airmen shot down during the Second World War.Hollum has a church from the 12th century and a lighthouse from 1880. as well as a popular historical museum.
Museum of Antiquities
The Amelandse Oudheidkamer (Museum of Antiquities), at Herenweg 1, is housed in one of the old kommandeurshuizen, 't Sorgdragershske (1751), with its original furnishings and displays of traditional costumes and other items illustrating life and work on the island.
A feature of local interest on Ameland is the Hollum lifeboat, which is pulled into the sea by 10 horses. Eight horses were drowned when it was being launched in 1979; they are buried nearby.