Undiscovered places in Zeeland
Are you adventurous to explore the hidden gems of this world? Then look no further than Zeeland! The province is home to so many undiscovered treasures. Take, for example, an artists’ village, a dramatic landscape or a historic building that takes you back in time. Places just waiting to be discovered! We’re happy to provide you with a few tips here.
Shrunken and sunken villages
Over the centuries Zeeland has seen a large number of its villages shrink or sink beneath the waters. Thanks to a number of picture-frame viewing points around the province however, you can still see these places. On Schouwen-Duiveland, these frames can be found at quite a few locations. For example at Elkerzee, near Scharendijke. This village dwindled in size following the North Sea Flood of 1953. At Viane, too, close to Ouwekerk, there is another picture-frame view. After the North Sea Flood, little remained of this already greatly shrunken village.
The town of Reimerswaal on Zuid-Beveland and the villages of Schoudee, Niewlande and Tolsende were also drowned beneath the waves. The area is now known as the Verdronken Land van Zuid-Beveland - or ‘drowned land’ - where today magnificent salt marshes and mud flats hold sway. The OosterscheldeMuseum in Yerseke tells the story of this long-vanished land.
In addition to the North Sea Flood of 1953, villages had shrunk and even disappeared as a result of previous floods. One of the most spectacular of these sunken villages can be seen at the Plompe Toren. This tower is the only remaining vestige of the drowned village of Kouderkerke.
There are many other locations in Zeeland where you can find these picture-frame views of lost villages. Discover more about the drowned villages of Zeeland.
In the south of Zeeland-Flanders you can find remains of an old system of fortifications and dykes that marked the dividing line between lands held by Spain and the Dutch Republic. Try finding the hidden Fort Sint-Livinus or visit the old fortress town of Retranchement.
On the north coast of the Westerschelde is Fort Rammekens. The fort is located at the centre of a nature reserve and close by is the secluded beach of Kaloot, where you can search for fossils.
Zeeland’s wildlife secrets
The south of the ‘Zak van Zuid-Beveland’
It’s difficult to tire of walking and cycling here. The skies above the polders and the waters of the Westerschelde are forever changing. Baarland is a quiet and secluded village which has its own castle and an ancient cattle trough. Just outside the village are the old foundations of Kasteel Hellenburg. The environs are home to some delightful eating establishments which are well worth seeking out.
You can cycle along the sea dyke here, as far as Ellewoutsdijk if you wish. When you arrive at the village you can’t fail to spot Fort Ellewoutsdijk. It occupies a site on the shoreline and despite the fact it dates from 1839 is well preserved. The coast here is offers a habitat to many bird species, including oystercatchers and plovers. But inland too, there are rich pickings for birdspotters. Things can get quite overcrowded at Inlaag 1887 too, but that’s only the birdlife. Humans are few and far between.
The panorama route in West Zeeland-Flanders
Cycling along the sea dyke has its charms and this is very much the case in Zeeland-Flanders too! For example, if you take the ‘panorama route’ you can enjoy great views across the waters of the Westerschelde and the North Sea.
If you’re looking for the charm of an old authentic village where you can while away your time on a bench and watch the world go by, then you’ll find this inland rather than on Zeeland’s coast. Here you can feast your eyes on traditional farmhouses, watering holes for cattle, dyke cottages, elegant mayoral mansions, courtyards and peaceful church squares.
Kats is an artists’ village and this is reflected in its gardens and on the gable ends of the charming houses here. Unsurprisingly, cats are one of its main themes! The peace and tranquillity of the countryside here provides a source of inspiration for artists. Kats is also home to the Zeeuwse Oase, or ‘Zeeland oasis’ where you can marvel at more than a thousand different roses.
Dreischor has a typical circular pattern, with its houses clustered around the church, and is said by many to be the most beautiful village in Zeeland. The village is a protected conservation zone and in 2001 it was voted the ‘Greenest village in the Netherlands’. An ancient moat still surrounds the church in the village, which is unique in the Netherlands.
This village straddles the old front line in the Staats-Spaanse linies, between lands held by Spain and the Dutch Republic. IJzendijke is sometimes referred to as ‘Petit Paris’. There are several theories as how it acquired this nickname. IJzendijke gave birth to a number of artists and you can still discover many works of art here.
Museum Het Bolwerk
Museum het Bolwerk is located in the charming village of IJzendijke. The museum shows how residents on the borders of Zeeland-Flanders defended themselves against hostile attacks over the course of several centuries. It also tells the story of the defensive lines here that once separated Dutch and Spanish-held lands.
Museum de Burghse Schoole
The old school building in Burgh-Haamstede dating from 1845 now houses a school museum. Many generations of children were taught here. It has been a museum since 1992. It’s a great place to learn more about the history of the Kop van Schouwen.
Goemanszorg’s museum farm paints a picture of farm life as it was during the first half of the last century. The farmhouse has been authentically furnished and has old flax-spinning machines. You can even take a look through a beehive observation window.