Bergen op Zoom is a city in the west of the Dutch province of North Brabant in The Netherlands. Situated on the border of neighbouring province Zeeland, the city lies on the hills of the "Brabantse wal", an area heightened over the centuries under influence of the river Schelde and the Sea. The area is dotted with historic estates and large parts of it are natural reserves, making it a fine destination for hikers. Bergen op Zoom is known as pleasant and historic city, packed with monumental buildings, plenty of good shopping opportunities and many welcoming cafés.
This is a historical city with about 66,000 inhabitants and a strategic location close to both Rotterdam and Antwerp. Nevertheless it has the typical atmosphere of a North-Brabant city. It is said that hotel De Draak is the oldest hotel in the Netherlands.
Bergen op Zoom originated in the Middle Ages from the combined growth of three small settlements. It was walled in 1330 and received city rights in 1347 . The city was the administrative center of the area. From 1533, the lords of the city from the house of Glymes were allowed to carry the title of Marquis. Their palace (Markiezenhof) is a museum now. About 1500, Bergen op Zoom was, with its port on the Oosterschelde and its fairs, a major trade competitor for Antwerp. Two differing influences caused a decline: massive floods with storm surges to the hinterland and the impact of the Eighty Years' War (1568–1648).
In 1577, during the Eighty Years' War, the Spanish who were expelled from the city, made numerous attempts to recapture it: In 1581 and 1588 (by Alessandro Farnese), in 1605 and 1622 (by Ambrogio Spinola).
The fort of Bergen op Zoom was created in 1688 by Menno van Coehoorn and was considered one of the strongest fortresses of the Low Countries. However, in 1747 it was taken by the French general Löwendahl after a three-month siege. Just one year later, due to the Aachen Peace treaty, the Frence had to evacuate the fort.
On 30 January 1795 Bergen op Zoom was handed over to the French without a fight. In 1814 there was an unsuccessful attempt to capture the fortress by a British force commanded by General Graham.
In 1867 the fort was abandoned and dismantled.
- 1 VVV Brabantse Wal, Kortemeestraat 19, ☏ , email@example.com. Tu 10:00-17:00. Friendly staff with extensive information about Bergen op Zoom and surroundings.
Bergen op Zoom is on the junction of highways from North to South (A4 and A17) and East to West (A58) making it easy to reach the city by car. Long time parking in the center is only possible in paid parking lots. Garages in the center are: Grote Markt and De Parade (€1.26 per hour, €9.50 full day).
NS intercity trains run from/to Roosendaal and Vlissingen. For Antwerp you need a change in Roosendaal. Intercity trains arrive and depart twice per hour. The railway station is east of the inner city and on less than 1 km walking distance from the Grote Markt.
Visiting the historical inner city is best done by foot because some streets and squares are pedestrian areas.
- Revo taxi, ☏ .
- Bike rental (Railway Station), ☏ . To rent a bike, you need valid identification. You pay a deposit ranging from €50 (for the simplest bike) to €145 (for a tandem). A brand bicycle without gears with coaster costs about €7.50 to €15 per day. This includes insurance against theft.
- 1 Gevangenpoort (Lievevrouwepoort), Lievevrouwestraat 60, ☏ . Tu-Su 13:00-16:30. The Gevangenpoort (prison gate) is the oldest monument of the city. The gate dates from the 14th century and is one of the remaining examples of gates as they were in the Middle Ages in Dutch towns. It is the only remaining city gate in Bergen op Zoom, and a national monument. €1.50.
- 2 Grote Markt. The Grote Markt is the central square of Bergen op Zoom and the oldest part of town. It's surrounded by historical buildings like the Town Hall and Hotel de Draak.
- 3 Markiezenhof, Steenbergsestraat 8, ☏ , firstname.lastname@example.org. Tu-Su 11:00-17:00. The Markiezenhof is a late Gothic palace, residence of the lords and later the marquis of Bergen op Zoom. Today it hosts exhibitions, events, and a museum on the history of the city. €8.50.
- 4 Sint-Gertrudiskerk (De Peperbus), Grote Markt 10, ☏ . Tu-Su 13:00-16:30. The oldest part of the church is the body of the tower, which dates from around 1370. The present church building, completed in 1477, was designed by Everaert Spoorwater. He designed a new choir with ambulatory, chapels and side chapels in the ship in the style of Brabant Gothic. €1.50.
- 5 Stadhuis (Town hall), Grote Markt, ☏ , email@example.com. Tu-Th Sa Su 13:00-16:30. A late Gothic building origin from 1398. Several city fires put the building to ashes. The current composite building dates from 1600.
- Make a city walk, visit the Markiezenhof museum and the Sint-Gertrudis church.
- 1 Ravelijn op den Zoom, Korneel Slootmansstraat, ☏ . The Ravelijn op den Zoom is the only part that remains of the city wall. It is an early eighteenth century fortress with underground passages. Less than 1 km walking distance from the Grote Markt, it is a perfect location for rest or a picnic.
