Cities in the Netherlands

North Sea Region I | North Sea Region II

North Sea Region I

North Sea towns evolved from fishing villages to beach resorts
Locations shifted over the ages because of changing coastline

by Tjeerd W. Hulstra

The North Sea mainland coast in summer often appears to be one long resort. If one gets down to the beach from the boulevard in one of the many resort towns and villages, that impression certainly rings true, with all the sounds, sights, smell and hustle and bustle. In between these pockets of summertime activity - or inactivity as from scores of people in chairs or on beach towels - there are even longer stretches of serenity however, of wide vistas, of tranquil nature and the possibility to reflect on the impressive surroundings. With on one side the waves and on the other the dunes, and the famed Dutch sky above, it takes little imagination to feel that nothing has changed much in the past millennium. Except for the fact that the beach has become a refuge from a busy and crowded life inland, while before it might have been a refuge from a day at sea.

North Sea Region II

Zeeland's provincial motto — I Struggle and Emerge — also applies to resilience of border towns

Dynamic Delta of the Dutch Great Rivers an area in constant transition

'Luctor et Emergo'. The Latin motto of the province of Zeeland translates as 'I struggle and emerge' and strongly alludes — as does the provincial crest even more dramatically — to the region's struggle with the sea and the continually shifting Delta. In the crest, the lion rises from the water, just as many villages and towns in the Delta region often have done through the ages, the last time in 1953 and the disastrous February Flood. The struggle was not limited to the islands in the province and those of the neighbouring province of Zuid-Holland.

'Luctor et Emergo' also applies to the coastal and border towns and villages in the area called 'Zeeuws-Vlaanderen,' the territorial 'peninsula' bordering Belgium. There, many communities struggled through — and emerged from — times of war and shifting alliances. What follows is a short history as well of shifting times and landscape in a dynamic corner of the Netherlands.