You’ll find the best of both worlds in the coastal resort of Cadzand, actually. The inland village of Cadzand-Dorp lies in the wide-open polder of West-Zeeland-Flanders. The seaside resort Cadzand-Bad is, along with Domburg, the only Dutch seaside resort certified as a spa resort practising thalassotherapy. Alongside these therapeutic and wellness pursuits, Cadzand offers sporting, cultural and culinary activities.
The landscape around Cadzand is etched by two struggles: of people with the sea, and between peoples. Its rich natural heritage is traced in mudflats and marshes, quaysides and dikes. The former Eiland van Cadzand, now part of the oldest polder landscape in Europe, is still recognisable in its form as an island.
Talking of shapes, Cadzand-Dorp still carries the visible circular village form of its medieval past. At its heart stands the Gothic Mariakerk dating from 14th century with the old houses around it in a distinctive ring. The ‘Nooitgedacht’ windmill is a real eye-catcher; it was completely restored in 1977.
Out at the beach, the history of Cadzand-Bad as a bathing resort goes back a long way. It started in 1866 when the Badhuis baths were built. That very same year, the first bathing machine appeared, brought in on a lease from Knokke. Both ladies and gentlemen could hire swimming costumes; the ladies would then be transported by horse and cart into the sea for a discrete swim. Taking a cure – swimming in the sea – became the done thing. The curative and healing properties of sea water became evermore plausible.
Cadzand-Bad and Domburg are the only coastal resorts which meet the criteria of the European spa association for thalassotherapy. Being located at the sea has health benefits for mind and body. This accreditation is only granted to a spa resort when the effects of the sea water, climate and soil products have been approved. Beside the waters, on the beach at Cadzand-Bad a relaxing yoga lesson awaits you. It can give you a complete feeling of rest, space and relaxation during your stay on the coast.
Cadzand is part of the Zwin region, which enjoys the highest density of Michelin-starred properties in the world. Sheltering in the dunes of Cadzand-Bad is the Michelin-star Pure C restaurant. The head chef Syrco Bakker gets many of his ingredients straight from the land and the sea – and often from his own kitchen garden.
The famous het Zwin nature reserve spans the Dutch-Belgian border. In days gone by, it long played a vital economic role as a waterway. Gradually, it silted up and the present nature area could settle in. It now comprises beaches, dunes, marshland and meadows. The sea again has free play, and a dredged trench serves to keep the muddy flats wet. This unique area is best appreciated in the company of a guide.
Back in Cadzand-Dorp, please take time to take in the World Peace Flame monument. It symbolises the wish of every human to find peace in their existence. Cadzand-Dorp was selected as its site because the area between Brugge, Gent and the Eiland van Cadzand for centuries suffered under the ebb and flow of the tides of war.
Among the many events held in Cadzand are the annual kite festivities. Kites of all shapes and sizes sketch their colourful trails in the skies above. For an up-to-date list of events in Cadzand, fly over to the Events Calendar.