The west Zeeland-Flanders town of Oostburg takes the unicorn as its symbol. He symbolises the strength and courage of the population there. Over the centuries, wars and floods have done much damage. But the town persists, rebuilding every time.
The first mention of Oostburg dates from 941, and it received its city rights in 1237. The following centuries were characterised by rebellions, looting and floods. Oostburg was deliberately flooded in 1583, during the Eighty Years’ War.
In 1604, under Maurice of Orange, Oostburg became a fortified town. He then established Oostburg’s Line, which consisted of 11 forts. Traces of it still exist in the landscape. The fortress has been partially reconstructed on the Vestingstraat; the earthen walls are part of a park.
Oostburg was largely destroyed by allied forces in 1944, during the Second World War. Again, they rebuilt.
Oostburg’s new Protestant church opened its doors in 1950; the tower came later, in 1958. The church walls contain embedded stones that were part of its destroyed predecessor, the Sint-Elooikerk. The interior includes a natural stone panel created by Johnny Beerens.
The new town hall opened in 1957. It sports a stained-glass window whose images represent the resurrection of Oostburg.
A city landmark is the water tower, decorated with the distinctive painting of artist Johnny Beerens. It depicts several enormous water drops emerging from a crack in the tower, which looks real from a distance. The area around Oostburg is perfect for making cycle tours because you can always use the tower to orientate yourself.
Oostburg sits among the clay polders of West Zeeland-Flanders. It is surrounded by a varied polder landscape with creeks and small lakes, like the bird-rich Groote Gat (Large Hole). This area was part of Oostburg’s Line, and you can still find remnants of forts.
Films, theatre and musical performance are on offer at the Ledel Theatre. It is named for Joseph Ledel, the colonel who led the Zeeland-Flanders defence against attacks from Belgium in 1830.
There are all kinds of events throughout the year in Oostburg. Check out our event calendar to learn what’s happening now.