Zierikzee, Netherlands


Zierikzee (Zeeuws: Zurrikzeê) is a city in the municipality of Schouwen-Duiveland in the Dutch province of Zeeland. The city has 11,460 inhabitants (January 1, 2020) and is the capital and largest town of the municipality.



The name of Zierikzee can be traced back to a composition of the personal name 'Siric' and the Old Dutch 'aa' or 'aha' which means 'water'. Siric or Sigiric is an old Germanic name, and a compound of the two parts 'sigi' (victory or victory) and 'ric' (rich, many). When the genitive -s in 'Sirics Ee' ("the Ee of Siric") was no longer recognized as such, the last part was interpreted as 'See' instead of Ee (or Aa), leading to the current spelling with - z.



In 976 Zierikzee appears under the name Creka (creek) in a charter in which the Saint Bavo Abbey is confirmed by Emperor Otto II in its possessions. The name Zierikzee first appears, as Siricasha, in a charter from 1156.

In 1248 the city rights of Zierikzee were confirmed and expanded by Count Willem II of Holland. The first city rights were granted between 1217 and 1220, but the exact date is unknown. At the end of the Middle Ages, Zierikzee was a strategically important place in Zeeland and the surrounding area.

In 1303 and 1304 the city was besieged several times by Flemish troops led by Guy of Namur. The Flemish failed to capture Zierikzee and were eventually defeated in the battle of Zierikzee on August 11, 1304 by a Zeeland-French fleet, where Guy van Namur was captured. The following year, on June 23, 1305, the Treaty of Athis-sur-Orge between the County of Flanders and the Kingdom of France was concluded to settle the balance of power.

Large city fires took place in Zierikzee in 1414, 1458, 1466, 1526 and 1576. In 1414 half of the city burned down. In 1458, the best part of the city, including the Beguinage and the Franciscan monastery, Friars Minor Monastery, fell prey to flames. In 1466 a third of the city burned down, including the Grote Kerk. In 1526 and 1576, the damage was 77 salt chain and 125 houses outside the city walls (1526) and 50 salt chain and 200 houses (1576) respectively.

In the Eighty Years' War, Zierikzee was taken by Geuzen on 8 August 1572. In September 1575, Spanish troops landed on Schouwen and Duiveland, and besieged Zierikzee. The city surrendered on June 29, 1576, but four months later a mutiny broke out among the Spanish soldiers for arrears, after which the Spaniards left.

During the First World War, six bombs were dropped on the city on April 30, 1917 by a lost British pilot. The pilot had confused Zierikzee with Zeebrugge, there were three victims. After the Second World War, some 30 million kilos of ammunition was dumped in the Oosterschelde near Zierikzee, making this ammunition dump the largest in the Netherlands. After the Second World War, the city was first expanded in an easterly direction with Plan Malta, then in a westerly direction with the construction of the Poortambacht district ("Plan West").

In 1997 the municipality of Zierikzee ceased to exist and the municipality became part of the larger municipality of Schouwen-Duiveland. The town hall of this municipality is located in Zierikzee. A characteristic of it is that it appears top heavy because it widens towards the top. The town hall is located on the avenue of St. Hillaire, about 800 meters from the Dikke Toren.


Coat of arms and flag

The Zierikzee coat of arms is made of throat (red), loaded with a climbing lion made of saber (black). In heraldry it is incorrect that color is placed on color, but a version on a painting from 1540 shows a silver shield with a red lion. It is suspected that the silver has been oxidized with the field turned to black. The shield is covered with a cross, the explanation of which is unclear. It could be an Andrew's cross, or a weaving bobbin referring to the cloth industry. The shield holders are a stylized Gothic "Z" and its mirror image, both of gold. After a municipal reorganization in 1997, the lion was included as a shield holder in the coat of arms of Schouwen-Duiveland.

The flag consists of five horizontal bands in the colors of the coat of arms. This flag was already used in the 17th century and was adopted by the city council on May 29, 1961.



Zierikzee, a protected townscape since 1971, one of the protected town and village views in Zeeland, and is known as a monument city. For a relatively small city, Zierikzee has a large number of monuments, 568.


The Sint-Lievensmonstertoren is the most eye-catching monument in Zierikzee. With its 62 meters it is the tallest tower in the city. The tower is also popularly called the Fat Tower. This tower resembles the Sint-Romboutstoren in Mechelen like two drops of water.

Also worth seeing are the:

Nobel Gate
Zuidhavenpoort, with the flood monument Tested but not broken (1970) by Ad Braat
Windmill De Hoop,
The Den Haas windmill
new church
The Zierikzee Town Hall, from the 16th century. It was thoroughly renovated in 1772-1779. Today, the Zierikzee Town Hall Museum is located here.
House De Haan, also sometimes called Templar House, is a merchant's house from the 14th century. It is one of the oldest preserved buildings in the Netherlands.
The Gravensteen, from the 16th century
There are several large patrician houses around the Oude Haven.
City gates and city wall

There was a city wall in Zierikzee. The current Nobelpoort, Noordhavenpoort and Zuidhavenpoort are the only remaining city gates of Zierikzee, the Westpoort, Zuidwellepoort and the Hoofdpoort were demolished in the 19th century. What is now understood by the Slingerbos was the actual foundation of the city wall, the canals of the city wall have been spared. However, there are still remnants of the city wall.