We find most dunes on Neeltje Jans but also in Schelphoek on Schouwen-Duiveland, near Roompot and the Jacobahaven on Noord-Beveland.
During the construction of the Eastern Scheldt barrier Neeltje Jans served as a working island. The pillars for the pillar dam were built here and the building material was stored here as well. In 1986 the pillar dam was ready and Neeltje Jans had no work to offer. The Dutch Society for the Preservation of Nature and The Zeeland Landscape Foundation took the initiative to transform the island into a nature reserve. They have drawn up a joint plan (in Dutch) for this purpose.
Trucks full of construction waste were taken away, tons of sand were dumped and the rest was up to the wind, which formed the sand into a natural dune. Wind and birds brought plant seeds, animals came flying, swimming, soaring and crawling. And so the varied nature reserve that we know today came into being. Full of birds, butterflies, wild bees and much more...
On Neeltje Jans you will find all stages of development of dunes: from young sea dunes through humid valleys and a dune lake to a row of high dunes. On the side of the Eastern Scheldt you’ll find a silt area with a bird island, on the North Sea side there is an inlet: a sandy plain behind the dunes where seawater regularly flows in, which can create a species-rich vegetation.