Need a steer? In a land of contrasts, as is Zeeland, of land and water, of the culture of the people and the sculpture of nature, it is good to know you can have a pilot, a guide. And we have them for you. Walking, talking, living guides. They can improve your trip, making it more informative, perhaps more exciting. You’ll learn to look differently around you, to seek the story behind the sights, to feel the history of Zeeland, and to admire the wonders of nature.
Go on a search for fallow deer in the woods of Schouwen-Duivenland. The park warden will tell you all the tell-tale signs to look for. All around the Oosterschelde national park, there are nature reserves which come to life with a guide. In the Scherpenissepolder, you can learn the niceties of bird watching. Or go to Fort Rammekens and dive into five centuries of history. The trail goes past the fort, and through the wooded creeks of Rammekenshoek. Dating from 1547, the sea fort is the oldest in Western Europe. A more recent monument, Made in Nature, in Zeeland-Flanders, the Verdronken Land van Saeftinghe reserve. This is a wet-wellies-walk, original article, pure adventure.
A townie, are you? At least for today. Come on in! Walk in the tracks of Emperor Karel V, a dab hand at water management. Walk along the quayside with a son of Zeeland, Michiel de Ruyter, an admiral. Even with Napoleon, a visitor who left a trace. When you’re in Vlissingen, the Kazematten muZEEum, appropriately housed, charts our maritime history.
Tower with a view
Fancy a climb? The view from the spire of the Willibrordus basilica in Hulst. Summertime, you can walk up 60 metres. Your stamina is pretty good, but the view more so. Amazing. When you’ve got your breath back, chill out with the ZomerVesting walk of 3.5 km around the town’s defences and cultural monuments.
Another hotspot of history is Tholen. Its streets are living pictures, each piece telling a thousand words. Take in the splendid old town hall (‘Stadhuis’). The guide will be happy for you to peep in.
When in Goes, get a guide from the expert group called ’t Gilde de Bevelanden to take you around the inner part of town. Or along the longer Smikkelroute (think: the Route of the Tasty Bites of Zeeland). If it’s a circular village that fascinates you, Dreischor is perhaps the prettiest in the province. Banks and meadows of succulent green grass. Immaculately trained lime trees along the water. And in the centre of the ring, the 15th-century St. Adriaanskerk. The south nave shelters one of the finest burial vaults in the Netherlands. A guided tour will require an hour and a half of your time.
One guided water trip will take you from Den Osse, for 90 minutes, over the Grevelingenmeer lake. You’ll pass Hompelvoet island, a glorious nature reserve loved by breeding birds, and the island of Dwars in de Weg with its herds of (half-)wild fjord horses. Another trip, over the Veerse Meer lake, takes you down the Walcheren canal, the sluices of Veere and out onto the lake. You board at Loskade in Middelburg.
Oysters and sailors
Want to catch up on oyster breeding, with some on-board tasting en route? Take an excursion with De Oesterbaron in Yerseke, a breeder with an excursion boat. You’ll get to grips with off-bottom oyster breeding and mussel cultivation in hanging nets. Like a bit more exercise in your excursions? Go to Sailforce in Wemeldinge where skipper Marco van Dijke will take you on board. He’ll teach you, evidence-based, all about sailing a yacht. You’ll quickly learn the ropes and you’ll soon take the helm and be sailing through life. Sailor, you.