Middelburg (Dutch: [ˈmɪdəlˌbɵrx] ( listen)) is a
city and municipality in the south-western
Netherlands serving as the
capital of the province of Zeeland. Situated on the central peninsula
Zeeland province, Midden-
Zeeland (consisting of former islands
Noord-Beveland and Zuid-Beveland), it has a population of
In terms of technology,
Middelburg played a seminal role in the
Scientific Revolution at the early modern period. The city was
historically a leading center of lens crafting in the Golden Age of
Dutch science and technology. The invention of the microscope and
telescope are often credited to
Middelburg spectacle-makers (including
Zacharias Jansen and Hans Lippershey) in the late 16th century and
early 17th century.
2 Notable locals
5 Culture and recreation
5.1 Cultural institutions
5.2 Theaters and concerthalls
7 Twin cities
8 In popular culture
10 External links
Middelburg in 1652
Middelburg's city hall around 1910
The city of
Middelburg dates back possibly to the late 8th century or
early 9th century. The first mention of
Middelburg was as one of three
fortified towns (borgs) erected on
Walcheren (then an island) to guard
Viking raids. In 844 a monastery was built on the site, which
remained an active Catholic foundation until the Reformation.
Foundations for Middelburg's "stately and picturesque" cathedral (one
of only two pre-Reformation cathedrals in The Netherlands, along with
St. Martin's in Utrecht) were first laid in the 10th century;
additional construction continued through the Middle Ages.
Middelburg was granted city rights in 1217. During the Middle Ages, it
became an important trading centre in the commerce between England and
the rising cities of Flanders. The town continued to gain in power and
prestige during the 13th and 14th centuries.
From 1559.05.12 to 1603,
Middelburg was the episcopal see of a
Catholic bishopric covering all Zeeland. In the Eighty Years' War,
Middelburg was captured from the Spanish forces during a long siege.
The northern provinces of the original Low Countries won their
independence from their former Spanish Habsburg rulers and formed The
Netherlands, a Protestant state. Later, in the 17th century (the Dutch
Middelburg became, after Holland's metropolis Amsterdam,
the most important center for the East India Company of Republic of
the Seven United
Netherlands (VOC) or Dutch East India Company.
Middelburg played an important role in the 17th century slave trade.
Samuel Ben Israel, son of Menasseh Ben Israel, is buried in Middelburg
at the Sephardic burial site located at the 'Jodengang' outside the
Menasseh Ben Israel
Menasseh Ben Israel negotiated with Cromwell the opening of
England, and their colonies, to the Jews.
Middelburg also has an
Ashkenazic burial site, which is located at the Walensingel inside the
city wall. In 1994 the synagogue was restored, as it was partially
destroyed during the Second World War. This synagogue was the third
one to be built in the
Netherlands during the Golden Age. In the hall
of the railway station there is a plaque of remembrance for the Jews
Zeeland who started their journey to the death camps from the
Middelburg train station.
About a third of the old city centre was devastated by bombs and fire
in the early phases of World War II, on May 17, 1940, it is still not
sure whether it were German bombers or French artillery. The town
was captured and liberated by British troops during Operation
Infatuate on 5 November 1944. After the War, as much of the destroyed
part of the old town center was rebuilt and restored along pre-War
lines as possible. The city's archives, however, had been incinerated
during the German bombardment.
Middelburg has preserved and regained much of its historic and
picturesque character. There are lavish 17th and 18th century merchant
houses and storehouses standing along canals, of a similar style as
found in cities like Amsterdam. The old city moats are still there, as
are two of the city gates, the Koepoort Gate and the varkenspoort
Gate. Part of the 18th century moat and defence works, however, were
demolished in the 19th century to make way for a commercial canal that
Vlissingen to Veere. The medieval abbey is
still in use today, as a museum and as the seat of the provincial
Source: Lourens & Lucassen 1997, pp. 93–94
The painter Pieter Gaal, (1769–1819) was born and, after traveling
over Europe to paint, settled and died here.
