The city center dates as far back as 800CE and many shops, pubs, and restaurants are spread throughout the town. Middelburg is a city that is both busy and vibrant enough to always have something to offer – and quiet and small enough so that you are not constantly distracted from your studies. Middelburg is the largest city in Zeeland, well-connected by public transport to big cities like Rotterdam, Amsterdam, Utrecht, and Antwerp, and merely a half hour bike ride away from one of the many beaches in Zeeland.
In the city of Middelburg, you are surrounded by over 1 100 monumental buildings. The most notable of these monuments is the former city hall, now our main university building, but there is much more to see. What about the Abbey Square and the Lange Jan (the eleventh highest church tower in the country) the Oostkerk (one of the few circular churches ever built), or the Kuiperspoort (the most beautiful street in the city, which has been used in several Dutch movies)? There is plenty to see and do in and around Middelburg, and it is guaranteed that you will not have seen every one of its charms once you graduate.
Next to all the sights, there are also lots of options to inspire students. Take a look at one of the exhibitions the Vleeshal Center for Contemporary Art organizes. Conveniently located in the Gothic Town Hall of which the other side is reserved for classrooms, the Vleeshal is easy to reach and changes their exhibitions regularly.
For those with more musical needs, Middelburg has a pop podium called De Spot, which has many concerts and activities. Students also regularly perform during Open Mic nights, or other events. Take in a performance in the Schouwburg Middelburg or the Zeeuwse Concertzaal with their extensive offerings. For a unique experience, check out Popronde, where musicians from across the country perform in bars in Middelburg once a year.
For those with more eclectic tastes, every first Sunday of the month, artists open their doors for the Art & Culture Route, in which over 30 galleries, workplaces, and museums open their doors to everyone. There are many tours like this during the summer in Zeeland, where you can also explore the rest of the province.
With just under 400 000 inhabitants, Zeeland is the least populous of the 12 provinces of the Netherlands. It makes up for that with the many tourists who come to visit the province that has most sunshine hours and beaches in the Netherlands.
As the name suggests, Zeeland (Sea-land) borders the North Sea. With 490 kilometers of coastline and the fact that a significant part of the province is near or below sea level, Zeeland has always had an intricate relationship with the sea. So much so, that in 1953 it was one of the many parts of the Netherlands and Belgium that were affected by a major flood. The local people, called Zeeuwen, did not give up, and fought back against the water by building dikes and dunes, as well as setting up the Delta works which now protect the province from the North Sea. All of this is illustrated in the slogan Luctor Et Emergo, ‘I struggle and emerge,’ that the Zeeuwen still strongly relate to (and perhaps the students too).
Modern technology, research, and passion have gone into protecting the land from the sea. It is now up to a new generation of scientists, engineers, economists, historians, and many more to determine the future of Zeeland. For now though, the many beaches and bodies of water provide the perfect location for aquatic sports such as rowing, sailing, and surfing. In fact, the UCR Vikings participate in the annual King of the Channel competition, where students and employees of higher education institutions from the region row against each other in a dragon boat race.