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Top-Rated Tourist Attractions in Middelburg, Netherlands

Middelburg, capital of the province of Zeeland, lies on the Veere-Vlissingen Canal on the former island of Walcheren, surrounded by a star-shaped ring of grachten and canals.

Layout

In the center of Middelburg are two concentric rings of streets, on the line of the old grachten constructed to strengthen the town's defenses as it grew steadily larger over the centuries. From these inner rings a number of streets lead out to a U-shaped outer circuit of grachten with the open end to the north. Farther out again is the line of the old fortifications, bounded on the south side by the Walcheren Canal, which links the town with the open sea.

Town Hall

In the Markt stands the Town Hall (Stadhuis), one of the most beautiful Gothic secular buildings in the Netherlands, built between 1452 and 1458 by members of the Keldermans family. Between 1506 and 1520 a Meat Hall (meat market) and a tower were added, and in 1670 and 1780-84 there were further additions in neo-classical style. The Town Hall was almost completely destroyed in the 1940 bombing, but after the war was rebuilt in the original style. On the facade of 1512- 13, most of which survived the bombing, are figures of 25 Counts and Countesses of Zeeland and Holland, under canopies surmounted by fabulous animals. The windows and doors are closed by red and white shutters - a common practice in the Middle Ages, when windows were not glazed.
Address: Markt, Netherlands

Town Hall Interior

The interior of the Town Hall is open to the public. Above the old Meat Hall (now occupied by an exhibition of modern art) is the imposing Burgerzaal (Burghers' Hall), originally the town's first Cloth Hall, which is now used for civic receptions and other great occasions and as a concert hall. Items of particular interest include pictures, Bruges tapestries on mythological themes and a bronze model of Admiral de Ruyter's flagship.

Kloveniersdoelen

From the Markt in Middelburg the Langeviele runs southwest to the Achter de Houttuinen gracht, on which is the Kloveniersdoelen, built between 1607 and 1611 in Flemish Renaissance style as the headquarters of a marksmen's guild (a klovenier was a long musket). Until 1798 the building was occupied by the Van den Bus marksmen's guild, and thereafter it was for many years a military hospital. In 1735 the tower was destroyed when it was struck by lightning; it was rebuilt more than two centuries later, in 1969.

Abbey of Our Lady

The Abbey of Our Lady was originally built in the 16th C. It was later secularized and served as seat of the provincial administration. Many of the buildings were rebuilt following bombing in WWII.
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St Jorisdoelen

Just north of the Onze Lieve Vrouwe Abdij stands St Jorisdoelen, the guild house of the marksmen's guild of St George. The facade (1582), bearing the arms of Middelburg, Zeeland and the marksmen's guild, was rebuilt in its original form in 1969-70. On the gable is a figure of St George. The building now houses the employment exchange. In front of St Jorisdoelen, in Balansplein, is a fountain which plays in summer and is illuminated after dark.

Law Courts

From St Jorisdoelen, St Pieterstraat and Wagenaarstraat lead into Hofplein, in which are the Law Courts of Middelburg, housed in a mansion of 1765 with wrought-iron window grilles which was once occupied by Van der Perre, governor of Zeeland.

Miniature Walcheren

On the north side of Middelburg, on Molenwater, is Miniatuur Walcheren, a large model of Walcheren (c. 7,000 sq.m/8,400 sq.yd; scale 1:20), showing the town's historic buildings and other features (200 buildings in all) in appropriate settings. Even the Veerse Meer is represented, with boats operated by remote control. The model was originally made in 1954 by hundreds of local people for an exhibition on the reconstruction of the island.
Address: Koepoortlaan 1, Middelburg, Zeeland 4331 RX, Netherlands

Cow Gate

Near the Miniatuur Walcheren is the Koepoort (Cow Gate; 1735), the only one of the old town gates which still survives.

Baroque Oostkerk

To the southeast of the Koepoort stands the Baroque Oostkerk (1647-67; Reformed), the town's first Baroque building, designed by Pieter Post and Arent van 's- Gravenzande.

Tilting at the Ring

Tilting at the Ring in traditional costume, on horseback and with decorated coaches.

Jazz Festival

Middelburg hosts the annual Middelburg Jazz Festival held each March which attracts visitors from all over the country.
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