Art and culture

Zeeland is bursting with art and culture. For many a year, artists have found inspiration in the special light, the sea and the special attractions – as you’ll see in outdoor art and murals and in museums with works of art. Culture just oozes out of the streets of Middelburg, Zierikzee and Hulst, and of special monuments and museums. Everything that your cultured heart desires is here.

The art of Zeeland

Roots of art, routes of art

Now known to many as the artistic capital of Zeeland, the village of Domburg grew into an artist’s colony at the turn of the former (19th) century. Devotees included Piet Mondriaan, and Jan and Charley Toorop, impassioned by the exceptional light of the Walcheren peninsula. You’ll find a splendid overview of the artists drawn to Domburg in the Marie Tak van Poortvliet museum – and as you stroll down the ‘In het licht van Toorop en Mondriaan’ trail. Come May, the Week of the Artist (‘Schildersweek’) is a beacon of allure to many a Dutch and foreign artist.

As clear as the light which has long enticed artists here, Zeeland to this today is a magnet for artists and art lovers. The landscape, the rhythmic sea and its unique light pulls them. Brushed broadly across the region, you’ll find strokes of routes laid out for those lovers. Galleries galore, studios spread out. Tips for an admirer like you? Follow the networks of bike and walking trails amongst the statues and sculptures in Vlissingen. A similar route in Terneuzen complements the rich De Kunstschouw route on Schouwen-Duiveland, a ribbon linking 200 artists through some dozen villages. Ayonder on our eastern island, a two-day-long sash will grab you in the kunstroute Tholen. Wind up your summer wanderings during two August weekends along the Kunstspoor op Noord-Beveland linking all the artefacts and galleries of the island. Now, unravel all that – we dare you!

 

Open-air art

Art is in air, as in other dimensions, in Zeeland. Just look from afar at the fourteen red penguins (rode pinguïns in Breskens) created by William Sweetlove. And the water tower at Oostburg where local artist Johnny Beerense seems to have added huge water drops. For the more mobile, when out walking or cycling, art and culture are all around you. On Schouwen-Duiveland, an entire bike trail (fietsroute Monumentaal fietsen) includes towers, mills and monument. For the picnic lovers amongst our arty visitors, Joke de Witte has woven eight special picnic spots on the Walcheren picknicken route. Down south in Hulst, the rampart clamberers’ path (wandelen door vestingstad Hulst route) is a necklace of monuments and works of art.

Culture meets art in Zeeland

Monuments

Many of our monuments are works of art in themselves, but they’re the essence of Zeeuws culture. The imposing statue of national marine hero Michiel de Ruyter on the boulevard of Vlissingen is one of the most renowned. The Flood Disaster Museum (Watersnoodmuseum) in Ouwerkerk is itself a national monument Watersnoodmonument. In Tholen, the birthplace of the family of President Roosevelt, is home to the Four Freedomsmonument. And bang in the middle of Middelburg the evocative slavery monument (Slavernijmonument) is a confronting reminder of an inglorious slice of Zeeuws history. Such Zeeuwse monumenten as these are portals to some 1,100 monuments (listed buildings) in Middelburg and the astounding total of 500 in Zierikzee. Just to dally along local streets is a cultural roadshow.

Just to dally along local streets is a cultural roadshow

Three stunning monumental towns

Museums come alive in Zeeland

We’re proud of our heritage in Zeeland – with more museums per inhabitant than any other place in the Netherlands. Art and culture are alive and well and well-preserved, as a fine outline of our life. Hence many museums here are themed around agriculture, fisheries and shipping. The Zeeuws Museum, based in the historic abbey of Middelburg, is itself a very rich tapestry of life, including a delightful collection of, yep, tapestries. While over in Vlissingen, the maritime muZEEum encapsulates our naval past, including a tribute to our iconic hero Michiel de Ruyter. Up in Ouwerkerk, the Flood Disaster Museum (‘Watersnoodmuseum’), stands in the very caissons which kept Zeeland, its past and its future alive and living by closing off breached dykes. And in Groede a streetful of museums is a living recall of Flemish heritage in Het Vlaemsche Erfgoed.

Our legacy lives on in many museums

Take it all in here. And here. And here

Turning another cultural cheek

Galleries

A visit to one of our many galleries will raise your spirits, and maybe your initial spend will add to your assets. A wide palette of works awaits you, from the experimental to the traditional. Fancy an original Mondriaan? – you may unearth one! Or a classical piece of maritime scenes – take your pick. Equally, pick out a spot from this compendium of all the galleries in Zeeland (galeries in Zeeland).

Festivals

There’s a good number of artistic and cultural aspects to Zeeland as the Land-on-Sea. For starters, take in cultural festivals like Film by the Sea, held every September in Vlissingen and Terneuzen and where the main theme is the translation of books into film. The autumnal Zeeland Nazomerfestival embraces theatre at special (outdoor) locations. In Vlissingen, the Festival Onderstroom is a mix of street theatre, open-air art and some very decent food, dining and wining. Enjoy! Also in the autumn (fall) is the Festival van Zeeuwsch-Vlaanderen, a splendid stage for some great national and international classical musicians.

See and hear more here.

The cultural sights and sounds of Zeeland

Lighthouses, castles and Delta Works …