The one hundred or so inhabitants of the tiny sliver of earth in the North Sea just off Germany’s northwestern coastline don’t call their abode an island. They prefer the term Hallig. The Hallig amounts to an elevation in the wadden sea made of deposits of maritime sediments, rising about a meter higher than the average high tide waterline. The land is covered with grass, meadows and criss-crossed by countless ditches and narrow tidal creeks that drain off the rainwater. 

The only clearly visible landmarks the Hallig features are a number of man-made mounds, known here as Warften, that protect the buildings standing on them from being flooded by occasional unusually high tides: farm houses, stables, barns, a primary school and a church. Apart from grass and reeds along the ditches there is practically no vegetation around. Only a few gaunt trees have managed to survive on four or five of the Warften, protected from the wind by the buildings.

The Hallig is accessible only by ferry, running once or twice a day, or by tippers running on the railroad track built on a causeway to the mainland.

The Hallig offers a very limited number of facilities that are taken for granted elsewhere. These include running water, electricity and broadband Internet access. They do not, however, include a shop and a filling station. Emergency medical care is by helicopter only.

The Warften, are spread around on the Hallig like pearls on a string and are connected by a single-lane road. Motorised traffic is extremely sparse, as are cyclists and pedestrians. Visitors have the place pretty much to themselves nearly all year round, and particularly in winter. 

Apart from the Warften, the landmarks are few and far between: a tiny lighthouse on the westernmost tip, the tiny ferry-port and a few long-deserted piers dating from a time when the inhabitants still went fishing in the nearby costal waters.

What there is more than enough of, however, is the wide expance of open sky and the vast stretches of wadden sea and its mudflats, exposed only a low tide.

And then there is silence: no sound of traffic or machinery. Only the sound of the wind in your ear, perhaps the shrieking of wild geese or the song of a twitterling skylark in early spring.

Nothing else.