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The province of Zeeland (Sealand) incorporates a clutch of islands and peninsulas – Schouwen-Duiveland, Tholen, Sint Philipsland, Noord-Beveland, Walcheren and Zuid-Beveland – that nestle in the middle of a vast delta through which many of Europe's rivers drain; it also incorporates Zeeuws-Vlaanderen, a strip of land bordering the Belgian region of Flanders. As you survey the calm, flat landscape, consider that for centuries the resilient Zeelanders have been battling the North Sea waters, devising and implementing ingenious methods of water management, including the huge Delta Project.

Friendly Middelburg is the provincial capital, and the closest thing Zeeland has to a city. Most visitors head to this part of the country to laze on one of the sandy beaches along the North Sea coast (the regional population increases fourfold during high summer). Others visit this place of tenuous land and omnipresent water just to see the sheer size and admire the engineering genius of the Delta Project's dykes and barriers. Either way, they invariably leave happy and rested.

Top attractions

These are our favorite local haunts, touristy spots, and hidden gems throughout Zeeland.