Festivals and other events in West Zeeland-Flanders
Musical, cultural, culinary, folklore and artistic aspects all feature in our festivals and other events. Not to be missed. See all events listed here.
The Festival van Zeeuwsch-Vlaanderen
Renowned and popular artists from home and abroad come to perform at the Festival van Zeeuwsch-Vlaanderen, every October. Events are held in a variety of locations, including in West Zeeland-Flanders. Why don’t you come and hear just how modern classical music can be? The Festival has built up quite a reputation over the years, and is a well-known event in all Western Europe.
The fish festival of Breskens
No Land on Sea is worth its salts (no pun) without its fish and mussel festivals. The fishing port of Breskens sings the praises of salty fare with its annual fish festival. The entire village – and not a few visitors – devotes three days to fish, devouring them, and celebrating them. All the fun of the fair, and a real village fête, kids’ stuff and quite some eating and drinking. A whopper of a party.
Flag the flax in Eede
There was a time when the flax trade was key to the economy of Eede and environs, supplying the linen for clothing and bedding. Flax is still grown in some parts of Zeeland, noted for their realms of blue when the crops blossom. The annual Vlasdag in Eede pays tribute to its past, with demos of the old cultivation and processing methods. Other crafts are on active display too: eel smoking, basket weaving and mustard grinding.
Foodfest Zee Land
At the Foodfest Zee Land festival, you’ll see that we’ve landed some awesome talent to go along with some great local produce. Food and drink from the sea and land, and music and art from our heart and hand. This fantastic mix comes from the shared culinary passion (and fine cultural taste) of top chefs Sergio Herman (Pure C/The Jane), Syrco Bakker (Pure C), Mark Labruyere (Delica Licious) and Petra Gorthmanns (Strandhotel). And, ladies and gentlemen, from home and abroad, special acts, speakers, food trucks, barbecues, artists, performers and entertainers.
The Groede Festival, one of several annual events in the village, takes us over for a whole weekend in a constantly evolving swirl of shows. Permanent features include concerts of chamber music and an extensive art market.
Make the date: every last Saturday of July, the polder of IJzendijke bops to the sounds and sights of the WeitjeRock music and cultural festival. In its first year, in 2013, it was nominated for the international award for the Best New Festival. Since then, WeitjeRock been in the race three times for the European Festival Award for the Best Small Festival.
The Retranchement summer festival
Born of a fusion of the Smartlappenfestival (known for its tear-jerkers) and the Lazy Sunday Festival, the Zomerfestival in Retranchement is a whole three-day festival full of music. Three shades and tones in taste, varying by the day but with emphasis on Zeeland-Flanders genres. Entry is free.
Mermaids party in Waterlandkerkje
You’ll have seen them all when you come to the three-day Mermaid festival, the Meerminnefeesten. The small village of Waterlandkerkje is known for its rich and diverse fabric of local groups—let’s just say it’s wacky. As well as paying your respects to the mermaids, there’s masses of music, a village-scale garage/jumble sale and a mighty tug-of-war contest for heavy-duty tractors and accompanying dudes (m/f). Every year, the weekend after Whitsun/Pentecost.
Art festival Aardenburg
The biennial Kunstenfestival in Aardenburg is a six-week programme of visual art and related events, of international renown. Exhibitions, an art market, music, lectures, workshops, some spectacular street theatre and a thread of the stories behind the art objects. Next editions in 2019 and 2021.
The folklore days of Ijzendijke
Now this will lift the lid on the real, essential Zeeland and our fanatic commitment to ring tilting, aka ring riding or rienkrieë. This involves a rider on an unsaddled galloping horse trying to put a lance through a ring. Since we are Zeeland, where there is always another side (‘overkant’), we have a variant to tilting. A tad more demure, it’s called sjezenrijden, riding in a horse-drawn chaise carriage. Dressed in traditional garb, one person drives, and the other tilts their lance at a ring. Takes quite some skill on wheels. Elsewhere in the village you’ll find demonstrations of krulbollen (a sort of curling) and various folk crafts.
Moaneblussers and farm festival
Over in Schoondijke, the annual festival of Moaneblussersfeesten and Landbouwdag (agriculture day) is a big draw with some good ol’ country fun. Music by the bucketful, tractor shows and an tractor-tugging contest. A moaneblusser, by the way, is an unkind way to say village idiot. Comes from down Mechelen way in Belgium, where said twit set off the fire alarm thinking the cathedral was burning down, having seen a defracted red lunar glow in a low mist. Moane is moon, and blussen is to extinguish a fire.
Summer evening markets in Sluis
They’ve been a draw for years, and rightly so, the evening markets held in Sluis during the summer. Local people rub shoulders with visitors, shuffling among the stands and stalls. It’s all rather laid back, and spiced up with street theatre and live music.
Stay the night
Oh, won’t you stay just a little bit longer? There just aren’t enough hours in the day sometimes in West Zeeland-Flanders, even with our famous sunshine. Check out your options for staying over.