Zeeland, the number one tourist location in its own country
Zeeland is different from any other province of a completely different geography. Zeeland is a province that is characterized by the division into the different islands. This southern most province of the country is one with history. The most in our memory is the flood disaster of 1953 in which large parts of the country were flooded after a severe storm in the North Sea.
The 1953 flood
The flood disaster of 1953 was the largest natural disaster in post-war Netherlands. If the dikes can no longer cope with the pressure, large parts of the country will flood, resulting in more than 1800 people who were dead or missing. After the repair work, one thing became clear: the dikes had to be reinforced and a solution had to be found to protect the land against the sea.
The Delta Plan
Originating out of necessity, the plan for the Delta Works came about. The Delta Works are a defense system against high water in the North Sea, in particular the provinces of Zeeland, southern South Holland and North Brabant. The construction of the Delta Works took many years. The entire project was declared complete when Oosterscheldekering (1986), the Maeslantkering (in 1997) and raising all dikes to delta height (the Harlingse Keerdam, in August 2010) were completed and were completed.
The Delta Works, and in particular the Oosterscheldekering and the Maeslantkering, still attract a lot of attention internationally. As Dutch people we are not for nothing proud of this technical feat. The Dutch Delta Works have been declared by the American Society of Civil Engineers to be one of the seven modern wonders of the world.
Zeeland is, as said, a province divided into islands. The islands are scattered in the Rhine-Meuse-Scheldt delta in the southwest of the Netherlands. For centuries these islands were all accessible by boat. With the construction of the dams that were built thanks to the Delta Plan, all major islands are connected to the mainland. Some people don’t think it’s islands anymore, although the Zeelanders probably think differently about it.
Of all the islands in the Zeeland Delta, only a few are inhabited, namely, Schouwen-Duiveland, Tholen, Noord-Beveland, Walcheren and Zuid-Beveland. St. Philipsland is a peninsula on the island of Tholen.
If you travel around Zeeland you regularly come across some strange little hills. These hills are called Vliedbergen. In fact, they are nothing more than places of refuge for when in the past the water was high and the province was flooded.
The Vliedbergjes are usually about 30 meters in diameter and are almost always overgrown and are between 3 and 12 meters high. It is very likely that in the past these hills were also used as military reinforcements.
Zeeland watersports province
Zeeland is an old province. Research has shown that people probably already lived about 9000 years before Christ. The Romans were also interested in parts of Zeeland. Part of the directions for this can be found in the museum of the city of Aardenburg. Around the 9th century it was the Vikings (Danes) who occupied parts of Zeeland. When the Vikings disappeared, the Flemish and the Dutch fought for the ultimate power in the area. The history of Zeeland with beautiful old towns and villages combined with the space much for recreation and beautiful beaches make Zeeland a very popular holiday destination.
Because Zeeland is really a water province, you will also find many water sports areas here. For example, you can make beautiful dives in the crystal clear Grevelingenmeer. The location of the province makes the waters in the province ideal for beautiful sailing trips. But swimming is also great here, or sport fishing or surfing. In short, Zeeland is the province for water sports enthusiasts. This does not mean that there is nothing to do for non-water sports enthusiasts, far from it.
Neeltje Jans en the Delta plan
For example, you can visit Neeltje Jans, this is a part of the Delta Works that is accessible to visitors. Or visit the old town of Middelburg, the provincial capital. Or pay a visit to one of the beautiful castles in the province. In Zeeland you don’t have to sit still for a day of your vacation, you can, but you can, but you don’t have to. There is something for everyone in this increasingly popular province.