After a long break of nearly three years, I have decided to revive my blog again. I will restart with a weekend trip recommendation for those who are looking to have a taste of the Netherlands outside of Amsterdam: Zeeland…
Zeeland has been on our radar ever since we moved to the Netherlands, and we finally have had a chance to make this trip during mom’s visit to us back in August. Before I share the detailed recommendations, allow me to navigate you first on the map. Zeeland is the westernmost and least populous province of the Netherlands, right above Belgian border. It is a province that is pretty much an accumulation of islands and peninsulas. This is because most of Zeeland is below sea level, what a surprise, huh? The name of the province is literally “sea land”, which is probably no surprise to you considering the geography I just described.
Our trip to Zeeland was short, we left on a Saturday morning and came back on Sunday evening. The province is small (only about 2,930 square kilometers) but you need to plan your trip in advance as there is no concentrated activities given the scarce population. For this reason, we have decided to keep Middelburg – the capital of Zeeland – as our base and drive around to small villages and sights from there. Looking back, I think this was the right decision as Middelburg offers most of the attractions in the region. Located on the central peninsula of the Zeeland province, it is pretty much less than 30 minute drive to everything else in the province, and offers some picturesque spots. The city is historic, it is dated back to late 8th century, and has the shape of a fort with ancient walls surrounding the city. You can see the aerial view on google to understand what I mean with the pointy edges around the city walls.
The city itself is quite small, one can easily cover the entire city center by walking from one end to the other and hitting all attractions in half a day. And this includes frequent stops in little cafes and shops on the small side streets. We started our city tour from the parking lot at the edge of the city center and walked along the shopping streets towards the townhall (stadhuis). Around town hall, there are many small cafes and restaurants where you can enjoy your beer or coffee for a short break.
Another quite nice sight was the Abdij, a small enclosed square with a tower and historical buildings in surrounding. There is also the famous Zeeuws Museum at this square for those museum enthusiasts (not me!).
After about 3-4 hours, we felt that we were actually done with this beautiful small town and have decided to explore other sights in the province. I will first tell you about a site that you should not miss: Oosterscheldekering
The Oosterscheldekering is the largest of the 13 ambitious Delta Works series of dams and storm surge barriers, designed to protect the Netherlands from flooding from the North Sea. The construction of the Delta Works was in response to the North Sea Flood of 1953. This was the last great flooding that impacted the area. This surge barrier is nine-kilometer-long and really impressive to see with your own eyes. This place shows you how this small country keeps its safety below sea level. There is also an artificial island called Neeltje-Jans, at one end of the barrier, with a small theme park for the children.
Our last stop during our Zeeland weekend getaway was a small village by the ocean called Westkapelle. Westkapelle is a small city on the island Walcheren. It is on the westernmost tip of Walcheren and is surrounded by the sea on three sides. It is tiny tiny, with a handful of restaurants, but it offered us a nice coffee break before we started our 2-hour return drive to Amsterdam.
We certainly enjoyed our weekend getaway in Zeeland, and I hope that you will as well if you ever make it there. Feel free to drop me a line in case you need more specific recommendations such as hotels or restaurants to hit..