Main Births etc
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Coat of arms of Zeeland
Coat of arms
Anthem: Zeeuws volkslied
Location of Zeeland in the Netherlands
Country Netherlands
Capital Middelburg
 • Queen's Commissioner Karla Peijs
 • Land 1,788 km2 (690 sq mi)
 • Water 1,146 km2 (442 sq mi)
Area rank 10th
Population (2006)
 • Land 380,186
 • Rank 11th
 • Density 210/km2 (550/sq mi)
 • Density rank 10th
ISO 3166 code NL-ZE
Religion (2005) Protestant 30%
Catholic 20%
Muslim 1.5%

Zeeland [ˈzeɪ̯.lɑnt]  ( listen), also called Zealand in English, is the westernmost province of the Netherlands. The province, located in the south-west of the country, consists of a number of islands (hence its name, meaning "sea-land") and a strip bordering Belgium. Its capital is Middelburg. With a population of about 380,000, its area is about 2930 km², of which almost 1140 km² is water.

Large parts of Zeeland are below sea level. The last great flooding of the area was in 1953. Tourism is an important economic activity. In the summer, its beaches make it a popular destination for tourists, especially German tourists. In some areas, the population can be two to four times higher during the high summer season. The coat of arms of Zeeland shows a lion half-immerged from water, and the text "luctor et emergo" (Latin for "I struggle and I emerge").[1] The Pacific nation of New Zealand is named after Zeeland.

Constituent parts[]

From north to south, it consists of

  • Schouwen-Duiveland
  • Tholen
  • Noord-Beveland
  • Walcheren, Zuid-Beveland
  • Zeeuws-Vlaanderen (Zealands Flanders)


Map of Zeeland

A list of the municipalities, with links to maps:

Municipality Population
Borsele 22,734
Goes 36,816
Hulst 27,714
Kapelle 12,386
Middelburg 48,076
Noord-Beveland 7,495
Reimerswaal 21,665
Schouwen-Duiveland 34,206
Sluis 23,983
Terneuzen 54,864
Tholen 25,459
Veere 21,953
Vlissingen 44,580


The province of Zeeland is a large river delta situated at the mouth of several major rivers. Most of the province lies below sea level and was reclaimed from the sea by inhabitants over time. What used to be a muddy landscape, flooding at high tide and reappearing at low tide, became a series of small man-made hills that stayed dry at all times. The people of the province would later connect the hills by creating dikes, which led to a chain of dry land that later grew into bigger islands and gave the province its current shape. The shape of the islands has changed over time at the hands of both man and nature.

The North Sea flood of 1953 inundated vast amounts of land that were only partially reclaimed. The subsequent construction of the Delta Works also changed the face of the province. The infrastructure, although very distinct by the amount of bridges, tunnels and dams, has not shaped the geography of the province so much as the geography of the province has shaped its infrastructure. The dams, tunnels and bridges that are currently a vital part of the province's road system were constructed over the span of decades and came to replace old ferry lines. The final touch to this process came in 2003 when the Western Scheldt Tunnel was opened. It was the first solid connection between both banks of the Westerschelde and ended the era of water separating the islands and peninsulas of Zeeland.


County of Zeeland
Graafschap Zeeland
State of the Holy Roman Empire
County of Holland
County of Flanders
Coordinates : 51°34′N 3°45′E / 51.567, 3.75
Capital Middelburg
Government Monarchy
Historical era Middle Ages
 -  Personal union with
   County of Hainaut and Holland
1299 1299
 -  Joined Burgundian
 -  Habsburg Seventeen
 -  Foundation of
   United Provinces
26 July 1581 1581

Altar for Nehalennia in Domburg, Zeeland, the Netherlands.

Nehalennia is a goddess of the ancient religion known around the province of Zeeland. Her worship dates back at least to the 2nd century BC,[2] and flourished in the 2nd and 3rd centuries AD.[2] She was possibly a regional goddess, either Celtic or pre-Germanic – sources differ on the culture that first worshipped her. During the Roman Era, her main function appeared to be the protection of travelers, especially seagoing travelers crossing the North Sea. Most of what is known about her comes from the remains of over 160 carved stone offerings (votives) which have been dredged up from the Oosterschelde since 1970. Two more Nehalennia offering stones have also been found in Cologne, Germany.[2]

Zeeland was a contested area between the counts of Holland and Flanders until 1299, when the last count of Holland died, the Counts of Hainaut gained control of the countship of Zeeland. Followed by the counts of Bavaria, Burgundy and Habsburg. After 1585 Zeeland followed, as one of the 7 independent provinces, the fate of the Northern part of The Netherlands.

