According to PHOTIONARY.COM, Zeeland is the most southwestern province of the Netherlands. The name actually makes it clear that Zeeland is mainly located by the sea. The combination of land, sea and inland waters creates many beautiful spots. Because Zeeland has statistically the most hours of sunshine of the mainland of the Netherlands, it is a popular tourist destination for people who love the sun, sea and beach. Most accommodations are therefore located on or near the Zeeland coast and the beaches are the main attractions of Zeeland.
Don’t think that Zeeland is only a summer destination. No, Zeeland is also beautiful when it is cooler, wetter or grayer. Enjoy a breath of fresh air along the coast, enjoy the hospitable restaurants or admire the picturesque cities at any time of the year. The top 10 sights of Zeeland is one that is suitable for all seasons.
Top 10 sights in Zeeland
It is mainly the beaches that Zeeland is so famous for. It is no coincidence that the Zeeland coast is so often sung about and so well visited. With a coastline of approximately 650 kilometers there is plenty of choice when it comes to beaches. You can enjoy a nice walk on the boulevard of Vlissingen, enjoy culinary delights in seaside resorts such as Cadzand or Domburg or enjoy kite surfing on the high waves at the Brouwersdam. If you go to the beaches in the southwest of Walcheren, you can see the seagoing ships sailing by to and from the Belgian port city of Antwerp. Sometimes you will be surprised how close quite large container ships sometimes come along the coast.
The North Sea beaches in Zeeland mainly consist of fine sandy beaches. Dunes lie behind the beaches. Dikes have been constructed where these are lacking. Everything to keep the water out of the North Sea where necessary. The succession of dunes and dikes is perfect for a walk or bike ride along the coast. Especially the head of Walcheren is very popular with walkers and cyclists thanks to the well-laid out paths.
The cozy town of Zierikzeeis not the largest city in Zeeland, but in our opinion it is the nicest place in this province. It’s a matter of taste. Middelburg is just as nice, but we had to make a choice and then that is Zierikzee. It is the capital of the municipality of Schouwen-Duiveland. Zierikzee is known as a monument city. There are more than 500 buildings on the list of monuments, including two corn mills, a beautiful town hall, three impressive city gates and the striking Sint-Lievens Monstertoren. This 62 meter high tower is also called the Fat Tower. This all has to do with the compact appearance of this free-standing tower. Another striking building is Huis De Haene. This is one of the oldest remaining houses in the Netherlands. Two cozy harbors, lots of nice shops and a number of great eateries make Zierikzee a perfect destination for a day trip.
The third place in the top 10 places of interest in Zeeland is reserved for the capital and largest city of this province: Middelburg. During a visit to Middelburg, your eyes will be too short to take in all the beauty. Middelburg has traditionally been a wealthy city that flourished particularly in the sixteenth and seventeenth centuries. The legacy of this is still very noticeable in the city. There are numerous monumental buildings that used to be inhabited by wealthy people such as traders and dignitaries. Sights not to be missed in Middelburg are the old town hall, of which the facade is particularly impressive, and the Lange Jan. This former abbey tower is seen as the symbol of the city. You can climb the tower, after which you have a fantastic view of Middelburg.
#4. Delta Works and Delta Park Neeltje Jans
Without the Delta Works, Zeeland would have no chance if another heavy tidal wave were to hit the Zeeland coast. The Delta Works form a unique defense system against high water in the sea. They do not only protect Zeeland, by the way. The southern part of South Holland and the west of North Brabant are also protected by this ingenious project. The nine-kilometre-long Oosterscheldekering forms an important part of the Delta Works.
The former work island Neeltje Jans is centrally located in the Oosterscheldekering. The Deltapark Neeltje Jans has been located here since 2009. A public information center was once set up here. It is now a multidisciplinary amusement park in which entertainment, information and admiration of the specific fauna that is present here are central. Cruises are organized from the park where you could see seals and dolphins in their natural habitat.
#5. Natural areas
Zeeland has a number of beautiful nature reserves. Because anyone who thinks that this province only consists of beaches, church villages and meadows is wrong. Precisely because of the tides and the combination of salt and brackish water, there are a number of beautiful pieces of nature here. They form the habitat of various animals and the breeding grounds of numerous birds. In some of these areas you can make beautiful walks. Think of the Zwin nature park, which is partly located in the Netherlands and Belgium, or the Oranjezon nature park, which is not far from the popular seaside resort of Domburg.
Zeeland is known for its salt marshes and mudflats. They originated where water and land meet. The Verdronken Land van Saeftinghe is the largest brackish water marsh in Western Europe. It can be visited with or without a guide. The Slikken van de Heen nature reserve outside the dykes has a varied fauna, partly because the Konik horses and Rode Geus cattle ensure the grazing of this nature reserve located on the island of Tholen. These are just a few examples of places where you can see how beautiful Zeeland’s nature is.
