Network of footpaths of Tholen

Shhhh … Zeeland’s number one secret

Often called the best-kept secret of Zeeland, the island Tholen was the last to lose its freedom and be turned into a peninsula. This network of footpaths has all the top spots in store for you. It will take less than a day of wandering through the countryside and the laid-back villages for you to feel refreshed, in body and mind. Nowadays, Tholen is linked to the mainland by bridges and dams, though the plentiful water remains appealing to many a water sporting fan.

Sint Philipsland island

The tiniest inhabited island in Zeeland, this one, was once dubbed Flupland. The houses in Sint Philipsland village look to be propping up the dikes, and are home to over half of the islanders. The rest of the population lives in the hamlet of Sluis, or in Anna Jacoba Polder. Make your way through the villages, using the route network of paths, walking boots on and an urge to soak up some peace and quiet. You won’t be disappointed.

Water the lifeblood of Stavenisse

‘Stavenisse and water, its lifeblood’, is the name of a walk through that very village. Stavenisse lives on the edge of Oosterschelde, which National Park is the largest in the country. Trace the scars left by the 1953 Flood, in this part of the land.

Start on the Kerkring (path around the church) at the Nederlands Hervormde Kerk
Length: 4 km
Signposting: Green boards with yellow arrows

Sint-Annaland

The walk ‘Vibrant Oosterschelde village’ shows you around the ‘ring-front street-village of Sint-Annaland. On the front (main) street, Voorstraat, the path runs from the harbour to the church, in turn surrounded by a ring. The marina on Krabbekreek, and other sights, are on the walk too.

Start at Bierensstraat 6, at Museum de Meestoof
Length: about 1.5 km
Signposting: Green boards with yellow arrows

Oud-Vossemeer

Head to this village for the ‘Roosevelt’ walking route. Relations of the American presidents Theodore and Franklin Roosevelt, whose Dutch family was called Van Rosevelt, are linked to several of the buildings on this walk.

Start on Raadhuisstraat, at the old smithy’s clock and shoeing stall
Length: about 3.5 km
Signposting: Green boards with red arrows and a symbol of the Roosevelt family coat of arms

Anna-Jacobapolder

Salt marshes, check. Streams, check. Hollestelle, check – erm, what’s that then? An artificial freshwater drinking well for cattle, in the midst of a salt-water area. On the ‘Ruumoord’ walk through Anna-Jacobapolder, you’ll get a look at one of these.

Start on the main road 5 at the Oosterschelde Hotel/ 't Veerhuis Restaurant
Length: about 9 km
Signposting: Green boards with yellow arrows

Sint Philipsland

The ‘Flupland Tour’ runs by the village of Sint Philipsland. The onetime village of Philipskerke was wiped off the map by two floods, though the polder remained. The current village was born after the second round of poldering, in 1645.

Start on the Kerkring (path around the church) at the Nederlands Hervormde Kerk
Length: 4 km
Signposting: Green boards with yellow arrows

See your walking route online

Check out the splendid ‘Tholen’ map of walks – strolls actually – before you set out. Get the ‘Wandelkaart-Tholen-2020’ at eilandtholen.nl, or a free copy at any Tourist Information Point, play park, your accommodation, or café or restaurant. Strollin’ on Tholen, it almost rhymes!

Rules of entry

Some routes traverse private property, we’re the guests here. The following rules apply:

1. Entry permitted only between sunrise and sunset
2. Enter at your own risk
3. Dogs, horses, bicycles and motorbikes are not permitted, unless expressly stated otherwise
4. Keep a sensible distance from all livestock
5. The path is closed on 1st January (Happy New Year!)
6. The path may be closed temporarily at other times
7. Leave no trace
8. Failure to comply with these rules will see your permission suspended (under Article 461 Criminal Code)

Access to private land

It is prohibited to access private land with dogs, horses, bicycles, scooters and motorbikes. Dogs might infect the livestock with disease, so some parts of the route are closed to dogs. The route map will clearly mark this – a red dot with an arrow – and will show the alternate path for you to take, over the regular road.