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Villages and cities in Zeeland

Several beautiful cities and picturesque villages can be found in Zeeland. We only describe the most beautiful and most popular ones on this page. If you spend your holiday in Zeeland we advise you to visit one of the medieval villages or one of the beautiful cities in the province instead of spending your entire holiday on one of the beautiful beaches. Every city in Zeeland has its own character and past. However, in each and every one of them water and the sea play a major role. There are no real big cities in Zeeland. The entire province has a lower population figure than the city of The Hague. The capital of the Zeeland province is Middelburg which has a population of 40,000. This is also the largest city in the province.

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Dorpen & steden in Zeeland
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Middelburg

Middelburg is the capital and the largest city of Zeeland. The city is located on the former island of Walcheren. It is an old city which was founded in the 9th century AD. Many things from its long history can still be admired in Middelburg. Among them are the city hall, the abbey, the Kloveniersdoelen and the Lange Jan. Middleburg offers more than 1,100 monuments. With that it is in the top 10 of the Netherlands.

The cozy old center of the city is ideal for shopping. Afterwards you can have a drink in one of the many cafes. The Zealand museum can be found in the city as well as Mini Mundi which is an amusement park. This amusement park used to be known as miniature Walcheren. Every Thursday the largest market in Zeeland is held in Middelburg. Because only few changes have been carried out over the centuries several small squares can be found in the center.

Vlissingen

Vlissingen is a large city located on the Walcheren Island on the North Sea and on the banks of the Scheldt River. Because of its strategic situation Vlissingen played an important role in Dutch history. Over the centuries Vlissingen has been under the rule of the Spanish, French and English. Nowadays Vlissingen is a popular tourist destination in Zeeland. Especially the boulevard of Vlissingen with the statue of Michiel de Ruyter attracts many tourists every year. The most popular beach of Vlissingen is situated, the Badstrand at the bottom of the boulevard. Several attractions can be found in Vlissingen such as the maritime “muZeeum” of Zeeland, the arsenal, the reptile zoo Iguana and the Vlissingen wind chime.

The port of Vlissingen is among the five largest ports in the Netherlands and is one of the most important employers in the city. The port of Vlissingen merged with the port of Terneuzen and is known as the port of Zeeland nowadays. Every year the film festival ‘Film by the sea’ is held in Vlissingen. this festival attracts almost 50,000 visitors.

Goes

Goes is centrally located in Zeeland in the western part of the Zuid Beveland peninsula. Goes is the capital of the Goes municipality which consists of several small places. Goes is an old city which was granted town privileges at the beginning of the 15th century. The old city hall and the Maria Magdelena church date back to this period. During this period there was an open connection with the sea. Nowadays the marina of the city is connected to the Easter Scheldt River via a canal. The city is very popular as a shopping city. Especially the area in the vicinity of the Grote Markt (square) is very popular. During the summer you can enjoy a ride on a steam train between Goes and Borssele. The largest event halls in Zeeland, the Zeelandhallen are situated in the vicinity of Goes.

Zierikzee

Zierikzee is a small old city on the Schouwen Duiveland Island and is the capital of the Zierikzee municipality. The city was founded in the Middle Ages. Zierikzee was granted town privileges in the 13th century. Zierikzee with its many beautiful old buildings and gates is also known as a museum city. The most popular monument in the city is the St Lievensmonstertoren (tower) which dates back to the 13th century. In the old city hall a museum on the history of Zierikzee is situated. On the tower of the city hall an image of Neptune, the God of the Sea can be found. The three remaining city gates all have been very well preserved. In the Zuidhavenpoort (gate) the former Carillion of the city hall can be found. This is the oldest Carillion in the Netherlands. Near the city the Zeelandbrug (bridge) can be found which connects Noord Beveland with Schouwen Duiveland. This was the longest bridge in Europe for a long time.

Bruinisse

Bruinisse is a small and very cosy village that attracts many tourists every year. The main sources of income for the village used to be fishing and mussel farming. However, nowadays the main source of income is tourism. This is mainly because of the Grevelingendam (dam) and Aquadelta, which is an amusement park. Two museums can be found in the village, both offer an exhibition on mussel farming. During the fishing event days the start of the mussel season is celebrated exuberantly. Bruinisse is a popular tourist destination, mainly because it is situated on the water. From one of the two harbors of the city you can sail towards the Eastern Scheldt or the Grevelingen River via the Mastgat. The Aquadelta amusement park is almost as big is the village itself. In the amusement park you can find a swimming pool, a shop, a bowling alley and a miniature golf course. The marina of Bruinisse is among the largest in the Netherlands.