#6. Flood Museum
The storm that crossed the North Sea in the night of January 31 to February 1, 1953, had disastrous consequences for Zeeland, among others. This severe westerly storm, in combination with spring tides, caused large parts of the western part of the Netherlands to be flooded. Dykes broke through and the water was given free rein. At one point, a water level of 4.55 meters above NAP was measured in Vlissingen. These floods are known as the Watersnoodramp. The damage was enormous. As many as 1836 people lost their lives, thousands of animals drowned and damage amounted to 1.5 billion guilders. A disaster with such an impact naturally deserves its own museum.
The Watersnoodmuseumis located in four caissons south of the village of Ouwerkerk, which was hit hard by the flood disaster. These caissons were used in 195 to close the last gap in the dike. Now you can find out everything about the disaster that hit Zeeland so hard. You can see the old meteorological maps from the KNMI, which show the storm. You can hear the stories of people affected by the floods. On a map of Zeeland you can see where and when the water reached places. To complete the story, you also see what had to be done to repair the consequences.
#7. Veere and the Veerse Meer
With the picturesque town of Veere we kill two birds with one stone. Because this historic town is located on the Veerse Meer, which is a great place for boating or for all kinds of water sports. The harbor town’s marina is a frequently used mooring place for boat owners who want to visit Veere. Together with the day trippers who come to Veere via land, this makes for a pleasant town with lively terraces, especially during the summer season. In Veere you can admire various monumental buildings, including the medieval Grote Kerk and the town hall, built in late Gothic style.
The Veerse Meer is an attractive water sports location for sailors, anglers and recreational divers. There are some dive sites where you can admire the underwater world of this brackish lake.
#8. Seals and dolphins
When you think of seals, you quickly think of the Wadden Islands. Few people know that you can also see these cute mammals in different places in Zeeland. In Zeeland, the Voordelta, the Grevelingenmeer and the Westerschelde are the best places to see seals. Because these animals do not live in a fixed area, you can also spot them elsewhere in Zeeland. Another mammal that lives in the waters around Zeeland is the harbor porpoise. It is a species of whale that resembles a dolphin. It is only smaller and has a blunt muzzle.
Would you like to see the seals and porpoises with your own eyes? You can bet on the luck of seeing them by chance. It is more successful to participate in a so-called seal safari. During a boat trip of about two to three hours you will sail to the places where the seals live. The seal safaris depart from various places, such as Zierikzee and Scherpenisse.
The city of Vlissingen should not be missing from the top 10 places of interest in Zeeland. This coastal town is different from the previously mentioned cities of Zierikzee and Middelburg. Some find Vlissingen less picturesque, but that is a matter of interpretation and taste. If you look at the photo reportage ‘ Vlissingen in 24 photos ‘, you cannot deny that this city certainly has its own charm. Vlissingen has the largest beach boulevard in Zeeland, has a pleasant market square and has a number of attractions that are worth a visit, such as Panorama Walcheren and the Zeeuws Maritiem muZeeum.
#10. Beach houses
You will not only find them in Zeeland, but we think they really belong in Zeeland: wooden beach houses. You can now see them in all sorts of shapes and sizes. The simplest beach houses are intended for day recreation. These are located on the beaches of Domburg, Zoutelande and Vlissingen, among others. Some of these beach houses are privately owned. An increasing share is in the hands of operators who rent out these beach houses. This can often be for a day, a longer period or even for an entire season.
In addition, a number of more luxurious and spacious beach houses have been added in recent years. Then the term ‘beach house’ is used more. These are beach houses where you spend the night on the beach. What could be nicer than waking up to the sound of a rushing sea and the accompanying seagulls? These types of beach houses come in all shapes and sizes. Sometimes they are barely bigger than a small mobile home, sometimes you have a fully furnished house where you can sleep with no less than six people.
Local delicacy: the Zeeland bolus
In Zeeland you can enjoy delicious food and drinks. Think, of course, of the Zeeland mussels and oysters, which are mainly cultivated around Yerseke. You must like fish and shellfish. A more accessible delicacy is the Zeeland bolus. You can find this sweet sugary roll in almost all of Zeeland at the better bakers or order it in the catering industry. Nice with a cup of coffee. The Zeeuwse bolus has been baked in Zeeland since the 17th century. The origin of this spiral baking seems to come from Portugal and Spain. Sephardi Jews who fled from these countries took their food culture and dietary regulations with them. The Zeeland bolus was created on this basis.
There are two ways to eat the Zeeland bolus: pure or smeared (on the flat bottom) with some butter. Characteristic of the bolus is the airiness of the dough and the sticky outside. Cinnamon is often added to the Zeeland bolus, but that is not a requirement. Some bakers omit it.
Discover Zeeland by bike
Zeeland can be explored in many ways. Of course you can go to the water and discover the province by boat. On dry land, the bicycle is a wonderful means of transport to get around Zeeland. The many cycle paths ensure that you can take beautiful cycling routes while you smell the salty air. All senses are stimulated the moment you get on your bike in Zeeland. Are you unable to bring your own bicycle to Zeeland? Then there are numerous bicycle rental companies where you can rent all kinds of bicycles. In addition to the standard bicycles, you can also choose to rent a special bicycle, such as a tandem. Anyone who dreads the sometimes emphatically present wind.