Vlissingen; Home to the mighty Damen Schelde Naval Yard and Amels Super Yachts.
Whilst Amels have produced some of the most beautiful and well-constructed yachts in the world, I found myself wanting a piece of beauty of my own. So I set out on a quest to discover the beautiful side to Vlissingen. Here are my thoughts on living in Vlissingen.
The History of Vlissingen:
Vlissingen is a town full of history. It dates back to 620AD where there is evidence that the area was settled by a fishing community. Fast forward 1000 years, it was the third most important port in the Netherlands, more recently it employed 5000 people in a single shipyard. The yard has gone, nowadays it has became a tourist magnet for German, Belgian and English tourists.
Over the centuries Vlissingen (or Flushing in English) became a popular hub for fishing and during the Dutch Golden Age the Dutch East India Trading Company called Vlissingen home after Middelburg’s waterway got too sandy. In addition to this, Vlissingen was home port to many vessels that set sail for the many out posts of the Dutch colonial empire.
Over the years, from the middle ages right through to WWII, Vlissingen was subject to a bit of romping and stomping all of it due to it’s strategic position between the estuary of the Schelde river (an important passage to Antwerp) and the North Sea. The town has been invaded, oppressed and bombarded many times, it has attracted attention from the British, the French, the Germans and the Spanish. It also flooded twice in the last century, in 1953 for the last time to a level of about 2 meters due to spring-tide combined with an 12 beau-fort gale. For more information on the history of Flushing visit here: Vlissingen
Vlissignen has a large clean beach; it starts in the town centre and is great for a free day out. It reminded me a little of an English seaside town past its heyday, I tend to go a little further from the town into the sand dunes towards Kouderkerke, as there seems to be less people. The beach is also one of the few beaches in the Netherlands facing south, so it is relatively sunny.
Rent a Bike:
Bicycles are very popular in Holland because it is almost completely flat. Around Vlissingen some great routes can be followed, for instance to Middelburg or through the dunes, Rent a bike for at Halfords from $7.50 per day, you can find them in the town centre near the Albert Hein, on Walstraat 148, phone +31 118 419 351.
The Train Station:
Is located outside the city centre as it was originally constructed to serve the ports. Across from the station you will find the Ferry terminal that can take you across the water to the most southern coastal part of the Netherlands. From the station the walk into town is especially nice around the seafront, in which case it will take about 30 min. Busses, taxis and in summer the Solar Train are available to take you into town. Here is the website for trains in the Netherlands, you can set it to English http://www.ns.nl
Here is the link for the ferry service, which runs between Vlissingen and Breskens and tranports pedestrians and cyclists only. This website of the time-tabels unfortunately is only in Dutch, but it is possible to muddle through with the help of Google translator : www.bresjes.nl/veerdiensten/bv.html
This site covers all public transport which includes the ferry http://9292.nl/en/
Shopping for groceries in Vlissingen is satisfactory, it has everything you need with a variety of department stores, supermarkets and smaller fresh produce shops in the town centre. If you are looking for clothes or luxury items, I would suggest going to Middelburg 6 kilometers away, so half an hour by bike for us and 10 minutes for the locals (man they go fast…) or a few minutes by car.
Vlissingen is an international town with thousands of foreign visitors each year, because of this I found most people speaking fluent English and German with a bit of French thrown in for good measure. The people here are friendly and helpful.
Restaurants and Bars: There are too many to mention, but that is a good thing. Just walk into Bellamy Park, the Arsenal, or anywhere around the port and you will find something to your liking.
Out and About:
Vlissingen is a hive of activity; It has it all, from the movie cinema, to bars, cafes, restaurants, not to mention the carnivals and music that is constantly playing in Bellamy Park. Some people that live in Middleburg and other places in Holland think that Vlissingen is full of roughed up sailors and fishermen; to some extent I suppose they are right, but I find Vlissingen to be a “diamond in the rough” all it needs is a little polish for it to truly sparkle again.
Amels: Master Dutch shipbuilders since 1918.
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Thank you for reading my article on Living in Vlissingen, I hope you enjoyed it.
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