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Zeeland (zee means sea in Dutch) is one of the 12 provinces in The Netherlands. It makes up the southwest of the Netherlands and is bordered by the provinces of South Holland to the north and North Brabant to the east. The southern border is shared with Belgium.
It is one of the smallest provinces and has less than 400,000 people, with Terneuzen being the largest city. Other major cities are Goes, the seaport of Vlissingen (Flushing) and the capital Middelburg.
Despite its size, Zeeland is one of the Netherland's favourite tourist areas, especially in summer when thousands of people, mainly from neighbouring countries like Belgium and Germany, come visiting the beaches.
But there is more to Zeeland than beaches. There are some beautiful old towns like Sluis and Hulst in Zeeuws-Vlaanderen, which makes up the southern part of the province. Both towns are close to the Belgian border and are especially lively on Sundays when all shops are open, every single Sunday. Hulst has a defensive wall which is almost completely intact.
One of the most striking things in the history of Zeeland occurred in early February 1953, when, after severe northwestern storms, coastal areas were flooded and around 1800 people got killed. Nowadays, the huge Deltaworks, which prevents the sea from rising too much when storms occur, is the most important tourist attraction in Zeeland. The Neeltje Jans Expo displays history of the flooding and explains how the Deltaworks work.
Zeeland lies in the delta of a couple of big rivers. The Schelde, the Meuse (Maas) and the Rhine all flow into the Northsea at the coast of the Netherlands. Years ago Zeeland was mainly a collection of islands, but during the years most of them go connected to eachother forming larger pieces of land. Because a lot of the land was claimed from the sea, a lot of the land is below sea level, and is protected by dykes and dams.
One of the most striking things in the history of Zeeland occurred in early February 1953, when, after severe northwestern storms, coastal areas were flooded and around 1,800 people got killed. Nowadays, the huge Deltaworks, which prevents the sea from rising too much when storms occur, is the most important tourist attraction in Zeeland. The Neeltje Jans Expo displays history of the flooding and explains how the Deltaworks work.
In 2013, the Dutch throne was passed on to King Willem-Alexander and what used to be Koninginnedag (Queen's Day) will from 2014 become Koningsdag (King's Day). The date will be changed to the 27th of April, which is the king's birthday. In 2014 however it will be on the 26th of April because the 27th falls on a Sunday. On this day the streets of almost every sizable town in the country come alive with activity.
Zeeland is one of the milder provinces in The Netherlands regarding the weather. This mean it's usually a bit warmer in winter on average and a bit cooler in summer. Zeeland is one of the most sunny provinces of The Netherlands. Although of course in the summermonths of July and August temperatures are highest with average daytime temperatures of around 20 degrees, it's probably better to visit the province in spring when it's less crowded and temperatures are almost as high as in summer but there is less rain. Also, other months are good for a visit, and instead of laying on a beach you can make great walks along the coast as well during the cooler months. Temperatures of more than 30 degrees Celcius or below zero are relatively rare.
Although Zeeland used to contain several islands, nowadays, most islands are connected by bridges and tunnels. The last two ferries between Zeeuws-Vlaanderen south of the river Westerschelde and Walcheren and South Beveland north of the river, were suspended in March 2003, when the Westerscheldetunnel was completed. Nowadays, only a foot and bicycle passenger service operates on these routes.
The main transportation corridor lies between Vlissingen eastwards towards Goes and further on to the province of North Brabant. This corridor contains of the highway A58 and the only train line in Zeeland. By train, this is the main way of getting there and away and there are connections all the way to Amsterdam and Eindhoven. Other modes of travelling mainly are with public buses which run between almost every single village on an hourly basis.
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