Main Births etc
Bergen op Zoom
—  Municipality  —
Flag of Bergen op Zoom
Coat of arms of Bergen op Zoom
Coat of arms
Coordinates: 51°30′N 4°18′E / 51.5, 4.3
Country Netherlands
Province North Brabant
 • Total 93.13 km2 (35.96 sq mi)
 • Land 80.76 km2 (31.18 sq mi)
 • Water 12.38 km2 (4.78 sq mi)
Population (1 January 2007)
 • Total 65,454
 • Density 810/km2 (2,100/sq mi)
  Source: CBS, Statline.
Time zone CET (UTC+1)
 • Summer (DST) CEST (UTC+2)

Coordinates: 51°30′N 4°18′E / 51.5, 4.3

Bergen op Zoom is a municipality and a city located in the south of the Netherlands.


Bergen op Zoom in 1649. Note marshes (left, top right), canalized diversion of the Scheldt and extensive fortifications.

Bergen op Zoom was granted city status probably in 1212. In 1287 the city and its surroundings became a lordship as it was separated from the lordship of Breda. The lordship was elevated to a margraviate in 1559. Several families ruled Bergen op Zoom in succession until 1795, although the title was only nominal since at least the seventeenth century.

During the early modern period, Bergen op Zoom was a very strong fortress and one of the main armories and arsenals of the United Provinces. It had a remarkable natural defensive site, surrounded as it was by marshes and easily-floodable polders. Furthermore, it could receive reinforcements and supplies by sea, if the besieging army did not have a fleet to blockade its port.

Due to these features, the city was one of the strategic points held by the Dutch during their revolt in the Eighty Years War. It was at that time besieged by Alessandro Farnese first in 1587, and by Ambrosio Spinola a second time in 1622. Both sieges were unsuccessful and Bergen op Zoom got the nickname La Pucelle or The Virgin as it was never sieged successfully.

In 1747, during the War of the Austrian Succession, the French army laid siege to it again. At that time, Bergen op Zoom had fortifications built in the beginning of the 17th Century by Menno van Coehoorn, with three forts surrounding the city and a canalized diversion of the Scheldt acting as a ditch around its walls. However, it had no second line of fortifications, nor any fortress. After seventy days of siege, the city was taken and thoroughly sacked; the garrison was slaughtered.

Population centres[]

  • Bergen op Zoom (population: 65,691, July 2006)
    • Heimolen
    • Halsteren (11,410)
    • Lepelstraat (2,070)
    • Kladde

The city of Bergen op Zoom[]

Gevangenpoort, the oldest monument in Bergen op Zoom

Grote Markt


The Markiezenhof Palace, built in the fifteenth and sixteenth centuries, houses a cultural centre and a museum with a picturesque courtyard, paintings, period rooms, and temporary exhibitions.

SABIC Innovative Plastics operates a major manufacturing facility in Bergen op Zoom.

Another major plant/employer in the city is Philip Morris.


  • Bergen op Zoom railway station

Artists in Bergen op Zoom[]

Bergen op Zoom has always housed many artists. Some of them are, in chronological order:

  • Jacob Obrecht (1457–1505, composer),
  • Desiderius Erasmus (1466–1536, humanist, philosopher, author),
  • Lowijs Porquin (1511–1573, author),
  • Abel Grimmer (1570–1619, artist),
  • Samuel de Swaef (1597–1636, printer, writer),
  • Gerrit Houckgeest (1600–1661, painter),
  • Marcus Zuerius Boxhorn (1612–1653, historian, author),
  • Bernardus Bosch (1746–1803, politician, publisher, author),
  • Lodewijk van Deijssel (1864–1952, critic, novelist),
  • Margo Scharten-Antink (1868–1957, novelist),
  • Willem van Dort (1875–1922, painter),
  • A. M. de Jong (1888–1943, politician, novelist),
  • Anton van Duinkerken (1903–1968, poet, critic)

International relations[]

Twin towns — sister cities[]

Bergen op Zoom is twinned with:

See also[]

Further reading[]

  • A Ballad on the Taking of Bergen-Op Zoom. London: M. Cooper, 1747.
  • Merck toch hoe sterck. The anthem of the city: A. Valerius, 1626.
  • Bot, Marie-Louise, and Gouke J. Bonsel. The Bergen Op Zoom-Quality of Life Survey: A Dutch Contribution to the Collaborative Study of the European Common Core Group. Rotterdam: Dept. of Public Health and Social Medicine/Institute for Medical Technology Assessment, Erasmus University Rotterdam, 1989. ISBN 90-72245-45-8
  • Edler, Florence. Attendance at the Fairs of Bergen-Op-Zoom 1538-1544. Bergen op Zoom: [s.n.], 1936.
  • Smyth, James Carmichael. Plans of the Attacks Upon Antwerp, Bergen-Op-Zoom, Cambray, Peronne, Maubeuge, Landrecy, Marienbourg, Philippeville and Rocroy, By the British and Prussian Armies in the Campaigns of 1814 and of 1815. 1817.
  • 1939-1945 The War Dead of the Commonwealth: The Register of the Names of Those Who Fell and Are Buried in Cemeteries in the Netherlands : Bergen Op Zoom Canadian War Cemetery. Maidenhead: Commonwealth War Graves Commission, 1994.

External links[]

This page uses content from the English language Wikipedia. The original content was at Bergen op Zoom. The list of authors can be seen in the page history. As with this Familypedia wiki, the content of Wikipedia is available under the Creative Commons License.