Renesse

Renesse is one of the most popular holiday destinations in Zeeland. Renesse has been a popular seaside resort since the beginning of the 20th century. During the summer so many tourists visit this city that large parking places had to be created in the vicinity of the city. From these parking places you can either take the bus to one of the beaches or to Renesse itself. Just like every tourist village on the Dutch coast many souvenir shops and clothes stores can be found as well as ice cream saloons and chips stands. In the vicinity of Renesse about 17 kilometers of beaches can be found. The beautiful beaches of Renesse have all been awarded the Blue Falg, which is an eco label for the cleanest beaches in Europe. Just outside the village the Moermond fortress can be found. Nowadays a restaurant and a congress center can be found here. The oldest parts of this fortress date back to the 13th century.

Burgh Haamstede

After Renesse Burgh Haamstede is the most popular tourist destination on Schouwen Duiveland. The city consists of two parts: the village of Burgh and the village of Haamstede. The inhabitants of the villages are not happy about the fact that they were amalgamated. The village is known by most people for the fact that its lighthouse was used as the image on the 250 gulden bill. Just outside the villages several holiday parks can be found. This causes the population figure to triple during the summer. Most tourists travel here to enjoy one of the beautiful beaches. One of the most beautiful mountain bike trails in the Netherlands can be found in the vicinity of Burgh Haamstede. This trail is only 9 kilometers long. However, the trail is pretty tough. The history of Burgh Haamstede is mainly interrelated with the Haamstede castle. The oldest parts of this castle date back to the 13th century. During the last century a major restoration was carried out. Nowadays the castle is open to the public on certain days during the summer.

Veere

Veere is an old city in Dutch Flanders and is located on Walcheren Island on Lake Veere and the banks of the Wacheren canal. Veere was founded in the 12th or 13th century. During the 16th century Veere became a thriving city because Veere was the staple port for Scottish wool. During this period about 10% of the population of Veere was Scottish. The Scottish houses on the waterside are still a silent witness to this period. Nowadays a restaurant and a museum are situated in these houses. The old city hall of Veere dates back to the 15th century, its carillon to the 16th century. Another attraction in the city is the Grote Kerk (church). The start of the construction of this late Gothic church was at the end of the 15th century. Veere is a popular tourist destination in Zeeland because of Lake Veere. Many tourists who have spent the day sailing berth here to enjoy diner. Most cafes and restaurants are situated on Veere market square.

Domburg

Domburg is a small yet very popular seaside resort on the former island of Walcheren in the Veere municipality. It is one of the oldest and most popular seaside resorts in the Netherlands. The surroundings of Domburg were already inhabited in the 7th century AD. It has been a seaside resort ever since the 17th century. During this period summer residences were built here for the well-to-do of Middleburg. However, tourism really thrived during the 19th century when the railroad between Vlissingen and Roosendaal was constructed. At the beginning of the 20th century the village was very popular among artists. They came here for the unique light of Dutch Flanders. The most famous artists that came here where Jan Toorop and Piet Mondriaan (after 1906: Mondrian). Nowadays Domburg is a very popular seaside resort on the coast of Dutch Flanders. During the summer many tourists from the Netherlands and from abroad come here to enjoy the beaches. Several shops, cafes and restaurants can be found in the village.

Terneuzen

Terneuzen is a small city located in the eastern part of Dutch Flanders. The Terneuzen municipality is the largest municipality in Zeeland. Among other cities in this municipality are: Axel, Sas van Gent and Hoek en Zaanslag. Terneuzen is known as the city of the Flying Dutchman. According to the legend of the Flying Dutchman this ghost ship set sail from Terneuzen to roam the seas for eternity. A statue of the ship can be found in the city. Terneuzen has an important regional function. In Terneuzen you can find a cinema, a ski hall and two indoor swimming pools. The only large hospital in Dutch Flanders can be found here as well. Just outside the city the Braakman is situated. This is a former estuary of the Scheldt River which is a recreational area. The forest and the nature reserve have been restructured over the past few years. A visitor center can be found here where you can learn about the plant and animal life in this region. Terneuzen port was among the largest ports in the Netherlands for years. Mainly because of its situation on the canal from Gent to Terneuzen. Nowadays the port of Terneuzen merged with the port of Vlissingen and is known as the port of Zeeland.

