Past Lines and Streams

Network of footpaths Past Lines and Streams

This land bears the scars of the State-Spanish skirmishes of the Eighty Years’ War. Any path’ll take you past streams and grassy dikes of green. History has surely made its mark on Zeeland-Flanders. Polders of variety, the unparalleled ‘Drowned Land of Saeftinghe’ and the Burgundian villages around here, Hulst as number one, all add up to perfect pedestrian pursuits. Use the Map of Walks ‘Past Lines and Streams’ as a jumping board.

A battle of water

Land that is now polder was once shaped by the lengthy inlets of the sea. That same sea is the architect, in a manner, of all of Zeeland. Many a battle between man and sea, many a line in the sand was drawn, only to be washed away by yet more waves. The streams and lakes of Eastern Zeeland-Flanders are, by and large, remnants of those inlets, and if not, the result of inundations. The Orange-sympatico State troops intentionally flooded nearly 75 percent of Zeeland-Flanders, as part of their campaign against the Spanish forces.

The water at Axel was an enormous obstacle for the Allied Forces, keen to liberate the land at the close of WWII. Now, though, all this water is at peace, and you will love the soulful stroll through these watery fragments of nature.

Waterdunen luchtfoto gemeente Sluis

Lines of walks

It was just south of Axel that the State-Spanish battles were fought. One side, the State, set out to flood the land, whereas the Spanish forces laid down dikes to handle that influx. They then built forts on the dikes, a defensive line of sorts, many traces of which are still visible today. Some have even been reconstructed, so as to preserve forever those tumultuous times - Fort Sint-Joseph is one of these.

Unlike anywhere else: the Drowned Land of Saeftinghe nature reserve

Salt marshes and mud flats are a-mile-a-minute in Zeeland. The Drowned Land of Saeftinghe is peerless in the fact that its waters are still salty. Europe has but handful of these wetlands left. Using the Map of Walks ‘Past Lines and Streams’ will point you in the right direction past this land, as will a stop at the visitors centre. Actually exploring the reserve involves having a guide come with you, just to be on the safe side. The ‘Zeeuws Landschap’ nature conservation agency has regular tours.
Land van Saefthinge

Go along the Hulst ramparts

As fortified towns go, hustling Hulst is hard to beat. Many of the town ramparts are still intact, and make for an interesting walk. They embrace the town centre, in all its charming snugness, including period town hall and St. Willibrord basilica. There are hints of Reynaert the Fox, left, right and centre in town, an epic figure from classic Dutch literature. The Museum ‘Vier Ambachten’ is happy to let you in on all the cunning foxy secrets, not to mention all of Hulst history.