It began around 1285, established to be the new harbour of Brijdorpe, where the port had silted up. A town charter was granted to Brouw in 1403.
Inevitably, the history of Brouwershaven is related to the sea. Alongside its earnings from fishing, its main trade was in wine, beer, timber and flax.
Come 1575, it was torched afire by invading Spanish troops. Twenty years later, and wiser, it installed town walls and a moat. You can see them on the eastern and western sides of the town.
Come 1953, came the surge flood disaster. Recovery came soon: the Delta Works improved surface connections, and the marina was created. This enabled the growth of tourism as the town’s main source of income.
At the village edge, the church of Grote kerk, or Nicolaaskerk. Its oldest sections are the 15th century choir and adjacent chapels. From the outside, its size is the most imposing aspect. Inside, the magnificent acoustics, which serve various musical events. You can visit the church in the high season.
One famous son of Brouwershaven is Jacob Cats, a well-reputed statesman and morality author, his nom de plume being Vadertje Cats (‘Little Father Cats’). His statue has stood in the marketplace since 1892. His childhood home is at Noorddijk 7. Taking a Jacob Cats walking tour is a fascinating way to get to know Brouwershaven as the young Jacob will have known it.
Nearby in Den Osse is where the excursion boat of Rederij Zeeland departs for its cruises out on the Grevelingen. In the summer, you can go out on a historic sailboat, departing from the quay. Visiting on a Monday? That’s a bustling market day in the ‘small town’. Centuries ago, it had, with six others, a special status as a ‘smalstad’. The walk from the harbour to the village centre of this just unfolds like one ‘cosy’ carpet of conviviality.
There are events taking place all year round in Brouwershaven. One special feature – something for you maybe? – is the annual Brouwsedag day with its music ‘play-in’, when musicians from all over the province come in for a long day of jamming. Looking for more ideas of what to do in Brouw? See the Events Calendar.