Looking for somewhere for a vacation or break away from the hubbub of the rat race, but at the same time not too far from anywhere?
Then you’ve found it because the province of Zeeland in the south west of Holland is the place for you.
With its wild windswept western coastline flanking the English Channel, these sparsely populated lowlands are akin to one of the Dutch master’s work of art with broad brush strokes of verdant polders, blond gravely footpaths on top of the sea walls and yellow straw sea grass framing miles of wide sandy beaches and deep blue water.
With a wide choice of camping and caravan sites, chalets and hotels, Zeeland is a region which is secretly favoured not only by the Dutch and their close by neighbours, the Belgians, but also the Germans, who you’ll see everywhere in the summertime, as they lap up the sunshine.
Traditionally this area of Holland gets more than its fair share of sun, certainly more than the neighbouring South East of England. Zeeland, part of the proper Netherlands (or low country or lowlands), largely reclaimed from the sea by the construction of large dikes and polders. Most of the area is below sea level, but don’t worry, it remains well protected by a massive infrastructure of a series of sea defences.
Divided neatly in half by the river Scheldt or Schelde as it is known in Dutch there are two distinctly different parts to Zeeland. Firstly the area to the north of the river. This adjoins mainland Holland and here you’ll find the area’s principal cities; Middelburg the ancient capital of Zeeland, Vlissingen, and Goes, pronounced “whos”! If you’re interested in the past, the whole of this area is rich with it. Be it Napoleon, the Spanish or the Second World War there is no shortage of history here. The area is well connected with road and rail networks that will get you to the rest of Holland and Europe easily. Rotterdam is around an hours drive away, Amsterdam a couple of hours.
The region of Zeeland that lies to the south, known as Zeeuws Vlaanderen is cut off from the rest of Zeeland and the Netherlands by the river Scheldt. This rises in France flowing through Antwerp to the east, then west, to exit at Vlissingen or Flushing on the North Sea. Its borders to the south, east and west abut Belgium. Once served by ferries ten years ago these were replaced by one of the longest road tunnels in Europe, the Westerscheldetunnel which at 6600 metres (just over 4 miles) in length is quite something to drive through as it cuts under the river.