Zeeland Cruise

Day 1: Zierikzee

Rondje Zeeland

The programme for the Zeeland Cruise starts once your guests arrive from the airport. The itineraries could look something like this:

14:00 hours. The coaches will leave for the North Sea floods museum in Ouwerkerk where you will be welcomed by one of the North Sea floods museum's expert members of staff. S/he will give an interesting introduction about the museum which is housed in four caissons that were used to close the last of the breaches in the nearby dikes during the floods. The museum has impressive news footage from the floods as well as a large table with folder upon folder of old newspaper snippets, reports, moving stories from local children and photographs. At the rear, there is information about the fascine, the construction of the dike banks and the machines that were used after the North Sea floods. There is a model that replicates how the dikes were breached and you can listen to the first radio announcements about the disaster using headphones. This makes you feel as if you have been transported back to the time of the floods.

15:30 hours. Zierikzee: historic city and the Pearl of the Oosterschelde estuary. The coaches will leave for the centre of Zierikzee and an expert guide will take you on a tour of the city centre. In the 10th century, a few farmers and/or fishermen, settled on the inlet called the Ee (pronounced 'ey' like in ´they´). This was a good position because the Ee flowed into the Gouwe, which was an important shipping route between Flanders, the province of Holland and Zeeland. In 1248, King William II granted Zierikzee its city rights. The prosperity of Zierikzee at the start of the 15th century created a prominent silhouette of walls, gates, churches, towers and mills. However, there were also times when threats from outside the city put immense pressure on the trade and industry in Zierikzee. The city reappeared after times of disaster looking neglected but not irreparably damaged, and after the North Sea floods of 1953, many buildings were restored. Zierikzee is currently the 8th most important historical city of the Netherlands preceded by larger cities such as Amsterdam, Leiden, Maastricht and Haarlem.

17.00 hours. End of excursion


Day 2: Veere

Veere09:00 hours. Expert guides will be waiting in Veere to pick you up as you arrive at the quayside. The coach will take you on a short scenic tour in the direction of Delta Park Neeltje Jans where you will be shown an interesting film called Deltafinale for a good impression of the building of the storm surge barrier. Expert guides will be waiting in Veere to pick you up as you arrive at the quayside. The coach will take you on a short scenic tour in the direction of Delta Park Neeltje Jans where you will be shown an interesting film called Deltafinale for a good impression of the building of the storm surge barrier.

12:00 hours. Coaches depart for Veere.

14:00 hours. Start of the afternoon´s activities. Anna van Borsele, lady of Veere (in medieval costume), will take you on a walk around this picturesque medieval town, past its gigantic church, its walled gardens and beautiful harbour. You will pay a visit to the town hall on the market along the way, as well as the Scottish Rooms museum which is two merchants´ houses on the quayside.

After the scheduled activities come to an end, you will have time to explore the old town of Veere on your own. Why not look around one of the town's many quaint little shops or sit on a bench and enjoy the view overlooking Veerse Meer Lake.

16:00 hours. End of excursion

Day 3: Middelburg

09:00 hours. Our expert guides will be waiting to welcome you on the quayside in Middelburg. They will take you on a journey through the historic city this provincial capital, one which has certainly earned its title as a historic city. Middelburg is stooped in rich cultural history and has approximately 1100 historic buildings and monuments of all different sizes. The tremendous abbey, the impressive town hall and the magnificent warehouses give you a good sense of the city's past. To the Dutch East India Company, Middelburg was the second-most important city in the Netherlands, preceded only by Amsterdam. Among other places of interest, your guide will show you the town hall, Damplein Square and the ‘Lange Jan’ or Long John Tower.

10:30 hours. End of guided tour and free time

12:00 hours. Lunch will be served on board ship

14:00 hours. Start of the afternoon´s activities. Your guide will take you to the Zeeuws Museum (Museum of Zeeland), which is home to the largest collection of Zeelandic heritage in the world, including the world-famous series of 16th-century tapestries, beautiful porcelain and paintings, surprising fashion and traditional folk costume, as well as cabinets filled with art from east and west. The museum offers idiosyncratic video tours about key exhibits, animals and desires, and has a media library with information about the collections, films and games. It has its own café with an outdoor seating area on Abdijplein Square as well as its own exclusive shop.

16:00 hours. End of excursion

Day 4: Middelburg

Middelburg09:00 hours. The coaches depart from Middelburg for the village of Yerseke.

09:45 hours. Arrival in Yerseke. Once in Yerseke, our guides will take you on a walk around the nostalgic oyster pits followed by a visit to an ultra-modern mussel company. Should you visit outside of the mussel season, the guide will take you to see the harbours, where you will find the mussel and oyster cutters and the cockle boats. The harbour is also the home of the mussel auction. The tour of the mussel auction house will start with a cup of coffee and a sweet specialty pastry followed by a film about mussel fishing.