Another well-known citizen of
Middelburg was the admiral and explorer
Jacob Roggeveen, who was born in the city in 1659 and died there in
1729. Roggeveen discovered
Easter Island (Rapa Nui) in the South
Pacific Ocean on Easter Sunday, April 6, 1722. Further discoveries on
the same journey included islands of the
Tuamotu group, now part of
Topographic map of Middelburg, as of September 2014
Aside from the city of Middelburg, the municipality also includes
several population centres, including: Arnemuiden, Kleverskerke,
Nieuw- en Sint Joosland
Nieuw- en Sint Joosland and Sint Laurens.
Former city hall
View at the Lange Jan from the station
The Londense Kaai
Near towngate, the Kuiperspoort
Molen de Hoop
Culture and recreation
When William of Orange decided to found the first university in the
Netherlands in 1575, he initially considered locating it in
Middelburg. Ultimately he chose Leiden, however, and Middelburg—as
well as all of Zeeland—remained without a university until 2004 when
University College Roosevelt
University College Roosevelt (formerly known as Roosevelt Academy),
Utrecht University, was established.
SBKM De Vleeshal
Centrum Beeldende Kunst
Theaters and concerthalls
UCR Stand up comedy theatre
The "Lange Jan"
Middelburg has a field hockey club, MMHC, a rugby club, Oemoemenoe,
and four football (soccer) clubs: MZVC, Zeelandia Middelburg, Jong
Ambon and FC Dauwendaele. Jong Ambon is translated Young Ambon, and
consists of mostly Ambonese players. FC
Dauwendaele is the main club
Middelburg railway station.
Middelburg railway station
Middelburg has a railway station with intercity train connections to
Vlissingen, Goes, Roosendaal, Rotterdam, The Hague, Leiden, Schiphol
International Airport, Amsterdam, and Almere, among others. Two trains
leave every hour in both directions.
Folkestone, United Kingdom
In popular culture
In Rafael Sabatini's 1929 novel "The Romantic Prince", set in the late
Middelburg is the home town of Mister Danvelt and his son
Philip. The Danvelt home is a beautiful, gabled house on the Lange
Delft, not far from Middelburg's imposing abbey. Philip Danvelt
inherits the house and lives there with his wife Johanna when he is
arrested by Lord Claude de Rhynsault.
^ "Collegeleden" [Members of the board] (in Dutch). Gemeente
Middelburg. Retrieved 4 December 2013.
^ "Kerncijfers wijken en buurten" [Key figures for neighbourhoods].
CBS Statline (in Dutch). CBS. 2 July 2013. Retrieved 12 March
^ "Postcodetool for 4331BK". Actueel Hoogtebestand Nederland (in
Dutch). Het Waterschapshuis. Archived from the original on 21
September 2013. Retrieved 4 December 2013.
^ "Bevolkingsontwikkeling; regio per maand" [Population growth;
regions per month]. CBS Statline (in Dutch). CBS. 27 October 2017.
Retrieved 27 October 2017.
^ "Middelburg". War over Holland. Retrieved 30 April 2016.
^ Zeeuws Archief
^ p166-178 of the House of Stratus edition, ch. 4. The Romantic
Prince, Rafael Sabatini, 2001
Lourens, Piet; Lucassen, Jan (1997). Inwonertallen van Nederlandse
steden ca. 1300–1800. Amsterdam: NEHA. ISBN 9057420082.
Wikimedia Commons has media related to Middelburg.
Middelburg travel guide from Wikivoyage
Official city website (in Dutch with a limited English section)
Places adjacent to Middelburg
Veerse Meer / Noord-Beveland
Municipalities of Zeeland
Capital cities of the Kingdom of the Netherlands
National capital: Amsterdam
Seat of government: The Hague
Philipsburg, Sint Maarten
's-Hertogenbosch, North Brabant
Haarlem, North Holland
The Hague, South Holland
The Bottom, Saba
Oranjestad, Sint Eustatius
See also: List of cities in the
Netherlands by province