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Attractions: places worth seeing in Zeeland

Zeeland has more to offer than only its beaches. Many beautiful museums can be found in this province where you can learn all about the history of Zeeland and its fight against the water. Several small amusement parks, playgrounds and indoor swimming pools can be found in Zeeland. Every year several small and large festivals are held in this province which are all well worth visiting. So if you visit Zeeland we advise you to visit one of the many places of interest instead of spending your entire holiday on the beach. We have listed several of the most popular sights in Zeeland below.

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Neeltje Jans and the Delta Works

Neeltje Jans is the former work island (an artificial island) of the Delta Works and is part of the Delta Works and the Easter Scheldt storm surge barrier. The Delta Works are the answer of the people of Dutch Flanders to the floods of 1953. Nowadays Neeltje Jans is home to the Delta Park Neeltje Jans. In this amusement/theme park many attractions can be found. Among them are a large water playground and a hurricane machine. Several seals live in the park that perform shows. Originally the Neeltje Jans Delta Park was an educational center about the Delta Works. On the island pillar 66 can be found. This pillar was built as an extra pillar for the Easter Scheldt storm surge barrier in case one of the pillars would break during the construction. Nowadays pillar 66 is used as a climbing wall.

The Arsenal

The Arsenal can be found on the Arsenal Square near the fishing harbor of Vlissingen. the largest pirate playground in the Netherlands can be found in the Arsenal as well as several aquariums. The pirate playground is divided into several parts covering several floors. You can find a shell treasury, a pirates adventure and a playing island here. At the ‘Schuimers & Schavuiten’ exhibition you can learn all about the habits of the pirates. During this exposition you may run into some of the most dreaded pirates ever. You can also admire the skeleton of a cachalot or sperm whale here. This cachalot was washed ashore on Ameland years ago and was moved to the Arsenal. The aquariums all have a different theme. There is a tropical aquarium and an aquarium with piranhas. The real daredevils can visit Cayman Island. Here can get very close to the Caymans. In the ocean tank the largest and most dangerous fish in the ocean can be admired while you are safely inside a bubble. The crow’s nest towers high above the Arsenal. Here you have a spectacular view of the North Sea and Vlissingen. the crow’s nest is also used as a marriage location.

Mussel and Oyster farming in Yerseke

The mussels from the Easter Scheldt are known for being the tastiest in the world. During mussel season, from the second part of July till the beginning of April you can go on a tour in one of the mussel processing companies. These tours can be booked at the local tourist information office. You can also combine your tour with a tour along the mussel beds. A visit to Yerseke is not complete until you have tasted the mussels. Before mussel farming was the main source of income for Yerseke the oysters and the oyster beds were of economic importance for the village. The first oyster beds were built during the second half of the 19th century. Almost all oysters in the Netherlands come from Yerseke. Guided tours are offered all year round. During a tour you have the opportunity to taste the oysters.

Concert at Sea

The most famous band from Dutch Flanders is BlØf. With songs like “Hier aan de kust” and “Dansen aan Zee” the band has made several odes to the beautiful landscape of Zealand. In 2003 the band gave a free concert at the Brouwersdam to thank its fans. After this the idea was launched for the first Concert at Sea which was held on 8 July 2006. This edition was a very big success and attracted about 60,000 visitors. This makes Concert at Sea is the biggest festival ever held in Zeeland. During the first edition bands such as BlØf, Ilse DeLange, Racoon and Novastar performed. From the third edition in 2009 performances were already held on the Friday before the actual festival. This was to prevent traffic jams on Saturday. Nowadays Concert at Sea is a two-day festival. Over the past few years all famous Dutch artists performed here as well as several famous artists from other countries. In 2011 the organization had to make a hard choice. The entire Saturday program had to be canceled because of bad weather. In the weekend of Concert at Sea there are many traffic jams on the roads of Schouwen Duiveland towards the Brouwersdam. Finding a good parking spot is almost impossible. Those who haven’t booked a spot on a campsite or stay the night somewhere in the vicinity of the concert will have to spend hours to leave Zeeland.