- 2 Theater De Maagd, Grote Markt 32. This theatre in the historic heart of Bergen op Zoom owes its atmosphere with the international architecture award-winning transformation from church to theater. De Maagd offers over 100 performances per season and is a popular location for meetings and events
- The Brabantse wal (South of Bergen op Zoom just north of airport Woensdrecht). The Brabant shore is a hilly area south of Bergen op Zoom that separates the clay area of Zeeland and the sandy soils of Brabant. This creates a very diverse presence of plant and bird species. The Kraaijenberg, a beautifully situated hill, and Mattemburgh estate are located here. The estate includes a beautiful English and French garden, pond, English Tea House, coach houses and Orangery.
- Carnival. During carnival Bergen op Zoom is renamed to Krabbegat (Crab Hole). Traditionally the carnival revelers wear a scarf of lace curtain and a red handkerchief.
- Week markets - For goods visit the Thursday week market at the Kaai where merchants after 90 stalls sell all kind of products (Th 09:00-15:30, west of Grote Markt). Fresh products such as cheese, fruit, vegetables and flowers are available on the Saturday market at the St. Catherinaplein (Sa 09:00-16:00, north of Grote Markt).
For a small town with around 60,000 inhabitants Bergen op Zoom has a large variety of restaurants of generally good quality.
- 1 Athene, Fortuinstraat 18, ☏ , firstname.lastname@example.org. Greek restaurant. No menu. Speciality dishes from €14.
- 2 Streek Eet- en Drinklokaal, Steenbergsestraat 3, ☏ .
- 3 De Bloemkool, Wouwsestraatweg 146, ☏ , email@example.com. Th-Sa from 18:00, Su from 12:00, W-F lunch 12:00-14:30, M closed. De bloemkool is Dutch for The Cauliflower, maybe not an inspiring name but this cosy old restaurant (1797) serves populair dishes with a good quality-price ratio. Menu €20-32.
- 4 Hemingway (Hotel De Draak), Grote Markt 36/38, ☏ , firstname.lastname@example.org. This is the restaurant of hotel De Draak with a nice terrace on the central square Menu €45.
- 5 't Strandhuys, De Boulevard 55, ☏ , email@example.com. Tu-Su 11:30-21:00. A modern French restaurant
- 6 IJssalon Crusio, Wouwsestraat 10, ☏ , firstname.lastname@example.org. This ice cream parlour has won multiple national awards and is known, besides its ice cream made according to a secret family recipe, for specialty coffee and tea
Bergen op Zoom has no shortage of cafes and pubs. You will find several on the Grote Markt.
- 1 Biercafé 't Locomotiefke, Grote Markt 11, ☏ , email@example.com. It calls itself Curiositeitencafé (curiosity cafe). When you see the interior you'll understand why
- 2 Oosterwaal, Potterstraat 31, ☏ . A small no-nonsense pub
- 3 Zwijnshoofd, Moeregrebstraat 18, ☏ , firstname.lastname@example.org. Owned by the same family since the opening in 1880. It has a 200-seat theatre.
- 1 Old Dutch, Stationsstraat 29-31, ☏ , email@example.com. Opposite the railway station in a historic building. €79.
- 2 De Draak, Grote Markt 36, ☏ , firstname.lastname@example.org. The oldest hotel of Bergen op Zoom and maybe of the Netherlands. US$247.
- 3 De Bourgondier, Grote Markt 2-3, ☏ , email@example.com. This hotel has 13 rooms. It has a bridal suite for €125 with a view over the Grote Markt. €92.
- 4 Van Ee, Beursplein 5, ☏ , firstname.lastname@example.org. This hotel has only 6 rooms and is opposite the Markiezenhof. The €9.95 breakfast is not included. €92.
- Hotel Tulip Inn (Hotel de Schelde), Antwerpsestraat 56 4611 AK, ☏ , email@example.com. Check-in: 12:00, check-out: 11:00.
- Library Het Markiezaat, Kortemeestraat 17, ☏ .
- Lievensberg hospital, Boerhaaveplein 1, ☏ .
- Police station, Jacob Obrechtlaan, ☏ .
The international telephone country code for the Netherlands is 31, the area code for Bergen op Zoom is 0164. If dialing from abroad, use +31 but then leave out the 0 in the area code.
Free Wi-Fi spots are available in most hotels and libraries.
There are two full service post offices in the centre of town, one inside a book store and the other in a supermarket. If you're only looking for stamps, you can also get them at other book stores, the V&D department store (Stationsstraat 1) and Kruidvat (Gouvernemenstplein 29).
- Inside BLZ book store, Lievevrouwestraat 12, ☏ .
- Inside Jumbo Supermarket, Burg Van Hasseltstraat 1. M-Sa 08:00-21:00, Su 10:00-18:00. Mail is picked up for processing at 18:00 latest, so anything posted afterwards will only be processed the next day.
Bergen op Zoom is central located for a visit to the province of Zeeland with its wonderful cities like Middelburg and Zierikzee and its large sandy beaches, for a visit to Antwerp in Belgium or to go inland North Brabant to the city of Breda or to the Biesbosch National Park.
|Routes through Bergen op Zoom|
|Vlissingen ← Middelburg ←||W E||→ Roosendaal → Eindhoven|
|Antwerp ← Belgium Border ←||S N||→ END|