In 1432 it became part of the Low Countries possessions of Philip the Good of Burgundy, the later Seventeen Provinces. Through marriage, the Seventeen Provinces became property of the Habsburgs in 1477. In the Eighty Years' War, Zeeland was on the side of the Union of Utrecht, and became one of the United Provinces. The area now called Zeeuws-Vlaanderen was not part of Zeeland, but a part of the countship of Flanders (still under Habsburg) that was conquered by the United Provinces, hence called Staats-Vlaanderen (see: Generality Lands). After the French occupation (see département Bouches-de-l'Escaut) and the formation of the United Kingdom of the Netherlands in 1815, the present province Zeeland was formed. During the Second World War, Zeeland was occupied by German forces between June 1940 and November 1944.[1] In 1944, Zeeland was devastated by the Battle of the Scheldt and the Walcheren Landings between British and Canadian forces, and the occupying Germans.[3] The catastrophic North Sea Flood of 1953, which killed over 1,800 people in Zeeland, led to the construction of the protective Delta Works.


There is one passenger railway, here with municipalities and official station abbreviations:

Vlissingen (vs, vss) – Middelburg (mdb, arn) – Goes (gs) – Kapelle (bzl) – Reimerswaal (krg, kbd, rb) – connecting to Bergen op Zoom (bgn) (Noord-Brabant).

Bus connections (of Connexxion, except # 395) include:

  • bus 133: Vlissingen – Middelburg – VrouwenpolderOosterscheldedamRenesseZierikzeeGrevelingendam – connecting to Oude-Tonge, Rotterdam-Zuidplein
  • Interliner Express bus 395: Zierikzee – (Grevelingendam) – connecting to Rotterdam-Zuidplein
  • bus 104: Renesse – Brouwersdam – connecting to OuddorpSpijkenisse
  • bus 20 and 50: see Westerschelde.

Zeeland in foreign names[]

New Zealand[]

The islands of New Zealand were discovered by Dutch navigator Abel Tasman in 1642, although he did not land on New Zealand. Tasman named it Staten Landt, believing it to be part of the land of that name off the coast of Argentina. When that was shown not to be so, Dutch authorities named it Nova Zeelandia in Latin, Nieuw Zeeland in Dutch. The two major seafaring provinces of the Netherlands in its Golden Age were Holland and Zeeland, and originally the Dutch explorers named the largest landmass of Oceania and the two islands to the southeast respectively Nieuw Holland and Nieuw Zeeland. The former was eventually replaced by the name Australia, but the name New Zealand remained in place for the latter. Captain James Cook of Britain subsequently called the archipelago New Zealand and soon after, British settlers arrived in New Zealand and English became the main language.

North America[]

The city of Zeeland in the US state of Michigan was settled in 1847 by Dutchman Jannes van de Luyster and was incorporated in 1907. The city still maintains a distinctive Dutch flavour. Flushing, a neighborhood within the borough of Queens, New York, is named after the city Flushing (Vlissingen in Dutch) in Zeeland. This dates from the period of the colony of New Netherland, when New York was still known as New Amsterdam. The Dutch colonies of Nieuw Walcheren and Nieuw Vlissingen, both on the Antillian island of Tobago, were both named after parts of Zeeland. The Canadian town of Zealand, New Brunswick, was named for the Zeeland birth place of Dutchman Philip Crouse who settled in the area in 1789.[4]


Paramaribo, the capital and largest city of Suriname, has a Fort Zeelandia, the former Fort Willoughby during the British colonization.


DrentheFlevolandFrieslandGelderlandGroningenLimburgNorth BrabantNorth HollandOverijsselSouth HollandUtrechtZeeland
About this image

Map of the Netherlands, linking to the province pages; the red dots mark the capitals of the provinces and the black dots other notable cities or towns

Fort Zeelandia was a fortress built over ten years from 1624–1634 by the Dutch East India Company, in the town of Anping (Tainan) on the island of Formosa, present day Taiwan, during their 38-year rule over the western part of it.

See also[]

  • List of cities, towns and villages in Zeeland


  1. ^ a b DeWaard, Dirk Marc (1983). Luctor et Emergo: The impact of the Second World War on Zeeland (M.A. thesis) Wilfrid Laurier University
  2. ^ a b c Lendering, 2006.
  3. ^
  4. ^ "Zealand, New Brunswick, Canada". University Educational Series, Fredericton, New Brunswick, Canada. Retrieved 2008-04-01. 

External links[]

Coordinates: 51°34′N 3°45′E / 51.567, 3.75

This page uses content from the English language Wikipedia. The original content was at Zeeland. 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.