Together with the beaches of Dishoek and Westkapelle, the beaches of Zoutelande (or Zoetelande) form the Zeeland Riviera.
The first mention of the village dates from the end of the 13th century. Zoutelande was traditionally a farming village whose economy was driven by agriculture and related activities. This character gradually changed due to the increasing demand for beach tourism since the mid-19th century. Painters like Toorop and Mondriaan were also drawn there by the beautiful views of the sky.
Zoutelande has now become a true family seaside resort, one of the most visited places on Zeeland’s coast. The five-kilometre-long beach is one of the Netherlands’ sunniest.
The updrafts on the Zeeland dunes also make it a perfect spot for paragliding. This is allowed at dune access point 10 (Vossehol). It is one of the highest dunes in the Netherlands (30–45 metres) and thus an official flying field.
An event that put the village on the sports world’s map is the Zeeland Coastal Marathon. The course, comprised of land, beach and dunes, is the most difficult in the Netherlands. This annual event takes place on the first weekend in October. Runners complete the marathon on Saturday and thousands of hikers walk the same course on Sunday, as part of the walking marathon.
Parts of Zoutelande’s Dutch Reformed church, the Catharinakerk, were built in the 13th century, but most of the structure probably dates from 1738. Over time, shifting sands from the dunes have entirely buried the lowest section of the church tower.
Zoutelande’s nameless round stone windmill was built in 1722. Part of its predecessor’s foundations can still be seen here. The mill is occasionally used on Saturdays by a volunteer miller.
The Zoutelande Bunker Museum is housed in two bunkers that were part of the German base Stützpunkt Lohengrin in the Second World War. The museum tells the stories of German coastal defence in Zeeland and of the allied landings during the Battle of the Scheldt in November 1944.
Legend has it that Saint Willibrord, the first Bishop of Utrecht, drew a cross on the ground and fresh water welled up from that spot. This water was supposedly medicinal, although it was brackish rather than sweet. Zoutelande’s original Willibrord well, which dated from the Middle Ages, disappeared when the sea dike was moved in 1958. But to ensure the story was not lost, a new well was dug in the 1980s.
There is a tourist market in the centre of Zoutelande during the summer months. You can find it and other happenings in Zoutelande in our event calendar.