Tholen, Netherlands


Tholen is a city on the island of Tholen, in the municipality of Tholen, in the east of the Dutch province of Zeeland. It is located on the west side of the Scheldt-Rhine Canal, which forms the border with the province of Noord-Brabant.

Tholen was an independent municipality until 1971 and had 8,050 inhabitants on January 1, 2020. The place was created in the 13th century at a toll at the Eendracht and acquired city rights in 1366. The city is called Tholen because a toll could be levied.



Initially there was a toll at Schakerloo for shipping on the Striene. Count Willem I had a toll built on the dyke of the Fifteen Hundred Measured Polder for shipping on the Eendracht, which took over the role of waterway. A settlement arose around it, which in 1290 was itself free of tolls. This developed into the town of Tholen, which was granted city rights around 1366. Fishing and salt works were the main sources of livelihood here.

In 1452 the city was ravaged by a large city fire. In the 16th century, Tholen was confronted with various floods. In the last decades of the 16th century there were religious disputes. Around 1577, the city of Tholen proceeded to the Reformation and came under State authority. In the meantime, the Eighty Years' War had broken out. From 1603, the city was fortified with walls and bastions, and the city became part of the Line of the Eendracht, aimed against Spain. The fortress also served in later wars, but it was closed in 1814. In 1825 the old harbor was filled in and a new harbor was built. A new fishing port was opened in 1908.

In 1928 a bridge over the Eendracht was put into use to replace the ferry service. In the 70s of the 20th century, the Scheldt-Rhine connection was constructed by the Eendracht. A new, higher bridge was constructed over this in 1971.



Tholen has a historic city center, which is still largely surrounded by walls and vests. The city center is also partly bordered by a harbor. The area within the fortresses has been a protected cityscape since 1991, making it one of the protected city and village views in Zeeland. Furthermore, the city has dozens of national monuments.

The cityscape is dominated by the Grote or Onze-Lieve-Vrouwekerk, a cross basilica in the Brabantine Gothic style, possibly designed by Everaert Spoorwater, a Brussels master builder who was often involved in the construction of churches in this style in the Netherlands. Construction of the church started in about 1404. On the site of the current nave, the church had a predecessor of unknown construction date that was demolished around 1360. The tower is 49 meters high and the base is a pure square of 8.50 meters. The radiating chapels of the choir have never been finished, but the foundations have been laid and a wall extension is visible on the outside of the north choir. A striking detail: the outer columns of the choir church were therefore once built as inner columns.
A striking building is the former town hall of Tholen from the 15th century, which was designed by members of the famous Keldermans family of architects. In this town hall hangs the oldest carillon clock in the Netherlands, also from the 15th century.
The cityscape is further determined by two windmills within the city center, De Hoop, which is built on one of the walls, and the De Verwachting windmill, which was completely restored in 2009.
A historic building is also the rebuilt Gasthuiskapel.
On the Markt is the Roman Catholic Church of Our Lady of the Assumption from the early 20th century.
There are a number of interesting houses in the historic city center. One of the oldest is De Twee Stoven at Stoofstraat 5-7, built in 1622. Also at Markt, Kerkstraat, Bakstraat, Brugstraat and Hoogstraat are some old houses, which sometimes have a stepped gable.
A former salt shack is located at Contre Escarpe 1. Salt was extracted here until 1901.
The ramparts of Tholen