Of all the tiny hamlets in north Friesland, two of the most interesting lie on the Waddenzee. Moddergat, the more easterly of the two, spreads out along the road behind the sea wall 10km northeast of Dokkum, merging with the village of Paesens. At its western edge, a memorial commemorates the 1883 tragedy when seventeen ships sank during a storm, with the loss of 83 lives. Opposite, ’t Fiskerhuske Museum, Fiskerpad 4–8 (end Feb to Oct Mon–Sat 10am–5pm; July & Aug Mon closed but Sun 1–5pm; €4; w museummoddergat.nl), comprises three restored fishermen’s cottages with displays on the history and culture of the village and details of the disaster: as such small museums go, it’s pretty good.
Huddled behind the sea dyke 5km to the west, Wierum has one main claim to fame, its twelfth-century church with a saddle-roof tower and (as in Moddergat) a golden ship on the weather vane. The dyke offers views across to the islands and holds a monument of twisted anchors to the fishermen who died in the 1883 storm and the dozen or so claimed in the century after.