On the Goeree headland lies the old town of Goedereede, a significant medieval trade town with its own ramparts. Its name means ‘safe haven’ and archaeological excavations have shown the town was an important harbour even in Roman times. All of the western Roman Empire used Goedereede as a place through which to ship goods.
In 1312, the town received its charter from Gerard van Voorne, of the well-endowed noble family. Through the ages, water, storms and fires wreaked havoc on the town, but it rose from the ashes and rubble once and again. The Goedereede harbour needed to be moved more than once, due to it silting up. Ultimately, this drove away the trade merchants and their business. After the polders were reclaimed, the town switched to farming. After 1953, when the harbour was finally dammed in, there was no longer a shipping thoroughfare to Goedereede. The end of an era.
The only Dutch Pope, Adrianus VI, was the priest of Goedereede from 1492 to 1507. Later he lived there a while and until 1522, shortly before his death, he regularly returned. To take mass and hear confession. The hotel-restaurant De Gouden Leeuw is housed in his old home. The Pausenkamer (Papal room) can be hired for special occasions.
The imposing Toren van Goedereede, built of grey bricks, stands squarely as the tower of the Catharinakerk. It was constructed between 1467 and is almost 40 metres high. Until the early 20th century it also served as a beacon for shipping. It was declared a national monument in 1967.
The Windvang windmill, a round brick ground-sail mill (‘grondzeiler’) dates from 1791. Standing on a small mound, it is the only Dutch mill to have two outside steps for reaching the mill room – earlier the only way to enter there. It milled grain regularly until 1953, and it still operates very occasionally today on public demand.
The townscape of Goedereede is partially protected. A seminal Dutch film ‘Op hoop van zegen’, about village (work) relationships was largely shot in Goedereede in 1986.
The annual Goereese Portdagen days (two days) recall the events of 1918 when a cargo ship bearing a large shipment of port wine was wrecked on the headland of Goeree-Overflakkee. Local fishermen, who had been suffering during the First World War, gathered 434 barrels and auctioned them off for a handsome sum. Which they invested in renewing the fishing fleet. It’s quite a party to this day. Music, food and port. These days, and other events are listed in the Events Calendar.