Sprawling across several peninsulas and islands in the Netherlands’ south-west, Zeeland is a coastal province fringed by beautiful beaches that attract tourists from near and far. It is the least populous province in the country and the inspiration behind the naming of New Zealand by the Dutch explorer Abel Tasman. The region experienced severe flooding in 1953 due to large parts of it being below sea level and now features an impressive chain of dams and sluices to control the flow of water.
Things to do in Zeeland
From spectacular natural landscapes to historically-rich cities, Zeeland offers something for everyone.
Relax on the beaches. There is no shortage of beaches, ranging from the family-friendly sands of Ouddorp to the popular kitesurfing spot of Scholderlaan. Nature-lovers can visit Verdronken Zwarte Polder, a protected landscape of dunes, beaches and thickets that provide habitat for a wide variety of plant and bird species.
Explore the historic streets of Middelburg. Serving as the capital of Zeeland Province, Middelburg is an ideal destination for sightseeing, with narrow laneways and attractive canal-side residences. Admire the Late Gothic town hall and attend the weekly market before scaling the 200+ steps that lead to the top of the Lange Jan Abbey’s tower. After soaking up the sweeping city views, visit the 12th-century Liebfrauen Abbey, which houses the informative Zeeuws Museum.
Delve into the local history at the “Flood Museum”. Officially known as the Watersnoodmuseum, this fascinating museum offers an in-depth look at the events leading up to the devastating 1953 flood. It’s located on a dike just south of Ouwerkerk, with exhibits detailing the temporary sandbag sealing of the dike hole, the story of the flood’s victims and the reconstruction of Zeeland’s landscapes in the aftermath.
Antwerp International Airport is the main gateway to Zeeland Province and has flights to destinations across Europe. Passenger trains stop in Vlissingen, Middleburg, Goes, Kapelle and Reimerswaal while buses connect many of the region’s smaller towns and villages. Having your own vehicle is the most convenient way of exploring the region.