Middelburg is the historic capital of the coastal Zeeland province in the south-west of the Netherlands.
It can be reached by road or rail from Amsterdam and the 200km journey takes around 2 1/2 hours. Zeeland is renowned for having excellent beaches and the best climate of the country. Middelburg makes a great base to explore the surrounding area.
The “medieval” centre of Middelburg is a short walk across the bridge from the NS train station.
Things To Do/See in Middelburg
Abbey Tower of Long John (Abdijtoren de Lange Jan) – The 90m high Long John church tower can be climbed by 207 steps (no lift!). Entry is €4 and the tower is normally open daily between April and November. It’s a great place to get a perspective on the city. The surrounding Abbey complex actually contains 3 churches.
Zeeuws Museum – This museum houses a mixed collection of Zeeland heritage items, from Roman artefacts and archaeological finds to paintings and traditional costumes. The highlight is a room with the 6 Zeeland tapestries commissioned over 500 years ago – and depicting naval battles during the Eighty Year War against Spain.
The museum is located in the Abbey Square and entry is €12.50 (children 0-18 and Museumkaart holders get free entry). Opening hours are 1100-1700 Tue-Sun, closed Mondays.
Markt / Stadhuis – Walk down Nieuwe Berg and you come to the large market square and the impressive Gothic style Stadhuis (town hall). There is a mixed market here every Thursday and a fruit/veg market on Saturdays.
The Stadhuis is one of the most striking buildings in the country – originally built in the 15th century, it was heavily damaged by German bombing in 1940 – but was renovated to its past glory after the war.
Canal Boat Trip – You can do a rondvaart open-top boat trip around Middelburg which costs €8, children 2-11 €4.50. Operates April to November, from Achter de Houttuinen at the western end of town near the Kloveniersdoelen recital hall.
There is also a daily boat trip (May to September) from Loskade te Middelburg (near the station) to the Verse Meer which takes 3 hours – tickets cost €15.95, children 4-11 €10.25.
Area Around Middelburg
Veere – This small picturesque maritime town 8km north of Middelburg is worth a visit. Located on the shore of the Verse Meer, a large inland lagoon.
Beaches – Head north-west out of Middelburg to the excellent beaches nearby at Domburg (14km away) and Westkapelle (21km) – easily reached by bus 53 or by bicycle.
Another great location for a beach holiday is across the water in Zeeuws-Vlaanderen which has many caravan/chalet parks.
Like the island of Texel, it is very popular with Dutch and Germans but is little known to other international visitors – despite its proximity to Bruges in Belgium. This region can be reached by road tunnel or taking the train to the port of Vlissingen and then hopping on the short ferry to Breskens.
Getting There: Amsterdam to Middelburg
The train trip from Amsterdam Central to Middelburg costs €27.90 (2nd class) or €46.59 (1st class) each way – 2022 prices. There is a €1 surcharge for disposable tickets.
The Intercity train runs up to half-hourly (direction Vlissingen, travels via Haarlem, Leiden, Den Haag HS, Delft, Rotterdam, Dordrecht, Roosendaal and Bergen op Zoom). The journey time is around 2 hours 45 minutes.
If making a return trip then consider the Holland Travel Ticket which is valid for 1 day on all public transport in the country including trains (2nd class), buses, trams and metro. It costs €64 for anytime use or €44 for use outside the 0630-0900 rush hour.
This article was originally published in 2010. Last updated 4 February 2022.