|City Hall or Stadhuis of Middelburg, built 1452-1520.|
In our tour of the southern province of Zeeland, we used the capital, Middelburg, as our base to explore the region. This relatively small city (approximately 48.000 in.) was for us a pleasant surprise and we dedicated our first day in Zeeland to explore its historic city centre.
|The Water Management building in Middelburg.|
While walking along the the back streets and along the still existing medieval moats, the visitor can certainly breathe in the history of this city. Middelburg probably originated in the 9th century, when a number of fortified towns were built along the coast of the (then) island of Walcheren to defend Zeeland from Viking attacks. Later in the Middle Ages, it became an important trading post thanks to its strategic location between England and the cities of Flanders.Then during the era of the Dutch Golden Age (17th century) it became an important centre for the Dutch East India Company and Middelburg flourished like never before.
Thanks to this rich past, the visitor can now admire the wonderful architecture of the stately merchant houses and storehouses built along the canal. Despite the destruction and devastation that the Second World War caused in the 1940s, a thourough restoration process was carried out, which gave the city much of its old glory back.
A good way to get a impression of the city is to take one of the boat tours, or rondvaart in Dutch. The company Rondvaart Middelburg offers trips in an open boat with a guide, every day between April and October. Check their website (click on the link above) for details and prices.
One of the most lively parts of the historic centre is undoubtedly the square around the City Hall or Stadhuis. The imposing building stands out with its beautiful late-gothic façade with little turrets, red and white shutters, and none less that twenty-five statues of nobles of Zeeland. During the summer it is possible to visit the gothic part of the building, which is totally worth doing. The Toursit Shop (the tourist information office of Middelburg) organises the visits to this monumental building. Visit their site if you want to know more about their products, such as city tours, visits to museums, etc.
|Detail of the façade of the Town Hall in Middelburg.|
|A view of the Lange Jan tower from a side street in Middelburg.|
|The Abbey complex in Middelburg where the Zeeuwsmuseum is located.|
|Market Square near the Town Hall, in Middelburg.|
|The Kloveniersdoelen built in Flemish Renaissance style in 1607, now housing a music centre.|