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The Delta Region Hostels, Eurail Passes, and Backpacking Tips


 

The Netherlands' aptly named province of Zeeland ('Sea Land') makes up most of the Delta region. Spread over the south-west corner of the country, it was until recent decades a solitary place, with isolated islands battered by howling winds and white-capped seas, and small medieval towns seemingly lost in time. But after a devastating flood in 1953 came the decision to defend Zeeland from the sea - and thus the Delta Project became a reality.

The region's main town, Middelburg, makes a good base for exploration or, for something more quaint, head to Willemstad.

MIDDELBURG

Middelburg is the long-time capital of Zeeland. It makes for a pleasant overnight stop and has a handful of worthy sights. The VVV (65 99 44) is centrally located at Nieuwe Burg 40.

Things to See & Do

Near the VVV is the Gothic Stadhuis (Town Hall) which, like much of the central district, was destroyed during the 1940 German blitz which flattened Rotterdam. Dating back to the mid-15th century, it was convincingly restored. A few streets away is Lange Jan, the town's other distinctive tower, rising from the former 12th-century Abdij (Abbey) complex. The tower can be climbed from mid-April to 31 October. For insight into the province's history, visit the Zeeuws Museum (Zeeland Museum) inside the Abbey.

AROUND MIDDELBURG

The disastrous 1953 flood was the impetus for the Delta in which the south-west river deltas were blocked using a network of dams, dikes and a remarkable 3.2km storm-surge barrier which is lowered only in rough conditions. Finished in 1986, the project is explained at Waterland Neeltje Jans (0111-65 27 02), a theme park next to the storm-surge barrier's command centre. The 10 € admission to Neeltje Jans includes entry to the Delta Expo and to a dolphin rehabilitation centre, and allows a walk on the storm-surge barriers. It's open 10 am to 5.30 pm daily (closed Monday and Tuesday from 1 November to 31 March). To get there from Middelburg, take the ZWN bus No 104 (30 minutes, twice hourly).

WILLEMSTAD

Sitting on the edge of the Delta region but officially part of Brabant province, Willemstad is a picturesque fortified village. Built in the mid-16th century, the village was given to the nation's saviour, William the Silent, in 1582 as compensation for his expenses in leading the Revolt of the Netherlands.

Public transport to Willemstad is limited to an hourly bus from Roosendaal or Breda, or buses from Rotterdam (45 minutes).

 

The Delta Region


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