The circular village of Ooltgensplaat, whose streets lie in concentric rings around the church, is at the eastern end of Goeree-Overflakkee. It started life as a mudflat (‘plaet’) of reeds, then known as Oeltgensplaet, after a sailor who stranded there. Over time, it silted up and in 1481 it was impoldered. The church is named after the village’s patron, Saint Odulf. There’s an annual procession on 12 June, the day of his death.
In 1574, the inhabitants converted from Catholicism to the ‘Hervormde’ belief, known at the time as ‘gereformeerd’. These beliefs separated late in the 19th century and in 1889 the Gereformeerde church was built on its present site. After the impoldering, the farmers moved from livestock to arable farming, mainly of grains, turnips, onions and madder.
In the Eighty Years War, a fort was built. The village was woven into the defensive line from Bommeneede, Willemstad, Klundert, Zevenbergen, Geertruidenberg and eastwards to Heusden. The defences were extended during the French occupation, with Fort Duquesne on the Hellegat waterway. Now called Fort Prins Frederik, it protected inland waters from invading ships coming up the Volkerak to the Hollandsch Diep. Nowadays, it’s a holiday resort.
Much of the village’s past of separation and disunity has been witnessed by the Oude Raadhuis (former town hall) down at the harbour. Dating from 1616, it is the oldest building of the kind on Goeree-Overflakkee. Designed by the Flemish architect Melchior van Harbach, it has survived several heavy floods. These days, it has changed roles to be a wedding location.
Ooltgensplaat is now a touristic village, featuring historic buildings, a yacht harbour with 80 berths and several cafés and restaurants.
Just a short walk north, the Hellegatsplaten nature reserve beckons you with bike paths and walking trails. (hyperlink) Climb up the watch tower to admire the splendid views, including over surrounding Volkerak and Haringvliet waterways.
Did you arrive by boat? You’re welcome to hire a bike or scooter to roam around – the web shop has some nice routes for you.
Are you among the thousand or so sponsored walkers in the annual Island Walk Around Goeree-Overflakkee, usually in mid-August? The serious ones aim to complete the 110 km route within the stipulated 24 hours. Kids’ routes are 5 and 10 km, and there are options for less ambitious adults, at 15 and 55 km. For you perhaps? Good way to meet the locals! More details of the Walk and other events around Ooltgensplaat are in our Events Calendar.