Kruiningen (Krunege) is a village on Zuid-Beveland. It is well-served logistically: on the Westerschelde estuary, the A58 highway and its own mainline train station. Sometime in the 11th century, it took root on one of the islands which later came to form Zuid-Beveland. The land was owned by the influential lords of the Van Kruiningen lineage.
The first mention of a church here was in 1203, on the site of the present Johanneskerk, in the form of a modest chapel in one of the Van Kruiningen family castles. Now that it has become a rather religious community, Kruiningen is home to several churches. The Johanneskerk, right in the centre, is endowed with some remarkable stained-leaded glass windows and an organ of the renowned ‘Van Vulpen’ school.
In the church garden, a breath-taking statue, sculpted by the artist Jan Wolkers, of a woman holding a dead child in her arms. It commemorates the 1953 Flood disaster, which hit Kruiningen hard. In all, 62 people perished, and the village stood under tidal waters for several months afterwards.
One legacy of those floods is the Den Inkel wooded area. It was planted – both as a memory and a water retention strategy – on the channels newly carved by the sea. Now it is a pleasant area for walks, and home to a rich diversity of birdlife.
For many of a certain age (and listeners to radio traffic news bulletins), the name Kruiningen brings back memories of the Kruiningen-Perkpolder ferry. This service between Zuid-Beveland and Eastern-Zeeland-Flanders was withdrawn upon the opening of the Westerscheldetunnel in 2003. Next to the former ferry terminal is where you’ll find Den Inkel.
On the very edge of the village, the Oude Molen corn wind mill, still operating after having started in 1801. You can visit it on Saturdays, or by appointment.
And now for the gourmet in you: surely you know the name Kruiningen too, right? The Michelin-starred restaurant Inter Scaldes is here. For a decade and a half, owners Jannis and Claudia Brevet have been honoured with two stars.