12:00 hours. Coach will return to Middelburg

14:30 hours. Start of the afternoon´s activities in Westkapelle. On arrival at a lovely museum in Westkapelle you will be served a cup of tea or coffee followed by a workshop on how to make boterbabbelaars, traditional hard buttered toffees. This is a popular Zeelandic sweet that grandmothers used to make across Zeeland and is now being made by these bakers, without colourings or preservatives. They are made from purely natural ingredients, so it only requires a few skills to make, like heat-resistant hands! The bakers dress in the traditional costumes that the craftsmen on the island of Walcheren have been wearing since approximately 1890. However, nowadays, there are only a few people on the island that still wear this traditional costume.

15:30 hours. End of excursion

Day 5: Vlissingen

Vlissingen09:00 hours. Our expert guides will be waiting to welcome you on the quayside in Vlissingen. This excursion includes a visit to Zeeland´s maritime museum, muZEEum (mu-SEA-um). MuZEEum is located in a complex of historic and newly-built buildings with a unique outlook over the busy shipping routes on the Westerschelde estuary. You can see, hear, explore and experience the rich maritime history of Zeeland in four themes: Water, Work, Glory and Adventure. You will be taken around the museum by an expert guide. After the guided tour, there will be time for you to explore the mu-SEA-um more closely.

11:00 hours. A guide will then take you on a short walk to the lovely Perry´s Dock (Dokje van Perry). This is the oldest dry dock in the Netherlands and one of the oldest in Western Europe. It was built in 1704-1705 from a design made by the Englishman John Perry in 1697. The dry dock was used for the maintenance of warships. Despite having been declared a national monument in 1964, the dock was buried under a layer of sand during the construction of the Scheldewerf´s industrial building in 1974. Its restoration started in 2010 after it was excavated from the sand.

12:00 hours. Arrival at the ship

14:00 hours. Start of the afternoon´s activities. The coach will take you Fort Rammekens which is 8 kilometres away from Vlissingen, set amongst woods, creeks, meadows, salt marshes and utter peace and quiet. Fort Rammekens is the oldest sea fort in Western Europe (1547), and is a fort that once played a significant role in Zeeland's rich maritime history.

This now partially-dilapidated fort has managed to maintain its impressive appearance. This is a chance to wander around the walls and enjoy the unique views overlooking the Westerschelde estuary. Don't forget to have a look at the gloomy casemates that the soldiers would have lived in, and where the wounded would have been looked after. Fort Rammekens is the heart of a unique nature area on the banks of the Westerschelde estuary, which is wonderful for walking.

16:00 hours. End of excursion

Day 6: Terneuzen

09:00 hours. Expert guides will be there to welcome you to Terneuzen. They will take you to the lock complex at the Portaal van Vlaanderen (the portal into Flanders). How do people sail safely into Ghent from the Westerschelde estuary? How do you pilot a barge or a ship through a lock? Which companies provide 20% of the jobs in Zeeland? How are imported goods transported through the Netherlands?

You´ll get the answers to all of these questions, and more, at the lock complex in the port of Terneuzen. A day at the lock complex consists of a look around the interactive information centre and the choice of either a walk around the complex on your own, or a guided tour, as well as a boat trip on the canal (depending on the season).

12:00 hours. Arrival at the ship.

Terneuzen

14:00 hours. Start of the afternoon´s activities. The coach will take you a scenic drive towards Hulst, stopping off at a number of places of interest along the way, including the remains of the State-Spanish line which was built during the Eighty Years' War. The powers in the north and the south fought over this area for centuries, giving Zeeuws-Vlaanderen a violent past. In order to protect itself against military aggression, Zeeuws-Vlaanderen built numerous fortifications which were joined together, in lines, by the Dutch States Army and Spanish Troops.

Hulst is one of the best-preserved fortified towns of the Netherlands. The four ancient town gates mark the town's former boundaries. Moreover, there is a walk that will take you along 3.5 km of town walls, giving you an amazing panorama of the well-preserved town centre with its many ancient gables. On your approach towards Hulst you will undoubtedly spot the spire of the Willibrordus basilica as it appears on the horizon. This church was pronounced the most beautiful church in the Netherlands in 2009 and is a prominent landmark. It is well worth taking a look inside, and you can even climb the tower! Hulst is a town with a lavish yet modern selection of shops that has made it into the Dutch top 100 for its pavement cafés. The shops are open on Sundays.

17:00 hours. End of excursion

Day 7: Terneuzen

09:00 hours. Coach trip to Bruges with an expert guide. The city of Bruges (Brugge) is inviting, enchanting and captivating. Imagine you're back in the Middle Ages as you wander along the winding alleyways and romantic canals. The entire ancient city centre is on the world heritage list. We can highly recommend visiting the Church of Our Lady (Onze-Lieve-Vrouwekerk), the belfry (Belfort) and the béguinage or courtyard (Begijnhof). There is something on the programme to suit all ages, including a quiz for the children. Bruges looks forward to welcoming you!

14:00 hours. End of excursion