Erremuu is best known from the Dutch folksong ‘The Clock of Arnemuiden’. It-s still called a fishing village, even though the harbour has been gone for years. Some things in life just don’t change.
Arnemuiden got its rights in the 16th century, but was too small to have a seat in the States of Zeeland, and had the in-between status of ‘smalstad’ assigned to seven up-and-coming small towns. Before that there was Oud-Arnemuiden, mentioned in archives from 1223. It met with a sad end: overrun by the Arne River and swept away. The current Arnemuiden was founded about 20 years later.
In the 15th and 16th centuries, Arnemuiden’s harbour was one of the most important in Zeeland. At that time, this small city had more inns than Middelburg. Visitors from afar brought merchandise from distant lands, remnants of which are sometimes found during excavations.
However, Arnemuiden’s prosperity began declining early in the Golden Age. The harbour silted up, making the port unreachable for large ships. Many residents moved away, and buildings fell vacant and into disrepair. When the salt trade also ended in the late 18th century, townspeople sought new livelihoods, such as fishing.
Arnemuiden then grew famous for its shrimp fishing industry. Fishermen used a sailboat called a hoogaars, with a flat bottom and a pointed prow. Its construction made it ideal for sailing in shallow water. But as the Sloe waterway became unnavigable, the village lost its connection to the sea. The fishing fleet moved to Vlissingen, where boats from Arnemuiden can still be seen.
Visit the C.A. Meerman Historic Shipyard to see how a traditional hoogaars is built. During its heyday, the shipyard delivered more than 200 of these boats. The yard has been restored to its original state and is open to visitors.
Arnemuiden is one of the last villages in Zeeland where traditional clothing is still worn. You won’t see it on every street corner, but, look sensitively and you can still find residents in traditional dress. Especially during holidays like the annual Fishery Day.
On Fishery Day in Arnemuiden, you can see everything related to the traditional (shrimp) fishing in the village. Watch net tying and shrimp-peeling demonstrations, and taste some fish, delicious and free. Look for this and other happenings in Arnemuiden in our event calendar.