People who love mussels must know Philippine. About half a million mussels are served here every year! Philippine was once a mussel port connected to the sea by the Braakman, an ancient estuary. This water was particularly suited for growing mussels. But its silting up and closing in 1952 heralded the end of Philippine’s port activities.
In the early 16th century, Jeronimus Laureijn, the Lord of Watervliet, drained the water around what is now Philippine. He hoped to build a harbour city that could compete with Antwerp. That never came to pass, partly because of his untimely death and because of the Eighty Years’ War. A fortress was built during the war, which contained a castle, bastions and a water or harbour port that came out on the Braakman. Not a single trace of these fortifications can be found today.
The fishing and mussel farming industry flourished in the 19th and early 20th centuries, but the damming of the Braakman put an end to it. However, that same dam ensured that Zeeland-Flanders’s hinterlands remained dry during the North Sea flood of 1953.
The village still boasts eight restaurants that uphold the mussel tradition. Five of the owners share a grandfather: the mussel fisher Arie Wiskerke, who started a mussel restaurant here in 1907.
In addition to eating mussels, you can also see, do and experience everything to do with them in and around Philippine. From walking the mussel path to visiting the art gallery Sia or a culinary art walk.
Make sure to visit the annual Mussel Festival here in August. Look for this and other happenings in Philippine in our event calendar.