Middelburg

Travel Guide Europe Netherlands Zeeland Middelburg

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Introduction

Middelburg is the capital of the Dutch province of Zeeland. In colonial times, this was one of the most important cities in the country, and still today Middelburg is packed with monuments reminding of those golden times. A good part of the centre is still surrounded by the old, star shaped canal ring. Lined with boats and cycleways, this part of town is both attractive and typically Dutch. The centre is dominated by a large square, still regularly used as a market square and overlooked by the beautifully ornamented former town hall. Around there, you'll find a mostly pedestrianised shopping area. Slightly further out from the centre is the shipping canal connecting Veerse Meer to Vlissingen. The train station is also located on the far side of this.

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Sights and Activities

Hundreds of Middelburgs monuments were damaged or completely destroyed in WWII, but in the decades that followed, the city worked hard to rebuild its centre and restore the cultural heritage that remains. And with success, as over 1100 national monuments make Middelburg a top ten Dutch heritage site. There's a clearly historic feel to the old town, which is encircled by a pretty pattern of canals, once part of the 1595 Sea Beggars fortifications.

To see the best of town, stroll along the canals and through the old streets around the charming Market Square. There, you'll see the beautiful former City Hall, now in use by the university. Right in the city centre also stands the impressive Middelburg Abbey, built in the 12th century by Norbertine monks. The massive complex has a more or less round shape with a pretty square in the middle. It has 3 churches, 5 towers and a number of gates. The tallest abbey tower is called Lange Jan Long John, and is the most famous landmark in the Middelburg skyline. It's accessible for visitors and offers a great view over town. After the 2 year siege of Middelburg in 1572-1574, the abbey life was ended by force and the buildings were used for local and regional government. Today, the abbey complex is (among other things) home to the Zeeuws Museum.

  • Zeeuws Museum, Abdij (plein) (Located in the Abbey, in the centre of town). Tue-Sun 11AM-5PM. The extensive collection of both historic and contemporary artworks and artifacts gives a great inside in Zeeland's wealthy past, the many world wide expeditions undertaken from here, historic costumes, natural treasures and of course some of the best of regional modern art. €8,50 for adults.

8 Town Hall. Gorgeously decorated, the former city hall is a mixture of architectural styles. The 14th century facade on the market square is the most well-known part, and mostly Late-Gothic in design. The later, 17th century parts facing the Lange Noordstraat have a rather classical style. Considered to be one of the most beautiful single buildings in the Netherlands, the Town Hall is an important sight in the city. Locals call its tower "Malle Betje" (Crazy Beth) as its clock is always a bit behind the one on Lange Jan. In summer, 2 daily (except Friday) guided tours allow for an inside view. Tickets can be bought at the Tourist Office and tours start at 11.15AM and 3.15PM. € 4,25.

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Events and Festivals

Koningsdag (King's Day)

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. On this day the streets of almost every sizable town in the country come alive with activity.

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Getting There

By rail, Middelburg is one of the stops on the so-called Zeeuwse lijn or Line F, running from Vlissingen via Middelburg to Goes, Bergen op Zoom and Roosendaal.

As for roads, the N57 originates here, passing four of the Delta Works dams, ending near Brielle and Rozenburg. From there, it connects further to the A15. The A58 passes Middelburg on its way from Flushing to Goes and on to the A4. There's a clearly marked exit for Middelburg.

Rotterdam is the closest airport, served mostly by discount carriers. Brussels Zaventem is the nearest large international airport (1.15h drive), and Amsterdam Schiphol is about 2 hours from Middelburg.

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Getting Around

The centre of the city is well navigable on foot and very approachable by bike. Despite the pedestrian zones, much of the centre is accessible by car. Like in many Dutch cities, parking can be hard though and is typically paid (up to €2 per hour) , with very few options in the old centre. There are several parking garages just out of the centre, which are well indicated when approaching the city centre.

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Eat

There are plenty of large and small eateries, serving to all tastes. The Market Square, Plein 1940, the Vlasmarkt and the Dam are good places to look for bars and restaurants.

  • De Gouden Bock, Damplein 17, ☎ +31 118 617 484. Tue-Sat 10.30AM-3PM and 6PM-9PM. Good value for money, modern Mediterranean place that specializes in fish dishes. Mains from €21, 5 course surprise menu for €35.
  • De Gespleten Arent, Vlasmarkt 25-27, ☎ +31 118 63 61 22. Tue-Sat 6PM-9PM. Great gourmet cuisine in a modern, bright white restaurant. Mains from €20, 3 course menu from €30.
  • Desafinado, Koorkerkstraat 1, ☎ +31 118-640767. Friendly jazz-café with a nice vibe and a good view on Lange Jan from the outdoor terrace. Serves tasty bistro dishes, also a good spot for a cheap lunch. Diner mains from €20, lunch from €7.50.
  • Brasserie Panneke, Lammerensteeg 5, ☎ +31 118 625 287. Closed on Mon&Tue. Somewhat hidden away but nicely situated at a small square, this friendly little place serves tasty bistro food. Good quality for money. Mains are all under €22.

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Drink

Especially on weekends, the city centre has plenty of bar activity in the evenings. The main areas are roughly the same as the ones where the restaurants are, including the Market Square and the Vlasmarkt. Popular places include café Brooklyn and Seventy Seven (Market Square), and Schuttershof on the Vlasmarkt. The last one is open later than most others, until about 4am. For real clubbing you'd have to go out of town though, and the best option then is perhaps 'De Hooizolder' in Westcapelle. A taxi there from the Plein 1940 will cost around €40.

