The Ecomare Nature Museum, Aquarium & Sanctuary offers a unique and educational experience that will take you closer to nature and its wonders. Located on the beautiful island of Texel in the Netherlands, Ecomare offers visitors a chance to explore and learn about the diverse marine life and ecosystems that thrive in the North Sea.
If we wipe out the fish, the oceans are going to die. If the oceans die, we die.~ Paul Watson
Welcome to Ecomare
Ecomare is a nature museum, aquarium, and sanctuary that was founded in 1925 as a bird sanctuary. Over the years, it has expanded to include a diverse range of exhibits and activities that showcase the rich biodiversity of the North Sea and the Wadden Sea. The museum is home to a variety of marine mammals, such as seals and porpoises, as well as a vast collection of fish, crustaceans, and other sea creatures.
What to Expect
At the Ecomare Nature Museum on Texel, visitors can expect to learn about the diverse marine life and ecosystems found in the Wadden Sea, as well as the history of Texel as a fishing and whaling community.
Entrance: Sperm Whale of 1953
In 1953, a sperm whale washed ashore on the beach of Texel, an adult male measuring 15 meters in length and in an advanced stage of decomposition. The remains were collected and brought to the Texel Museum. Over 25 years later, a large bone was discovered by Texel skipper Piet Slik on the tidal flats of Vliehors, partially sticking out of the sand. Workers at the Texel museum excavated the bone and identified it as the skull of the same sperm whale that washed ashore 25 years prior.
When the museum moved from the wood to the Ruijslaan, the skeleton was brought along. A complete model of the living animal was also built around the bones, which was the first of its kind. However, after 30 years, the model was no longer suitable for the new terrace. As a result, the bones are now displayed in their original state.
Despite efforts to repair the skeleton, including the use of polyester and polyurethane foam, the bones have been badly damaged by weather, wind, and salt. As a result, the museum has decided to let the bones naturally decompose into dust.
Exhibition: Whale Hall
The Whale Hall at Ecomare is a spectacular place to visit. It’s not just the enormous skeletons that make it so special, it’s also the blue color and special lighting that adds up to an experience you’ll never forget.
You literally walk among these whales’ skeletons; they’re all whales and dolphins that stranded near Texel. You feel very small when standing next to the giant skull of a 15-meter long sperm whale. In a special display case, you find one of the smaller showpieces of the exhibit: a piece of ambergris, a material that only forms a few sperm whales and formerly called ‘floating gold’. Discover the fascinating story behind this find in the exhibit!
Exhibition: Wadden Sea & Wadden City
Discover the wonders of the Wadden Sea with the interactive exhibition, The Wonderful Wadden Sea. This exhibit takes visitors on a journey through this unique and wild place on earth, which has earned UNESCO World Heritage status for a reason. From the geological history to the migratory patterns of its inhabitants, the exhibit covers all aspects of the Wadden Sea’s biodiversity.
Visitors can play games that showcase the annual route of the red knot or learn about the formation of coal under the Wadden Sea. Additionally, an impressive time-lapse film demonstrates the tides and the constantly changing landscape. The exhibit also highlights the threats facing the Wadden Sea, including climate change, pollution, and overfishing.
Explore the fascinating underwater world of the Wadden and North Sea at the sea aquarium. This exhibit features dozens of species of sea fish, starfish, and shellfish living in large open aquaria. Each aquarium recreates a specific habitat, allowing visitors to observe young fish in the Wadden Sea, sharks and rays in the North Sea, and mullets in the harbour.
Prepare to be amazed by the unusual and diverse marine life on display at the sea aquarium.
Get up close and personal with seals at Ecomare. This exhibit features a variety of seal species from the North Sea and Wadden Sea, as well as one ringed seal that is occasionally found in the North Sea as a vagrant.
Every year, Ecomare cares for around 100 young, sick, weakened, or wounded seals, nursing them back to health before releasing them back into the wild. Visitors can follow the entire seal care process up close, including observing the smallest and weakest seals in special seal quarantines.
Additionally, Ecomare is home to seals that cannot return to the wild, including older seals that are blind or missing teeth, and younger animals that are unable to survive in nature due to various circumstances. These seals are cared for their entire life at Ecomare.
Make sure not to miss the daily feeding of the seals at 11 am and 3:30 pm.
The gift shop at Ecomare on Texel offers a variety of souvenirs and gifts related to the museum’s exhibits and the natural environment of Texel. Visitors can find books, clothing, toys, and other items that showcase the diverse marine life and ecosystems found in the Wadden Sea.
Additionally, the gift shop features products made from sustainable materials and supports local artisans and conservation efforts. Whether you’re looking for a memento of your visit or a unique gift for someone special, the Ecomare gift shop has something for everyone.
Overall, Ecomare offers a unique and educational experience for all ages interested in the natural wonders of the Wadden Sea.
Experience the Nature Museum
Experience the Ecomare Nature museum by taking a virtual tour and see the beauty the museum has to offer. This beautiful virtual tour allows you to experience the museum and the seals racing through the water at 35 kilometers per hour in the water. Ecomare cares for approximately one hundred seals per year.
To see the seals live, use the Texel Webcam link below.
Book Tickets Online
Tickets to the Ecomare Nature Museum can be purchased at the entrance. Prices varies between €10 and €15 depending on whether you purchase an adult ticket or a youth ticket.
For more details on Tickets & Ticket Prices, it is best to visit the Ecomare website.
You can park everywhere on Texel with the Texel e-sticker. This digital parking ticket is also valid for Ecomare’s parking lot. For more information, go to texelevignet.nl.
Use the Google Maps below to get directions for driving, public transit, walking, ride-sharing, cycling, flight, or motorcycle from your current location to the Ecomare Nature Museum. You can also use the map to explore the surrounding areas to find something interesting.
1796 AZ De Koog
Opening hours for Ecomare is as follows, except on 1 January and 25 December:
- Daily: 09:30 – 17:00
No entrance after 16:30.