Vlissingen boulevard

Vlissingen boulevard is among the most beautiful boulevards in the Netherlands. The boulevard stretches out for about 2 kilometers and is divided into three parts, all of which have been named after an old sea hero. The first part of the boulevard was named after Michiel de Ruyter and stretches from the statue of Michiel de Ruyter to the prisoners’ tower. Here the Bankert boulevard starts which stretches to the Sardijn tower. Here the Evertsen boulevard starts which stretches to the Woold house. From the boulevard you have a beautiful view of the North Sea and the ships that sail towards the port of Vlissingen. There is no other city where the ships sail so closely along the boulevard. Between the Evertsen boulevard and the North Sea the Badstrand (beach) is situated which is also known as the Boulevardstrand. The ships that pass by may cause high waves. Several restaurants and cafés can be found on the boulevard as well as several hotels. On the boulevard a work of art called ‘Wereld windorgel Vlissingen’ can be admired. This is the only permanently operational wind chime in the Netherlands. However, the most popular work of art on the boulevard of Vlissingen is the statue of Michiel de Ruyter. This statue dates back to the second half of the 19th century and was restored recently. An annual night fair is held on the boulevard.

Lake Veere

Lake Veere (Veerse Meer) is an artificial brackish water lake which was created because of the Delta Works. When the Veerse Gatdam (dam) was constructed in the Veerse Gat the lake was created. Lake Veere is 22 kilometers long and only 150 meters wide in some places. 13 islands are situated in the lake. Lake Veere is very popular among water sports enthusiasts. Several marinas can be found here. A canoe harbor is situated at the ‘De Piet’ nature reserve. The lake is also very popular among anglers. Every year more than 10,000 rainbow trout and brown trout are released to stock the lake for the fishing season. The Zilveren Schor and Aardbeieneiland are popular diving spots in the lake. Water skiing is allowed in the lake. If you don’t have a boat you can use the zip line. The most popular cities in the vicinity of Lake Veere are: Kortgene, Kamperland, Veere and Wolphaartsdijk. In the vicinity of Vrouwenpolder the beach of Lake Veere is situated.

Flood museum

The Flood Museum was opened in 2001 and is situated in one of the caissons that was used to close the gaps in the dike after the disaster. In 2009 the museum was reopened after it was rebuilt and expanded. Nowadays the museum consists of four caissons, all of which show another theme of the disaster. The flood museum can be found in the vicinity of Zierikzee on Schouwen Duiveland near Ouwekerk.

The museum gives you a good overall picture of the impact and the consequences of the disaster. The museum also elaborates on which measures had to be taken to prevent a repetition of the disaster. The first three caissons are about the facts, emotions and reconstruction. The fourth caisson is about the future of Zeeland and the rest of the Netherlands. The flood museum is the most popular museum in Zeeland and attracts about 60,000 visitors per year.

The Burgh Haamstede mountain bike trail

In the dunes in the vicinity of Burgh Haamstede in the biggest forest of Zeeland the mountain bike trail of Burgh Haamstede can be found. This trail is almost 9 kilometers long. This trail is also known as the ‘Boswachterij Westerschouwen’ (forestry). The trail has been in the top 10 of the most beautiful trails in the Netherlands for years. The trail is very tough. If you are an untrained mountain biker you will be forced to dismount regularly. The largest part of the trail consists of a single track route with fierce climbs and steep descents. Mats have been laid down on the most worn parts of the trail to make the climbs easier. How difficult the trail is depends on the time of year and precipitation figures. During longer periods of drought the trail gets very sandy causing the trail to be at its toughest. The trail can be reached quite easily. At the start of the trail you can find a large parking lot. You do have to pay a parking fee here.

