Middelburg, The Netherlands
Dating back to the eighth century, Middelburg is an attractive Dutch town with a large shopping district and cobblestoned historic city center. On any given day, you’re likely to find independent book fairs and local fruit and vegetable stands co-existing alongside brand-name department stores in the highly popular pedestrian zone. Filled with cafés and situated an easy distance from most docking locations, Middelburg is a great port of call for hard-core explorers and casual tourists alike.
What We Love
The Pedestrian Zone: Wrapping around the town center like a ring, Middelburg's pedestrian zone is lined with myriad cafés and shops of all sorts, from fast-fashion retailers to high-end boutiques.
Café Culture: You may think you’ve left The Netherlands and somehow ended up in Paris as you pass by Middelburg's many cafés. Our favorite? De Drukkerij — a massive bookstore-café with hundreds of titles and dozens of different drinks, located at Markt 51.
Best Known For
Delta Works: Considered one of the Seven Wonders of the Modern World by the American Society of Civil Engineers, Delta Works is the ambitious network of dams and flood barriers that are carefully controlled to keep the sea from flooding The Netherlands. Middelburg isn’t far from the Oosterscheldekering, the largest of the networks' 13 dams. The visitors center here is a popular destination for tourists, and includes the opportunity to walk out on the actual dam itself.
Town Hall: This ornate Gothic building, located in the Markt, dates to the 15th century and features 22 doors and windows, 24 tiny dormer windows in its roof, 25 statues, and a lofty belfry — making it a feast for the eyes.
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Who It's Best For
Technology Buffs and History Lovers. Middelburg is filled with historic sites, while the nearby Delta Works provides a glimpse into the modern-day engineering talents of the Dutch.
Don't Say We Didn't Warn You
Watch Out for Bicycles: As in Amsterdam, cyclists are fast and plentiful here. You’re far more likely to be struck by a cyclist than a car, so make sure you pay attention to the numerous designated bike paths that line the city's streets and encircle its main square.
Aaron Saunders is a Calgary-based contributor to ShermansCruise.com.