The village of Sint-Maartensdijk, or Smerdiek, lies on the island of Tholen. It is best known for its bond with the Dutch royal family: King Willem-Alexander is Lord of Sint-Maartensdijk.
Sint-Maartensdijk was once called Haestinge, because it sat on the banks of the Haastee river. It got town rights in the 15th century, but was too small to have a seat in the States of Zeeland. Sint-Maartensdijk was a dynamic town in the Middle Ages. The countess of Holland, Zeeland and Henegouwen, Jacoba van Beieren, and her husband lived in a castle just north of town.
Sint-Maartensdijk once had a harbour on the Pluimpot, a tributary of the Oosterschelde estuary. That waterway was dammed up by the North Sea flood of 1953, after which the harbour dried up.
The town hall was built in 1628. After a 20th-century renovation, it housed Tholen’s city council until 2008. You can still see some 17th-century portraits of the royal family in this historic building.
De Oranjekamer museum in Sint-Maartensdijk explains the bond between this town and the Dutch royal family, the House of Orange. In the museum, located in the VVV building, you can watch a presentation about Sint-Maartensdijk’s origins and the castle’s construction. The royal family inherited the castle long ago, but it decayed over time. Archaeological excavations of the ruins were conducted in the 1960s. Only the castle’s moat remains, on the edge of the village.
The 14th-century St. Martin’s Church stands behind the market square. Under the organ of this Gothic-style church sits a ‘gentlemen’s bench’, where prominent families used to worship. One of these was the Liens family, some of whom are buried in the church.
There are always things to do throughout the year in Sint-Maartensdijk, such as the annual Four-Day Cycle (Fietsvierdaagse). You can find it and other happenings in our Events Calendar.