Middelburg is in the capital of Zeeland. In colonial times, this was one of the most important cities in the country, and still today Middelburg is packed with monuments reminding of those golden times. A good part of the centre is still surrounded by the old, star shaped canal ring. Lined with boats and cycleways, this part of town is both attractive and typically Dutch. The centre is dominated by a large square, still regularly used as a market square and overlooked by the beautifully ornamented former town hall. Around there, you'll find a mostly pedestrianised shopping area.
Slightly further out from the centre is the shipping canal connecting Veerse Meer to Vlissingen. The train station is also located on the far side of this.
As for roads, the N57 originates here, passing four of the Delta Works dams, ending near Brielle and Rozenburg. From there, it connects further to the A15. The A58 passes Middelburg on its way from Flushing to Goes and on to the A4. There's a clearly marked exit for Middelburg.
Rotterdam is the closest airport, served mostly by discount carriers. Brussels Zaventem is the nearest large international airport (1.15h drive), and Amsterdam Schiphol is about 2 hours from Middelburg.
The centre of the city is well navigable on foot and very approachable by bike. Despite the pedestrian zones, much of the centre is accessible by car. Like in many Dutch cities, parking can be hard though and is typically paid (up to €2 per hour) , with very few options in the old centre. There are several parking garages just out of the centre, which are well indicated when approaching the city centre.
Hundreds of Middelburgs monuments were damaged or completely destroyed in WWII, but in the decades that followed, the city worked hard to rebuild its centre and restore the cultural heritage that remains. And with success, as over 1100 national monuments make Middelburg a top ten Dutch heritage site. There's a clearly historic feel to the old town, which is encircled by a pretty pattern of canals, once part of the 1595 Sea Beggars fortifications.
To see the best of town, stroll along the canals and through the old streets around the charming Market Square. There, you'll see the beautiful former City Hall, now in use by the university. Right in the city centre also stands the impressive Middelburg Abbey, built in the 12th century by Norbertine monks. The massive complex has a more or less round shape with a pretty square in the middle. It has 3 churches, 5 towers and a number of gates. The tallest abbey tower is called Lange Jan Long John, and is the most famous landmark in the Middelburg skyline. It's accessible for visitors and offers a great view over town. After the 2 year siege of Middelburg in 1572-1574, the abbey life was ended by force and the buildings were used for local and regional government. Today, the abbey complex is (among other things) home to the Zeeuws Museum.
- Zeeuws Museum, Abdij (plein) (Located in the Abbey, in the centre of town). Tue-Sun 11AM-5PM. The extensive collection of both historic and contemporary artworks and artifacts gives a great inside in Zeeland's wealthy past, the many world wide expeditions undertaken from here, historic costumes, natural treasures and of course some of the best of regional modern art. €8,50 for adults.
- Town Hall. Gorgeously decorated, the former city hall is a mixture of architectural styles. The 14th century facade on the market square is the most well-known part, and mostly Late-Gothic in design. The later, 17th century parts facing the Lange Noordstraat have a rather classical style. Considered to be one of the most beautiful single buildings in the Netherlands, the Town Hall is an important sight in the city. Locals call its tower "Malle Betje" (Crazy Beth) as its clock is always a bit behind the one on Lange Jan. In summer, 2 daily (except Friday) guided tours allow for an inside view. Tickets can be bought at the Tourist Office and tours start at 11.15AM and 3.15PM. € 4,25.
- Explore Middelburg and the Walcheren peninsula by bike: Middleburg Cycle Route
- Hire a bike and cycle along the canals and out to the town of Veere which is approximately 5 km away.
- You can climb the big church tower, called De Lange Jan - The Long John. From the top you have a magnificent view over the whole of Walcheren.
There are plenty of large and small eateries, serving to all tastes. The Market Square, Plein 1940, the Vlasmarkt and the Dam are good places to look for bars and restaurants.
- De Gouden Bock, Damplein 17, ☏ . Tue-Sat 10.30AM-3PM and 6PM-9PM. Good value for money, modern Mediterranean place that specializes in fish dishes. Mains from €21, 5 course surprise menu for €35.
- De Gespleten Arent, Vlasmarkt 25-27, ☏ . Tue-Sat 6PM-9PM. Great gourmet cuisine in a modern, bright white restaurant. Mains from €20, 3 course menu from €30.
- Desafinado, Koorkerkstraat 1, ☏ . Friendly jazz-café with a nice vibe and a good view on Lange Jan from the outdoor terrace. Serves tasty bistro dishes, also a good spot for a cheap lunch. Diner mains from €20, lunch from €7.50.
- Brasserie Panneke, Lammerensteeg 5, ☏ . Closed on Mon&Tue. Somewhat hidden away but nicely situated at a small square, this friendly little place serves tasty bistro food. Good quality for money. Mains are all under €22.
Especially on weekends, the city centre has plenty of bar activity in the evenings. The main areas are roughly the same as the ones where the restaurants are, including the Market Square and the Vlasmarkt. Popular places include café Brooklyn and Seventy Seven (Market Square), and Schuttershof on the Vlasmarkt. The last one is open later than most others, until about 4am. For real clubbing you'd have to go out of town though, and the best option then is perhaps 'De Hooizolder' in Westcapelle. A taxi there from the Plein 1940 will cost around €40.
If you like beer, De Mug on the Vlasmarkt is your best bet, as it serves a wide selection, including many Belgian brands.
There's a good selection of hotels in the city, but, as in many Dutch cities, few of them really lie in the low budget range. There's no youth hostel in town, but if you're travelling on a budget you might consider the one in nearby Vlissingen, as that's only a few km away. Alternatively, bring a tent and go camping, as several camp grounds are available in the area.
- Hotel Aan de Dam, Dam 31. Pleasant 3 star hotel in a monumental building. The interiors are in style, classical and quaint, but the rooms are nice and spacious and have all your need. From €77 for a double.
- B&B 't Poorthuys, Koepoortstraat 10. This former doctors mansion is now a friendly and charming bed&breakfast, with services including free bike rental, free wifi and an excellent breakfast. In practice it's more like a hotel, with private bathrooms for each room and a 24 hour desk. From €90 for a double.
- Hotel de Nieuwe Doelen, Loskade 3. This friendly hotel in the old centre has a lovely garden and some rooms have nice views. Although nothing special, rooms are comfortable and some have a small balcony. All in all, a pleasant and popular place, so book ahead. doubles from € 75.
- Hotel Middelburg, Bosschaartsweg 2. Family-run but rather large hotel on the outsides of town, near the major access roads. Standard but good rooms with airco and a pleasant hotel bar. A good place to use as a base to explore not only Middelburg but also the region, especially if you have your own transport. From €71,50 for a double.
- Fletcher Hotel Restaurant Middelburg, Loskade 1. This hotel was renovated in 2017. From €69 for a double room p.p.
- Mini-Camping Klein Leliendale, Leliendaalseweg 2, ☏ . Small, family-run camp site on a farm just out of town, a 10 minute bike ride from the city centre. From €19 for a large camping spot.
- Veere - a charming village with cobblestoned streets and a boat filled canal.
- Vlissingen - the large boulevard here is a sweep spot for maritime aficionados, with large ships pass by super close.
- Rotterdam - large, modern city famous for its harbour and contemporary architecture.
|Routes through Middelburg|
|Vlissingen ←||W E||→ Bergen op Zoom → Eindhoven|