Welcome to the westernmost village on the Dutch coast – but the inland border of West-Zeeland-Flanders goes a bit further. Next stop, Belgium.
Five hundred years ago, Retranchement was much larger, surrounded by impressive defences. In 1604, Prince Maurits built two forts here, later walled in. Today Fort Nassau still stands, and you can take a walk over the walls.
A small and impressive reminder of those times is the single-nave church – and its pulpit – dating from 1630. It was used by the soldiers lodged in the forts.
The windmill of Retranchement is a corn and hulling mill, in a post mill design. It has stood on the Molenstraat since 1818. A previous mill there, dating from 1643, had been blown over. The very first owner of the new one, a certain Bartolemeus de Vos, had to pay an annual tithe of three guilders for “use of the wind”. It can be visited on Wednesdays and Saturdays in the summer, and at other times by appointment.
Border towns always have their special personalities. Here it’s the Triplets of Retranchement: three border posts (poles), each numbered 364. Which one is the real border? Ah, the one in the middle. Lying alongside the watery Zwin area, when the posts were installed, tides and currents still flowed here, making it a bit hard to agree on the border. Solution: multiply the options and establish a consensus. It’s what neighbours do.
Among the events featuring regularly in our diary is the Lazy Sunday Festival. A freelyaccessible afternoon of music on the Markt. More about this and other events in Retranchement on our Events Calendar.