One of the youngest villages on Schouwen-Duiveland, Noordgouwe is only halfway through its sixth century. Flanked by the straight lines of the main Zierikzee-Brouwershaven road, it is more round itself, a real circular village. Like many others in the area, the village is built in concentric rings around the church at its hub.

Until the 14th century, here lay the De Gouwe lake, in which lay the islands of Schouwen, Duiveland and Dreischor. As it silted up, the northern part was impoldered. The village took the name of its predecessor.

The village centre is defined by the majestic Driekoningenkerk (1462) standing within a moat on raised ground. Some restorations in 1577 used stones from the former Carthusian Sion cloisters nearby. From 1434 until 1572, that monastery stood where the Kloosterweg now runs through to Schuddebeurs.

Circling around the church are ribbons of small white guest houses. North of the village, there once stood the 16th-century castle Huize de Pottere, named after its founding son Hendrik. It gradually became a farm. In 1651, Hendrik’s heirs built a group of five low dower houses, meek in their silence. You’ll find it noisier, back at the Ring around the church. The snorts of the horses and mules, the steamy thuds of their hooves, the clang of the horseshoes, the chesty words of the blacksmith, in the authentic old shoeing shed.

In 1902, a cottage hospital was opened in Noordgouwe, Only in 1957, when nearby Zierikzee opened its new hospital was the village property closed. Today it is a health spa, specialised in detoxes.

Through its elevated location, Noordgouwe avoided the North Sea flood disaster of 1953. It was one of the few villages on Schouwen-Duiveland, which in general was badly hit.

Related tags: