Heritage and monuments
Zeeland is rich in traditions and history, as seen in our heritage and the many monument buildings. The customs of ring-riding, and baking babbelaar candies, and wearing traditional costume are all very much kept alive here. Our historical towns with their hundreds of monuments pay tribute to the heydays of trade, merchant shipping and the Dutch East India Company.
Windmills, lighthouses, old defence constructions, listed buildings and historical farms. In many a Zeeuwse town you can still see today how they used to look hundreds of years ago. Towns like Middelburg and Zierikzee in particular are rich in monuments of grandeur. Do visit the old town hall of Middelburg or the Dikke Toren in Zierikzee – imposing and fun.
Any town on the sea often has to defend itself against attacks from overseas. So you’ll see Zeeuwse townswith their city walls intact from when they resisted invaders. The fortress town of Hulst still has three of its original town gates, and you can walk over the town walls. And in Sluis, the belfry is the nation’s only – it stands proudly above the town centre.
The people of Zeeland – we’re ‘Zeeuwen’ – are proud of our history and our lovely Provincie. On special days with a ‘folklore’ tint, we show off our costumes (klederdracht), old crafts and games of yesteryear. One such is ring-riding (ringrijden), when the jockey on an unsaddled horse has to lance a hanging ring. The Zeeuwse tradition of horse-riding on the beach Straô-rieën (derived from the Dutch ‘strandrijden’) dates back to 1643! And on folkloric market days, you can learn to make babbelaar candies – and taste the Zeeuwse bolus pastry – one of the world’s leading cinnamon rolls.
There are several little-known elements of Zeeuwse landscape. Like the ancient – and still authentic – ring villages which have grown around the church in the village centre. The village of Dreischor on Schouwen-Duiveland, is one of the best preserved ring villages in the Netherlands. And while the motte bailey castles (mottekastelen) may have faded away in time, the refuge mounds (‘vliedbergen’) on which they once stood are still there.
The towns are Oranje
The Dutch (‘Orange’) Royal Family has quite close ties with Zeeland. Veere, Middelburg and Sint Maartensdijk are ‘Oranjesteden’ (towns). In them, you’ll find Oranjeroutes. Willem van Oranje was once a regular visitor to Zeeland as wads the de Marchioness of Veere, Prinses Beatrix, the former Queen.
A bounty of the briny Zeeuwse cuisine
Our culinary history is rich and deep. In Yerseke, for example, oyster cultivation has a long past – an instructive visit this, to the oyster raising tanks. And well worth your while! Zeeland has a good many local products , traditional dishes and lots of Michelin-starred restaurants. Take a look here at the province’s culinary surprises. The famous boterbabbelaar candy is not to be forgotten – see the recipe here (boterbabbelaar recept)!
Zeeuwse heritage and monuments
Below the leading elements of Zeeuwse heritage and monuments are listed. Choose your sights. Each link will give more details.