Whatever your actual language is (the one you dream in), the expression you’ll probably hear yourself using the most in Zeeland is: “Wow, just look at that!”. Whether it’s natural or something Made In Zeeland, we have a very rich collection of sights, often linked to the sea. Outdoors, in a museum, the lighthouses on our 650 km coastline, the Delta Works we built to protect us from our providential neighbour.
Many of our landmarks and attractions are essential parts of our legacy. The local museums of Zeeland bring our language – Zeeuws – to life, as well as our dress, agriculture and rural life, and fishing. On the street too: some Zeeuws people still wear our traditional costumes on a daily basis – quite a sight, even for us!
Our wealth of monumental buildings is abundant, often reflecting earlier periods of plenty and prosperity. Towns like Middelburg, Zierikzee, Veere and Hulst have a rich and varied collection of reminders of those times. Tip: go round with a guide. They’ll tell the history with passion.
Our towns and villages are a history book come alive: windmills, churches and not a few castles. Many windmills still work, the church plays a prominent role in our lives. The castles, though, now just live on to feed your imagination of the past. They lost their day job as defenders.
Zeeland and the sea
A key piece of ‘furniture’ in Zeeland is the light beacon, essential to shipping. All along the coast stand numerous lighthouses, many still operating. And we built the Delta Works to protect our hinterland. The dams, sluice gates and dikes are now a familiar part of our landscape but they will never cease to inspire our awe.
Folk customs are part of our present as well as our heritage. Ring-tilting on horseback is just one of our traditional crafts and pastimes, always a sight to see. You’ll see all sorts of local variants at festivities across Zeeland, and there’ll probably be a proud but reserved local Zeeuw happy to tell you more about their hobby.