Oldest town in Zeeland
Aardenburg in West-Zeeland-Flanders was already inhabited some 8,000 years ago. During the many excavations, most remains have been from Roman times. In 170, Marcus Didius Julianus built his Castellum Rodanum fort. Part is still visible, but most finds are curated in the town’s archaeology museum.
It is after 925 that the monks of the Sint-Baaf abbey in Ghent built the Sint Bavokerk. (The synonyms Baaf and Bavo refer to the same Saint Bavo/ Bavonius.) In 1187, the town charter was granted. It was destroyed or attacked on several occasions: in 1383 by Gentenaars, from Ghent. Later, in 1604 the Staatsen people (of the then Netherlands) conquered Aardenburg and in 1830 it was even occupied for a while by the Belgians.
Nowadays, Aardenburg is a cultural hub, where poetry, art and culture are interwoven.
The Sint Baaf church is the only Schelde Gothic model in the Netherlands, and a leading monument nationally. Restoration work after the Second World War uncovered several inscribed sarcophagi from the 14th and 15th century.
The archaeology museum recounts the town’s history. One story is about 'Brammetje', a third-century Germanic warrior, nicknamed thus by local youths.
Come, stroll around the oldest town around, past its patrician houses, and follow the ‘Walks’ (Wallen) route, or one of the ‘Poetry’ (Poëzie) routes. If you’re still here in the evening, around 8 pm, you’ll hear the peals of the ‘papklok’, so called because it was then that people supped on porridge (‘pap’). Earlier, the ringing signalled that the town gates were to close. Now there’s no rush -- the medieval Kaaipoort stays open 24/7. The first town gate dated from the 13th century, today the only surviving one is from 1650.
Discover the environs of Aardenburg by biking or walking on the extensive network of paths and trails. How about following in smugglers’ tracks, and the 16th century town defences? Our web shop lists all the routes.
Only one more interesting way to discover Aardenburg than on your own steam, and that’s with a guide from the Gidsenteam of Zeeland-Flanders. They’re sure to make your walk, or group tour, fun, factual and an adventure.
Summertime in Aardenburg sees events every day: check them out on the events calendar.