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Photographer's Note

This picture was taken from the ferry leaving the island of Schiermonnikoog, which is still visible at the horizon here.

The ferry runs from Schiermonnikoog to Lauwersoog.

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SCHIERMONNIKOOG is one of the Frisian Islands, a municipality, and a national park in the northern Netherlands.

The island is only 16 km long and 4 km wide and is the site of the Netherlands' first national park. The only village on the island is also called Schiermonnikoog. Just under 1,000 people permanently reside on the island, making the municipality the least densely populated in the Netherlands.

The first known owners of Schiermonnikoog were the monks of a Cistercian monastery on the mainland. "Monnik" means "monk" and "schier" is an archaic word meaning "grey", referring to the colour of the monks' habits. "oog" translates as "island". The name Schiermonnikoog therefore translates as "island of the grey monks".

Because the island is small and flat, only 200 islanders have taken out the special licence allowing them to keep their own car, which the result that the few streets are virtually car-free.

Up to 300,000 people visit the island every year, staying in the 5,500 beds available in holiday homes, apartments and hotels. Most visitors, however, are day trippers, with the result that after the last ferry leaves at 6.30pm, calm returns to the village high street.

The only public transport to Schiermonnikoog is a ferry from the lock and harbour complex of Lauwersoog. Tourists are not allowed to bring their cars with them on the ferry. The most common form of transport is by bicycle.

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