The essential Oostkapelle

The essential Oostkapelle

Families are the prime tribes here, amid the green of the Walcheren coast. The location, the facilities, the Oranjezon and Manteling forest and fun areas next door have got everything to do with it.

Village vibrancy

The liveliest time of year in Oostkapelle is summer. But it’s all there, all year round. The charming church in the centre, ringed by restaurants and shops. There’s loads of accommodation, varying from holiday homes to family campsites. The StayOkay hotel at the Westhove castle is worth the detour.

When the Westhove was won

In the 12th century – year of its construction – the castle Westhove was much bigger than it is now. It was bestowed with an outer bailey and a main keep, endowed with moats, bridges and towers. From that real dude of a castle, little remains now. Just a hospitality area and some hotel rooms. You’ll find it slap bang in the middle of the De Manteling nature area.

Woods, dunes, winding – and windy – paths and lanes and the occasional grand old estate – this is the Manteling. The elite of Middelburg – quite a force in its day – loved coming here, spending the summer in their manors, like Berkenbosch and Duinbeek. These sturdy properties are now in the good hands of the Staatsbosbeheer nature agency.

Terra Maris nature museum

This lively instructive fun palace, dedicated to nature, is housed in the orangery of Westhove castle. Outside is a fabulously unclassical landscaped garden, 2.5 hectares full of space to fill with your imagination. Indoors, the rotating exhibits about Zeeland’s nature are always a delight – and, as if they needed them, the biggies seek ways to entertain the kids.

Oranjezon, a stunning site

Just outside Oostkapelle, the Oranjezon used to be the (drink-)water catchment area from the days we used dunes to store and filter it. We still do in many places. The Het Zeeuwse Landschap agency now manages them, hosting roe and fallow deer among the bushes and deciduous and pine woods. These 400 hectares are criss-crossed by five walking trails: one takes you to a lookout tower revealing all. Enter by paying 1 euro at the machine at the entrance.

Trees to remember

The varied dune and forest landscape of the Manteling is most memorable – do you find this too? – for the contortions of the trees, shaped by the wind. Mondriaan, a painter (of world repute, is known for his work from the early 20 th century ‘Avond, De Rode Boom’ (evening, red tree). You’ll recognise their painted configurations during your visit.