View of Middelburg with beautiful houses and boats along the canal.
© Alex Stemmers via Shutterstock

Middelburg: the capital of Zeeland

Middelburg, the capital of the Dutch province of Zeeland, possesses all the charms of a proud city steeped in tradition. With its historic canalside houses and twisty alleyways, the late Gothic town hall and the tower known as 'Lange Jan', Middelburg is full of exciting things to see.

  • The late Gothic town hall in Middelburg is one of the Netherlands' finest buildings.
  • The weekly market takes place in Middelburg on Thursdays.
  • Scale the 207 steps of the 'Lange Jan' abbey tower - and you'll be rewarded with a fantastic view.
Middelburg was once one of the trading cities of the VOC (Dutch East India Company). You'll feel like you're travelling back in time as you wander through the old town centre. Take a walk to Koepoort, the only one of the eight old city gates which is still standing, and visit the 'Kloveniersdoelen', the magnificent house, built in 1607, that once played home to the archers' guild.

The highlights of Middelburg

In the heart of the city lies the Liebfrauen Abbey, founded in 1100, which now houses the Zeeuws Museum, amongst others, within its walls. Over 30,000 exhibits are used to display all aspects of Zeeland's history. Another remarkable sight is the 90 m high abbey tower, 'Lange Jan', which can even be seen from a distance. The climb is especially rewarding on a sunny day, as you'll have a marvellous view of the Walcheren Peninsula. You should also pay a visit to the late Gothic town hall (stadhuis) from the 15th century, and the marketplace.

Sightseeing and activities in Middelburg

With 1200 landmarked buildings, many of which have been incredibly renovated, Middelburg is a city with plenty to see. You can breathe in the rich history of the former VOC trade city and the modern capital of Zeeland at every step. Wander through the alleyways with the pretty old buildings, and take a look at the house names, such as 'Appelboom', which appear on the façades of about 300 houses. The reason: in the past, there were no house numbers in Holland. And if you're already travelling in Middelburg, don't miss the views of the lovely old town from the 'Lange Jan' abbey tower, or a visit to the white drawbridge known as Spijkerbrug (in Kinderdijk). You have plenty of great opportunities to explore the city, on foot, on a boat tour or with a horse-drawn streetcar. If you're travelling by car, you're best leaving it at one of the car parks (watch out for the P-route, which brings you to the Middelburg car parks).

Sunset over Narrow Streets in the Historic City of Middelburg in Zeeland

In the heart of the historic town: the town hall

Zeeuws Museum De Abdij Middelburg

The late Gothic town hall in the city centre, erected in 1452, is one of the crucial sightseeing opportunities in all of Zeeland, or indeed in all of the Netherlands. With its lavishly decorated façade, it creates the perfect backdrop for the colourful market scenes in the town square. The terraces of the many restaurants and cafés dotted around the square invite you in for coffee in the sunshine or lunch. It's also definitely worth trying the Zeeland delicatessen, which includes mussels, oysters and freshly-caught fish.

Shopping and strolling in Middelburg

You can also stock up on boluses, a sweet regional delicacy from the bakeries of Middelburg, to take with you. When you've got your energy boost, your next stop is the market, where you can find the Drvkkery bookshop. You can also get tickets for guided tours there, as well as brochures, cards, books and maps of the city. The two main shopping streets, Lange Delft and Langeviele, branch off from the market. A starting point for those with a sweet tooth: the chocolate shop called 'Het Zeeuwse Ministerie van Chocolade & Culinaire Zaken' in Lange Noordstraat 8.

Experience the culture and history of Zeeland

The fantastic collection of the Zeeuws Museum provides a pictorial history of Zeeland from the beginning, but also includes the latest works by artists and designers who've been inspired by this magnificent province!

Visit Middelburg

Fresh open zeeuwse on fish market in Yerseke, Netherlands ready to eat

You can easily spend a day walking through the small alleyways in the old town of Middelburg and along the canals. Or sail along the canals by boat, because canal tours are also on offer in Middelburg. Next, you can visit one of the marvellous restaurants which offer Zeeland specialities. As well as good pubs and cafés, you can also make use of the many shopping opportunities for which Middelburg is famous. 

Sightseeing in the area

Middelburg is in the centre of Zeeland, on the Walcheren Peninsula. Nearby places include Vlissingen, where you can take a break on a 120 m long bench after your walk around the city, and the renowned seaside resort of Domburg. This lies between Westkapelle and Oostkapelle,  which both have a reputation for long beaches and great water sports opportunities. East of Oostkapelle lies the coastal town of Vrouwenpolder, from which you can see the famous Delta Works

Holidays in Middelburg

Extraordinary hotels have set up shop in some of Middelburg's historic buildings, such as the Roosevelt boutique hotel in the former water board near the abbey, and the Logies aan de Dam in a manor house from the 16th century. You have the choice in Middelburg: Would you rather have a cosy bed and breakfast, or a comfortable hotel rooms? Would you rather stay in a holiday apartment or in a cottage?

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