Zeeland has a rich maritime history (take Michiel de Ruyter or the Dutch East India Company (VOC) for example), but modern-day Zeeland has a lot to offer in this area too.
The Port of Zierikzee
There is plenty evidence in the port of Zierikzee of a rich fishing and shipping history. There are attractive merchant's and town houses all over the town and in the port, there are historical ships that are open to visitors as well as lots more in Zierikzee’s museum harbour.
Vlissingen has an impressive maritime MuZEEum (mu-SEA-um) where you will find all kinds of information about the region´s maritime history as well as modern commercial shipping on the Westerschelde estuary.
In Arnemuiden, there used to be countless shipyards where traditional Zeelandic flat-bottomed boats, known locally as ´hoogaarzen´, were built. Historische Werf Meerman (Meerman Historical Shipyard) is the only remaining shipyard in this fishing village. Flat-bottomed boats are still built here today and it is open to visitors.
Every year at the end of August, Michiel de Ruyter looks out over the waters of the Westerschelde estuary from his plinth, with pride because that is when Vlissingen Maritiem takes place: a huge and exciting maritime event when naval ships and historic three-masters flood to Vlissingen. During the event, the town comes alive with shanty singers and lots of good food and drink.
Van Loon Hardzeildagen
This is a historical sailing competition for flat-bottomed boats that takes place in July in Veere. The first idea for a competition for flat-bottomed boats was thought up by a group of bored shrimp fishermen at the beginning of the twentieth century. Nowadays, the competition is held on the Veerse Meer Lake in magnificent traditional flat-bottomed boats, including many Zeelandic Hoogaarzen. More about the Van Loon Hardzeildagen Sailing Competition, click here.
A fishing town or village wouldn´t be the same without its harbour festival. Here are just a few festivals held locally:
Fancy some sailing?
The waterways in Zeeland are perfect for exploring by boat. Whether you want to enjoy the rush of dangling off your catamaran on your safety line or relaxing in your luxurious yacht, there will always be a piece of water that was made just for you.