"Bergen op Zoom, where hills meet the sea" Bergen op Zoom by vtveen

Bergen op Zoom Travel Guide: 67 reviews and 241 photos

Bergen op Zoom means something like ‘hills on the border of marshes’. These hills belong to the so called ‘Brabantse Wal’, a ridge on the border of the provinces of North-Brabant and Zeeland. These sandy hills with a height till 20 metres above sea level stretch from the Belgian border till the village of Steenbergen in the north.
Bergen op Zoom is situated in the middle of this area and even in the city itself one can see the softly rolling hills; for instance the Hoogstraat is climbing from the central square to the top of a hill.

Old city

Bergen op Zoom is an old city, which became its city rights between 1198 and 1212. It prospered in the 15th century as a trade centre, its fairs being visited by English merchants who enjoyed special privileges and was a major commercial rival of Antwerp until the 16th century, when a new delta system from the Eastern Scheldt cut the city off from neighbouring countries.
The town was repeatedly besieged by the Spanish and French in the wars from the 16th to the 18th century; it was held against the English until the fall of Napoleon in 1814. The fortifications were dismantled in 1867. The town again was occupied by the Germans during World War II.

Being such an old city with a rich past the centre offers more than 800 heritage sites and over 200 are listed buildings. Especially the Grote Markt (Market Square) is lined with beautiful historical buildings. The oldest heritage building – Lievevrouwepoort (Out Lady’s Gate) – is a stone’s throw away. Remnants of the city fortifications can be seen at the Ravelijn op den Zoom.

Surroundings

Bergen op Zoom is located between hills and the sea and offers quite a lot of leisure opportunities on the water of the Easter Scheldt and further away the Delta works and North Sea beaches of Zeeland. The hills around the city with their natural beauty are made for hiking and biking.
Located along a motorway and having a railway station it is also easy to visit cities like Antwerp or Rotterdam, either by car or train.

Pros and Cons
  • Cons:rather limited opening hours of the sights
  • In a nutshell:pleasant and quiet for at least a couple of days
  • Last visit to Bergen op Zoom: Jun 2010
  • Intro Updated Jun 25, 2012
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vtveen

“"The beauty lies in the travelling, not in the destination" (The Convent Inn, Val Marie SK, Canada)”

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