An unusually thick (c. 88 m), transgressive barrier island and shoreface sandstone succession characterizes the Upper Jurassic Heno Formation reservoir of the Freja oil field situated on the boundary of Denmark and Norway. The development and preservation of such thick transgressive barrier island sands is puzzling since a barrier island typically migrates landwards during transgression and only a thin succession of back-barrier and shoreface sands is preserved. Investigation of the development and geometry of the Freja reservoir sandstones is problematic since the reservoir is buried c. 5 km and seismic resolution is inadequate for architectural analysis. Description of the reservoir sandstone bodies is thus based on sedimentological interpretation and correlation of seven wells, of which five were cored. Palaeotopography played a major role in the position and preservation of the thick reservoir sandstones. Using the nearest maximum flooding surface above the reservoir as a datum for welllog correlations, the base of the barrier island succession in the wells is reconstructed as a surface with steep, seaward-dipping palaeotopography. The relief is c. 270 m over a distance of c. 8 km and dips WNW. As a complementary approach to investigation of the reservoir architecture, a Holocene-Recent barrier island system in the Danish part of the NW European Wadden Sea has been studied and used as an analogue. The barrier island of RØmØ developed during a relative sea-level rise of c. 15 m during the last c. 8000 years and is up to 20 m thick. To unravel the internal 3D facies architecture of the island, an extensive ground penetrating radar (GPR) survey of 35 km line length and seven cores, c. 25 m long, was obtained. Although the barrier island experienced a rapid relative sea-level rise, sedimentation kept pace such that the island aggraded and even prograded seawards and became wider and longer due to the large surplus of sand.