Heading south? Below the Oosterschelde flood barrier (no, you will never cease to be amazed) lies the dike village we call Vrouwenpolder. Quite a site. Between the North Sea, the sparkling Veerse Meer lake, and the Oranjezon nature reserve. On the N57 highway, you’ll soon be in Domburg, Middelburg or reliably harbourly Vlissingen. Or, head north (yes, you may) for a day in the shopping pastures of Rotterdam.
The village emerged around 1300, in a new polder. The name comes from a mysterious painting of Mary, where she is called the Patron Saint of the Polder. The village was long a pilgrimage centre, thanks to the miracles witnessed there. In 1588 the Den Haak Fort was built to cover the entrance to the Veerse Gat channel. Since its destruction in 1809, all that remains is an empty space.
Fast backward a bit. In the 14th century, the village chapel of Niepolre was declared a full parish church. It was dedicated to Mary, after whom the village would later be (re-)named. After damage during the Eighty Years War, it was rebuilt, incorporating the remnants of the old walls.
Today, Vrouwenpolder has become a real tourist village. Various tribes come here: water sport devotees, bathers and all sorts of Zeeuws, they all love the broad beaches. Kiters and kite surfers have worked out their favourite spots, as have divers. And there’s a long menu of organised sports on the sandy coast beach, including kite surfing and SUP.
Between the flood barrier and the village, Deltapark Neeltje Jans, an attraction park, includes some insights into the Delta Works. Including the power of the wind as it was during that disaster in 1953. And splashing around in the playground and Aquasplash.
Close by, the Viskwekerij Neeltje Jans nursery. You’ll see mussels bred in hanging nets and on the sea floor. At the Schot family’s ‘Proef Zeeland’ tasting spot, you can tuck in straight away. The etiquette, they’ll explain.
Back home in the village, the subtropical Fort den Haak garden calls you. Not quite the original Zeeland, it features an 11-metre hill, a 6-metre waterfall with ponds, and a 60-metre stretch of the world’s hardiest palm trees.
Over west towards Oostkapelle, the splendid 400-hectare Oranjezon nature reserve. The dunes here used to be the water catchment area for the island of Walcheren, as well as an ever-faithful host to birds and rich plant life.
At the eastern edge of Vrouwenpolder lies the cusp of the glorious Veerse Meer lake. A time for water sport fanatics, a time for terraces to welcome, a time for fish and seafood to pleasure you, a time to think of candles, to watch stars. Turn, turn, turn.
Hey, is it Wednesday yet? Downtown in the village, summertime, there’s a weekly tourist market: admire, acquire some local produce. Kicked off early summer by the three-day long Vrouwenpolderse Dagen: music, market and mega-tent. Party on. More on this and other events on the Events Calendar.