Film by the Sea

Film by the Sea is one of the biggest film festivals in the Netherlands. It has been held annually in September from 1999 in Vlissingen. Film by the Sea links film to literature. Every year several films are shown that are filmed versions of a novel. The best film gets awarded the Dioraphte Film and literature award. The film festival used Scheveningen as a second location several times, nowadays Terneuzen is the second location. The festival attracts almost 50,000 film lovers every year. Many famous actors and directors have already visited the festival. The cinema in Vlissingen is often used to show important premieres.

Mini Mundi

Mini Mundi is a small amusement park near Middelburg. What used to be Miniature Walcheren is nowadays a part of this park. Besides the many small buildings which are typical of Dutch Flanders many attractions can be found here. There is a family roller coaster, a large swing and a large indoor playground. The Mini Mundi Express passes through the park; it passes by several highlights of the park. Among other things, the former Miniature Walcheren consists of the old city center of Middelburg Vlissingen Boulevard and the bells of Arnemuiden. The park is open to the public almost the entire year from 10am till 7pm. On Wednesdays from 12pm till 7pm.

Eating mussels in Philippine

Where Yerseke is the most important city in Zeeland for mussel farming Philippine is the most important city in Zeeland and maybe even in the world to eat mussels. The village has a population of less than 2,200, more than 800 restaurant seats can be found here. The village is known as the mussel city of the Netherlands. This is from the period when Philippine had an open connection with the Wester Scheldt and the North Sea. During the mussel season busloads of tourists travel here to enjoy mussels á la Philippine. These are boiled mussels with herbs, vegetables and white wine. During the last weekend of August the annual mussel festival is held. This festival is held on the Philippine market square where you can also find the ‘Mussel’ statue.

The drowned land of Saeftinghe

The drowned land of Saeftinghe is a nature reserve situated near the border with Belgium on the left bank of the Wester Scheldt. This area is a state nature reserve which is managed by the ‘Het Zeeuwse Landschap’ foundation. A large variety in plant and birdlife can be found here. This is also why it has been included in the list of Important Bird Areas of Birdlife International. The foundation organizes walks through the area on a regular basis. Two walking routes have been set out in the area. The area used to be grazed by sheep. However, nowadays they use cattle for this. If the proposals to flood the Hedwigepolder in Dutch Flanders and the Prosperpolder in Belgium go through the area of the drowned land of Saeftinghe will be enlarged by 500 acres. The villages that used to be situated within these area get exposed on a regular basis.

Het Zwin

Het Zwin is the Dutch part of the Nature Reserve Zwin which consists of the Zwin estatuary and the Provincial Nature Reserve in Belgium. This inlet used to connect the Belgian city of Bruges with the North Sea. However, over the centuries it became unusable because it got silted up. Behind the dunes of Het Zwin large tidal salt marshes can be found where you can find samphire and sea lavender. In the Belgian part of Het Zwin an educational bird park can be found. Among other birds storks and cormorants live here. The Dutch part is managed by the ‘Het Zeeuwse Landschap’ foundation. The beaches and mouth of the gully are open to the public. The tidal salt marshes can only be visited by taking a guided tour which is held every Thursday in July and August.

Steam train Goes Borssele

This tourist steam train goes from Goes to Hoedekenskerke. The electric train goes one station further to Baarland. The original idea to have the train go as far as Borssele was canceled because the last part of the track was declared unfit for use. During this nostalgic trip you are taken across the southern part of South Beveland in beautifully restored railway carriages. You can choose between three different classes. If you take the first class you can enjoy the scenery from velvet seats. If you choose the third class you will feel every little bump while being seated on a wooden bench. The trip is about 11 kilometers long. You are allowed to take your bicycle with you so you can cycle back. During the summer the train runs every day of the week with the exception of Saturday. During spring and fall the train goes on different days.

More information on Zeeland

The following sites offer extensive tips and information on Zeeland:
Zeeland tourist info

Zeeland travel guide
Zeeland weather & climate
wikipedia

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