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Flat Screen TVs, Furniture, Toys And Clothes Wash Up On Beaches

Islanders have helped themselves to a whole heap of free goods after hundreds of containers fell off of a cargo ship.

One of the world's largest cargo ships lost its load during rough weather off the northern coast of the Netherlands on New Years Day.

The Dutch Coast Guard said a whopping 270 containers had fallen off the 396-metre long, 59-metre wide cargo ship called MSC ZOE.

TRANSLATION: Last update; 270 containers have been overboarded. Nothing more is known about the content than the goods that have now been washed up on the islands.

A huge clean-up is underway after dozens of containers washed ashore. IMAGE: AAP

At least 21 of those containers washed up on the shores of the Dutch islands of Terschelling and Vlieland on Wednesday night, while another 10 were spotted floating off the coast of Ameland and Schiermonnikoog.

Locals couldn't hide their excitement with many of the treasure hunters taking to social media to show off their haul during the cleanup.

There was everything from shoes to toys:

From chairs to flat-screen TV's:

And even car lights:

The lost goods are known as 'flotsam' which residents have been collecting for centuries.

The Mayor of the island of Vlieland, Tineke Schokker, said she's happy to let people take whatever they find because it's simply too hard and costly for authorities to keep an eye on everything that washes up.

"It's just really nice of people," she told local news agency ANP. "Processing it would cost more than the stuff is worth, and anyway with the two officers we have it would be impossible to guard, the stuff is littered over the whole beach."

READ MORE: Queenslanders Warned About Mystery Powder Packages Washing Ashore

It wasn't all safe materials on board the vessel though. The Dutch Coast Guard has warned three of the missing containers actually hold barrels of organic peroxide, which is a highly flammable and a toxic compound.

TRANSLATION: "Between the containers are 3 with organic peroxide, this is in powder form in barrels. It is not yet clear what type it is and whether these containers are now on land. Warning: Do not arrive and call police/fire department."

The incident came as a Dutch shipping firm was forced to apologise after three German funeral urns washed up on beaches in the Netherlands.

READ MORE: Student Hands Out Cookies With Grandparent's Ashes Mixed In

The urns contained human ashes which were meant to be used in a marine funeral but an employee had let a wet box holding the urns slip over a railing into the sea by accident.

Prosecutors in Germany told local media they were deciding if a crime, such as disturbance of the dead, had been committed.