In the fall of 1944, the Battle for the Scheldt occurred in the province of Zeeland. Canadian, British and Polish troops were among those fighting a week-long battle to gain access to the harbors of Antwerp. The fights, bomb runs and flooding of land made this period a very difficult one for Zeeland.
- Discover even more about wartime Zeeland at the Zeeland Liberation Museum.
- Visit the Sloedam, which features monuments to commemorate the countless fallen soldiers.
- Listen to stories from WWII at the audio sites along the Liberation Route.
Battle for the Scheldt
It was vital to have access to the harbors of Antwerp to end the war quickly. It was the only way for the allied armies to be provisioned adequately. The harbors are accessible from the Scheldt, the stretch of water between the two bottommost parts of Zeeland. In the end, the Battle for the Scheldt took all of three weeks. The battle resulted in 13,000 dead, injured and missing Allied soldiers. The first convoy would finally reach Antwerp on 28 November of that year. Later, General Eisenhower would say: ‘The end of Nazism was in clear view when the first ship moved unmolested up the Scheldt.’
Places to see
In WWII, the Sloedam near Arnemuiden was the only connection between what were then the islands of Walcheren and Zuid-Beveland. Heavy battles raged around the Sloedam in 1940 and 1944. The famous monument of Arnemuiden represents a lasting memory of the countless soldiers that sacrificed their lives.
The Zeeland Liberation Museum in Nieuwdorp, the Polderhuis in Westkapelle, and the Watersnoodmuseum in Ouwerkerk tell the history of Zeeland in WWII, and the Battle for the Scheldt in particular.
Liberation Route Zeeland
Information panels, the so-called audio sites, are installed in an increasing number of places. Here, you can listen to audio theater replaying events during the Battle for the Scheldt. You can download the stories for free from the website or the Liberation Route Europe app. For routes and package deals, visit the site www.liberationroute.com.