Interviews Texel Tuesday 13 January 2015
On the afternoon of the 13th of January, we interviewed several inhabitants of Texel in the village of De Koog. The village was quite quiet, especially compared with the crowded streets during summertime. Most bars and shops were closed and despite of the relative good weather, not much people were walking down the streets.
The interview questions were based on the proposal to create the first sustainable market place in De Koog. The inhabitants were very helpful and happy to cooperate as the proposal of the sustainable market place considers their village. In most cases the interview shifted towards a conversation about Texel and sustainability. People were not that attached to the topic of public space, as they did not see the relationship between sustainability and public space because this is less clear compared to a topic like water. Conclusions of the interview are written down below.
The public space seemed a bit over-dimensioned but as told by an inhabitant the streets are quite crowded during the high season. July and August are the two months that are considered as high season. Almost every working day, there is a market on Texel; each day in another village. Market traders from the mainland sell their stuff in the villages. The Texelaars consider the stuff as debris and do not buy at these markets. The Texelaars we spoke do visit these markets, except if there is something special about that market what has their interest. Tourists however, are almost visiting each day another market in another village. It is a smart way to attract the people to the different villages. According to a Texelaar, the tourists are almost moving every day to another village. This results in a parking problem. Major parking lots are constructed in the village, which are completely empty during wintertime. During high season it is very hard for Texelaars to find a spot near their homes.
All beds are occupied during high season; during wintertime the accommodations are mostly empty. However, there is a trend going on that Texel becomes more popular during wintertime as well. Another trend is the shift towards quality instead of quantity. It could be aligned with the trend that Texel becomes more popular during the winter. Till a few years ago, the late teenagers had a big share in the amount of tourists. However, due to several reasons like the increase of the drinking age, the youth decided that Texel is not interesting enough anymore. Several campsites went bankrupt and some beds became available (there is a maximum amount of beds on Texel). New accommodations are build with more quality and of course they are more expensive and targeting another group of tourists. This has some affects on the public space, as the users of the public space change. So public space is especially important during summer but becomes more important during wintertime.
In general, the inhabitants are pretty content with the current public space in De Koog. It is a practical public space without troubles. It is not quite new anymore but it meets the demands of the Texelaars. According to the Texelaars we spoke, the public space does not have to be adjusted in order to become more sustainable. Sustainability in general is desirable, but only if this increases their profits.
Currently there is already a culinary festival what is a success, both for the inhabitants and the Texelaars.