Your kids and Zeeuws culture

Written by: Sonja Barentsen

When – tell you later – I’m not out walking, I’ll be found watching films, hitting concerts and festivals and the odd exhibition. Believe me, culture is best done to-geth-er. Zeeland excels in this – we call it ‘tof’ – ’specially with the kids. As a kid, those quaint but stultifying treasure trails in museums would turn me off, so as a Mum, I’m always looking for better ideas, something fat. I’m Sonja Barentsen, hope these help.

Arty farty: picnics with taste

I’m sure you’ll know about the joys of a bike ride around Walcheren. Now combine it with a an art picnic. Choose a tasteful spot (no pun intended, the route maps will help you): there’s loads of choice. Under the palm trees, between the chickens, among (almost) the cows. There’s a world to Walcheren, and the artfulness is yours. PS: bikes ride easier with weight on the back wheel, the hampers say.

Ring-riding with your lance

Any ring-rider – and many a nurse – knows the deal: lance it! This simplest of Zeeuwse traditions called ring-riding involves a dressed-up horse-rider aiming their hefty lance at a none too steady ring. Go along with the kids to watch – even better, play along! – and you’ll see how a museum can grow around you, amongst the thunder of horse hooves and the dust of a skirmish. Culture can be, is, far from boring.

Some special ring-riding events, kids-centric, can be done on foot. No horse required. The association of the Zeeuwse Ringrijdersvereniging (here) can tell you when.

Chug your way from Goes to Borsele

History is more fun on wheels – as you’ll see on the steam train from Goes to Borsele. Quite some locs these are, chained to the classic carriages, as they trundle through Zuid-Beveland. Your ticket (and perhaps your elbows) will get you a seat in 3rd, 2nd or even 1st class. Pluche is the velvety feeling. Don’t make many trains like this any more! At Hoedekenskerke station, it’s a bonanza for kids, with play equipment, toy trains and an old-fashioned shop just like Marskramers used to be (a sort of pre-historic Woolworths).

The Terra Maris experience

Kids and nature go well together – one and the same, you say? – so Terra Maris is a safe bet for a visit. Indoors is cool, and the outdoors bits are great. 

The replica timber bailey castle is just made for a climb and a clamber (except by real invaders, true). Summertime, the kids can bake their own loaves. Medievally. Or paper. Or comb the beaches. Or go on mushroom safaris (wannahuntafungi?). Or just hold animal surgeries. Normal stuff, kidwise.

Vestrock Junior (oldies welcome)

Passages, passages, your own dearest is off and away to a pop festival. Vestrock Junior is the moment. The two days of Vestrock unfold into a third, the Sunday, which is devoted to kids, or families. Like all of you, y’all. They’ll love being there with the big names, and seeing Dad and Mum prancing around. Or was that Mum and Dad? And copying those silly grown-ups. Festival feelings start here.

Have your kids really got into festivals? So soon? The Eindeloos Eiland and Onderstroom Festivals (latter is free) and the street theatre day at Klomppop are all fixers.

The exceptional Zeeuws Museum

Oh, to be a nation, then we could call this our national pride! The Zeeuws Museum stands out head and shoulders, and a lot more, above your normal run-of-the-mill inventive and challenging museum. Let the kids tell you about their workshops and inter-active tours. None of that cut-and-paste experience. Amazing.