If you like beer, De Mug on the Vlasmarkt is your best bet, as it serves a wide selection, including many Belgian brands.

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Sleep

There's a good selection of hotels in the city, but, as in many Dutch cities, few of them really lie in the low budget range. There's no youth hostel in town, but if you're travelling on a budget you might consider the one in nearby Vlissingen, as that's only a few km away. Alternatively, bring a tent and go camping, as several camp grounds are available in the area.

  • Hotel Aan de Dam, Dam 31. Pleasant 3 star hotel in a monumental building. The interiors are in style, classical and quaint, but the rooms are nice and spacious and have all your need. From €77 for a double.
  • B&B 't Poorthuys, Koepoortstraat 10. This former doctors mansion is now a friendly and charming bed&breakfast, with services including free bike rental, free wifi and an excellent breakfast. In practice it's more like a hotel, with private bathrooms for each room and a 24 hour desk. From €90 for a double.
  • Hotel de Nieuwe Doelen, Loskade 3. This friendly hotel in the old centre has a lovely garden and some rooms have nice views. Although nothing special, rooms are comfortable and some have a small balcony. All in all, a pleasant and popular place, so book ahead. doubles from € 75.
  • Hotel Middelburg, Bosschaartsweg 2. Family-run but rather large hotel on the outsides of town, near the major access roads. Standard but good rooms with airco and a pleasant hotel bar. A good place to use as a base to explore not only Middelburg but also the region, especially if you have your own transport. From €71,50 for a double.
  • Fletcher Hotel Restaurant Middelburg, Loskade 1. This hotel was renovated in 2017. From €69 for a double room p.p.
  • Mini-Camping Klein Leliendale, Leliendaalseweg 2, ☎ +31 118-612405. Small, family-run camp site on a farm just out of town, a 10 minute bike ride from the city centre. From €19 for a large camping spot.

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Keep Connected

Internet

Internet cafés are not as widespread as you would expect, but you can easily find one in the popular cities. Most hostels, hotels and camp sites have several computers, so you can keep connected with folk at home. Here is a list of internet cafés that could come in handy for travellers. Otherwise, most libraries have lots of computers and prices are around the €2-3 per hour range, although sometimes it can be even more expensive.

Wireless internet access using wifi is becoming more popular and is usually available at most hotels and increasingly at train stations. Also in trains (at least in most first class wagons, but also more and more in second class) and some buses you can use wifi. Finally, places like McDonald's and Starbucks have free wifi, and smaller individual business like cafés and restaurants are on the rise too offering these services. More often than not, these service tend to be free of charge, though there might be a limited time you can use the internet.

Phone

See also: International Telephone Calls

The country code for the Netherlands is 31. The outbound international prefix is 00. The general emergency number is 112, like many other countries.
0800 numbers are toll-free and for 09xx numbers are charged at premium rates. Mobile phones have numbers in the 06 range, and calls to cell phones are also priced at higher rates.

From internet cafés, it is also usually possible to make long distance international calls. Like in other countries, telephone booths have almost disappeared, though some are still found around public transport stations, where you can use a few coins to make calls. It is only recommended for local calls.

The cellular phone network in the Netherlands is GSM 900/1800. The main providers of cell phone networks are KPN (Dutch only), T-mobile and Vodafone, who cover the whole country. Other operators, like Hollandsnieuwe, Simyo or Tele2, use one of these 3 networks basically.

It is best to buy a SIM card when in the Netherlands for use in your cellphone, as this usually works out cheaper than using the one from home. If you are planning to study or work in the country and stay for several months, buying a cellphone is the best option. A simple one, sometimes with €10 worth on it, can be bought from around €25. The simplest smartphones are around €75.

Post

The rate for sending a postcard or letter up to 20 grams within the Netherlands is €0.64 (2014). Since 2010 there are stamps available for domestic post which no longer include the value in €. Instead, there are stamps available with either a '1' or a '2' as a substitute for value. The '1' can be used for letters and postcards up to 20 grams, while 20-50 grams require you to use the '2'-valued stamps (or two '1'-valued stamps of course).

Sending items to other EU countries and the rest of the world (there is one price since 2014) will cost €1.05. Stamps are sold at post offices, supermarkets and smaller shops/kiosks; often the place where you buy your postcards can also supply you with stamps.

Sending parcels abroad is more costly. A standard-sized parcel between up to 2 kilograms will cost you €9 for destinations within the EU and €18 (both without Track & Trace) to the rest of the world. Prices with Track & Trace start at €13 and €24.30 respectively. Parcel service is available from major post offices only; standard-size boxes are on sale there as well. For sending parcels, it might be just as competitive and fast to use a company like TNT, UPS or DHL.

If you need to receive mail while moving around, you can have it sent poste restante (to be called for) to a post office of your choice, where it will be kept for a month. If you come to claim it, bring a valid ID, and make sure to have told the sender that the name on the envelope must be an exact match with that in your passport. For addresses of post offices, as well as more information, consult the TNT website.

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This is version 4. Last edited at 13:41 on May 14, 19 by Utrecht. 2 articles link to this page.

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