Since 1972 the Zeeuws Museum has been housed in Middelburg Abbey, which also provides accommodation for the Province of Zeeland and several churches. The whole of Walcheren can be seen from the top of the 86-metre-high tower known as the Lange Jan (Long John). The car-free square full of lime and sycamore trees is a favourite spot for Middelburg’s residents and visitors. The herb garden, which is accessed via the cloisters, is also a pleasant place for quiet contemplation.

Since 15 October, Sjuul Joosen’s work The Unveiling has been on permanent display in the Abdijplein.

History

The Abbey’s 850-year history has been shaped by Norbertines, knights, Princes of Orange, governors and iconoclasts.The entire complex was bombed in the Second World War, resulting in fire. It was restored and partially rebuilt after the war. The first stones were laid on the site of the Abbey around 1150. An earthen fortification was erected 250 years earlier when Zeeland was threatened by Vikings. This so-called Middel-burcht had a diameter of more than 200 metres and was built on elevated land along the historical river, the Arne. When the threat of the Vikings had subsided, the building was occupied by herders, farmers, tradesmen and later the Norbertine canons. The circular form of the fortification can still be seen on the map of Middelburg.

In the summer months (June to September) the Zeeland Tourist Board organises guided tours of the abbey complex in association with the Zeeuws Museum. View the current overview for our seasonal activities.