Hulst

Hulst is a small city and a municipality in the eastern part of Dutch Flanders. The Hulst municipality consists of the entire eastern part of Dutch Flanders. This municipality consists of 14 cities and villages. The biggest of them are: Kloosterzande, Sint Jansteen, Clinge and Vogelwaarde. Where Lille is said to be the most Flemish city in France Hulst is the most Flemish city in the Netherlands. This is not surprising since Hulst is located only a few kilometers from the Flemish border. The dialect spoken here resembles the Flemish dialect. Reynaert de Vos (Reynard the Fox) is said to have lived in the surroundings of Hulst. A statue of this cunning fox can be found near the Gentsepoort (gate) as well as on the market. Hulst is one of the 17 cities in Dutch Flanders with a protected cityscape. One of the most beautiful buildings in the old center of the city is the St Willibrordus basilica which dates back to the 15th century. However, the old fortified city has much more to offer.

Sluis

Sluis is a small and old fortified city located in the western part of Dutch Flanders. The Sluis municipality consists of the entire western part of Dutch Flanders. The municipality consists of 15 cores. The largest and most popular are: Breskens, Oostburg, Groede, Nieuwvliet and Cadzand. Sluis was founded at the end of the 13th century and was granted town privileges at the beginning of the 14th century. Soon after this the city was fortified to withstand attacks from the outside. Parts of these fortified structures can still be admired. A Belfry was built next to the city hall. This is the only medieval watchtower in the Netherlands. Unlike Belfries in Belgium and France this tower is not a Unesco preservation site.

Sluis is very popular among the Belgians. Every Sunday thousands of Belgians travel here to go shopping and have diner.

Cadzand

Cadzand is located in the southwestern part of Dutch Flanders and is divided into two parts: the seaside resort of Cadzand Bad and the village of Cadzand. They are situated within two kilometers of each other. The village has a population of 800 and was founded during the middle ages. Cadzand Bad also has a population of 800. However, during the summer the population figure is much higher. The beaches of Cadzand are among the most popular in Dutch Flanders. A shopping promenade with a very good ice cream saloon can be found in Cadzand Bad. Several restaurants, cafes and hotels can be found in the village as well. Cadzand is located in the vicinity of the border with Belgium and is only 25 kilometers from the Flemish city of Bruges. South of Cadzand a beautiful nature reserve can be found: het Zwin. In this area you can spot spoonbills, purple herons, storks and several different kinds of waders and shorebirds.

Breskens

Breskens is an old fishing village located in the Northwestern part of Dutch Flanders. The surroundings of Breskens have been inhabited since the 15th century. However, the village was founded in the 17th century. The main sources of income for this village are fishing and tourism. Fresh fish is sold daily in the port of Breskens. Over the past few decades tourism is playing an increasingly important role. Several holiday parks were built in the vicinity of the village. The annual highlight in Breskens are the fishery days. During this two day event several shows are held as well as a fair, a rummage sale and a funfair. The fishery museum of Breskens can be found in the village. Just outside Breskens the lighthouse of Breskens can be found. This is the oldest cast iron lighthouse in the Netherlands.

Nieuwvliet

Just like many coastal places in Zeeland Nieuwvliet consists of two parts. Nieuwvliet Dorp which is located a few kilometers into the interior and Nieuwvliet Bad which is located on the coast. Nieuwvliet Dorp has a population of only a few hundred. However, during the summer when all campsites, hotels and holiday houses are occupied the population figure is much higher. Even more people inhabit Nieuwvliet Bad during the summer when all the campsites, hotels and holiday homes are occupied by tourists from the Netherlands and tourists from abroad. All these tourists visit this area to enjoy the beautiful beaches and dunes. Nieuwvliet is known as Sinte Piere by locals, referring to the settlement that was situated here prior to the founding of Nieuwvliet in the 17th century. In the dunes of Nieuwvliet Bad the nature reserve de Verdronken Zwarte Polder can be found.

Yerseke

Yerseke is world famous for its Easter Scheldt mussels and oysters. Every year many tourists travel here to go on a tour of the harbors and visit the oyster beds or one of the mussel processing facilities. Every year on the third Saturday in August Mussel Day is held. You can eat mussels at one of the stands in the village or go on a free tour on one of the mussel vessels. Oyster farming has been taking place here since the second half of the 19th century. Later on oyster beds were built to facilitate the process. After the oyster disease broke out the Japanese oyster was introduced which is less vulnerable to diseases. Nowadays the Japanese oyster lives in almost all the waters in the Netherlands and is seen as a pest by some. The main source of income for Yerseke is mussel farming. Every year between 30 and 50 million kilos of mussels are processed here.

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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