What makes Middelburg so special?
Middelburg is a city which is just brimming with historic sites. The city has an illustrious past to which today’s townscape bears witness. A simple wander through its streets will give you an impression of this cultural heritage. Below, we have listed a number of tips for when you visit. Inspire yourself and discover what makes Middelburg so special.
Middelburg has more than 1,200 listed monuments. A stroll through its old centre will take you back in time. Many of its buildings date back to the Golden Age: old warehouses, elegant townhouses, churches and charming old alleyways. Whether you come to shop, dine or wine, be prepared to immerse yourself in the past. If you wish to see its historic buildings, a walk along the canals is recommended, not forgetting Kuiperspoort of course. You can also explore Middelburg with a guide!
The Abbey (Abdij) is in the very heart of town. This is where Middelburg was founded. Around 1100, Flemish monks decided to establish a monastic community here. It quickly grew and soon became the administrative centre of the whole region. Over the centuries, the abbey complex frequently underwent expansion. If you stand on the square in front of the abbey, the different architectural styles will be apparent, but nevertheless they form a coherent entity. If you’d like to explore the abbey from the inside, with its church buildings, cloisters and herb garden, why not take a guided tour of the Abbey?
On one side of the abbey complex is the unmistakeable tower, known as Lange Jan. With a height of 90.5 metres, the tower is amongst the ten highest of its kind in the Netherlands. After a stiff climb of no fewer than 207 steps, you are rewarded with a magnificent view of Middelburg and surroundings. If the weather is clear you’ll be able to pick out Zeeland’s islands in the distance. Check out the website for Lange Jan’s opening times.
Middelburg’s marketplace and town hall
Standing on the marketplace in Middelburg, your eyes are immediately drawn to the town hall. Work on this impressive edifice was started in 1452 and was completed in 1520. The town hall was destroyed in its entirety in an air raid in the Second World War. What you see today is a beautifully renovated version of the original town hall. Check out the facade of the building for some magnificent details, such as the waterspouts. The town hall can be visited separately or in combination with a town trail. Tip: visit the marketplace on Thursday for all the sounds and colours of the weekly market!
Middelburg is not only known as a historic town, but a green one too. The centre is enclosed by ramparts (Bolwerken). These raised earthwork fortifications date from the sixteenth century and were incorporated into an English-style municipal park around 1845. Today, the 4-kilomtre walk around the old ramparts is a pleasant experience. The walk takes in the windmills, Molen de Hoop and Seismolen.
On the fringes of Middelburg there are several impressive country estates with accompanying parkland. For example Ter Hooge, pictured alongside. This country house has all the trappings of a French chateau, situated as it is in wooded parkland with some lovely walks. A little further away is Toorenvliedt, an eighteenth century country estate. There are no fewer than 14 bunkers at Toorenvliedt. There are stories that tell of the Second World War and the liberation. You can also follow a guided trail in the park.