The Pearl routes in Zeeland
Whoever said that true beauty is measured by the number of pearls within you was perhaps thinking of Zeeland. Yep, this land in the sea is like a large, sturdy oyster, hiding a splendid pearl inside (multiples, in fact). Our Pearl routes will reveal these hidden treasures – if you look, listen and act carefully. Just follow the directions on the route, and you’ll open up the wealth of Zeeland’s history, nature and culture. Prise open our shell and the prize is yours.
Our laid-out Pearl routes are interactive, making full use of the surroundings – and the eyes, ears, hands, feet and more, of the whole family. You’re all discoverers now. What you see along the way is all part of it. Give each other some tasks, or have a good hunt around. Download a Pearl route on the Zeeland App, and watch informative clips en route.
The Pearl routes are your story-teller about much of Zeeland. They sometimes follow their own special routes, sometimes existing trails. If you link them up, you’ll recreate the Oyster Path itself (‘Oesterpad’).
No route is more evocative of the struggles of Zeeland with water than the Watersnoodroute, itself designated as a Pearl route. It traces key points of the tragic night of 31 January 1953 when our sea dikes were breached by a flood tide, and much of Zeeland was submerged. Even in the sad ruins of those dark hours, a pearl was found: we emerged, gradually, strengthened in our resolve.
Other Pearl routes will guide you through towns and villages which are true icons of Zeeland’s rich history. The wealth of monumental buildings in Zierikzee breathe out many tales of the prosperous days of trade. The exceptional light above Domburg (still there!) was the beacon that drew genius artists like Mondriaan and Toorop to our coast. Another pearl of hope rising from misfortune, is in the relics of 1940s war defences in such villages as Westkapelle.
The creations of Nature also feature on Pearl routes, such as the Zeepeduinen near Westenschouwen. A magnificent expanse of dunes, its inhabitants include herds of Shetland ponies. An extra pearl of wisdom here: the local word ‘zeepen’ means ‘to seep’ – a reference to how coastal dunes are natural filters for potable water. Another Pearl route is in the Nationaal Park Oosterschelde: its shore-side trails will divulge the rich animal and plant life of the nature reserve.
Make sure to keep your Zeeland App up-to-date, to get the latest Pearl routes.