Last updated

Vlissingen Town.png
Clockwise from top left: Coastline skyscraper, harbour, museum, residential tower and boulevard with beach
Vlissingen vlag.svg
Vlissingen wapen.svg
Coat of arms
Map - NL - Municipality code 0718 (2009).svg
Location in Zeeland
Coordinates: 51°27′N3°34′E / 51.450°N 3.567°E / 51.450; 3.567 Coordinates: 51°27′N3°34′E / 51.450°N 3.567°E / 51.450; 3.567
Country Netherlands
Province Zeeland
  Body Municipal council
   Mayor Bas van den Tillaar (CDA)
  Total344.83 km2 (133.14 sq mi)
  Land34.18 km2 (13.20 sq mi)
  Water310.65 km2 (119.94 sq mi)
1 m (3 ft)
(August 2017) [4]
  Density1,304/km2 (3,380/sq mi)
Demonym(s) Vlissinger
Time zone UTC+1 (CET)
  Summer (DST) UTC+2 (CEST)
Area code 0118
Website www.vlissingen.nl

Vlissingen (Dutch pronunciation: [ˈvlɪsɪŋə(n)] ( Loudspeaker.svg listen ); Zeelandic: Vlissienge; historical name in English: Flushing) is a municipality and a city in the southwestern Netherlands on the former island of Walcheren. With its strategic location between the Scheldt river and the North Sea, Vlissingen has been an important harbour for centuries. It was granted city rights in 1315. In the 17th century Vlissingen was a main harbour for ships of the Dutch East India Company (VOC). It is also known as the birthplace of Admiral Michiel de Ruyter.

Zeelandic language

Zeelandic is a Low Franconian dialect of Dutch spoken in the southwestern parts of the Netherlands. More specifically, it is spoken in the southernmost part of South Holland (Goeree-Overflakkee) and large parts of the province of Zeeland, with the notable exception of eastern Zeelandic Flanders..

Municipality An administrative division having corporate status and usually some powers of self-government or jurisdiction

A municipality is usually a single administrative division having corporate status and powers of self-government or jurisdiction as granted by national and regional laws to which it is subordinate. It is to be distinguished (usually) from the county, which may encompass rural territory or numerous small communities such as towns, villages and hamlets.

City Large and permanent human settlement

A city is a large human settlement. Cities generally have extensive systems for housing, transportation, sanitation, utilities, land use, and communication. Their density facilitates interaction between people, government organizations and businesses, sometimes benefiting different parties in the process.


Vlissingen is mainly noted for the yards on the Scheldt where most of the ships of the Royal Netherlands Navy (Koninklijke Marine) are built.

Scheldt river in France, Belgium and the Netherlands

The Scheldt is a 350-kilometre (220 mi) long river in northern France, western Belgium, and the southwestern part of the Netherlands. Its name is derived from an adjective corresponding to Old English sceald ("shallow"), Modern English shoal, Low German schol, West Frisian skol, and Swedish (obsolete) skäll ("thin").

Royal Netherlands Navy Naval warfare branch of the Netherlands armed forces

The Royal Netherlands Navy (RNLN) is the navy of the Netherlands. Its origins date back to the Eighty Years' War (1568–1648), the war of independence from the House of Habsburg who ruled over the Habsburg Netherlands.


The municipality of Vlissingen consists of the following places:

Oost-Souburg is a town in the municipality of Vlissingen.

Ritthem Place in Zeeland, Netherlands

Ritthem is a village in the Dutch province of Zeeland. It is located in the municipality of Vlissingen, about 4 kilometres east of the city.

West-Souburg is a village in the Dutch province of Zeeland. It is part of the municipality of Vlissingen, and now almost completely surrounded by suburbs of the city of Vlissingen. Once one of the most important settlements on the Zeeland island of Walcheren, West-Souburg is now a very small place that some consider nothing more than a suburb of Vlissingen.


Vlissingen from the sea, 1662 Schilderij Vlissingen 30-08-06.JPG
Vlissingen from the sea, 1662
The Arrival at Vlissingen of Frederick V, Elector Palatine, by Hendrick Cornelisz Vroom, oil on canvas. VROOM Hendrick Cornelisz The Arrival at Vlissingen of the Elector Palatinate Frederick V.jpg
The Arrival at Vlissingen of Frederick V, Elector Palatine, by Hendrick Cornelisz Vroom, oil on canvas.

The fishermen's hamlet that came into existence at the estuary of the Schelde around AD 620 has grown over its 1,400-year history into the third-most important port of the Netherlands. The Counts of Holland, Flanders, and Zeeland had the first harbours dug. Over the centuries, Vlissingen developed into a hub for fishing, especially the herring fishery, commerce, privateering and the slave trade. Under the Treaty of Nonsuch, English garrisons were stationed here and at Brill to keep these ports out of Spanish hands. [5] During the heyday of the Dutch Golden Age, ships from Vlissingen set sail for the various outposts of the Dutch colonial empire and contributed to the world power of The Seven Provinces.

Netherlands Constituent country of the Kingdom of the Netherlands in Europe

The Netherlands is a country located mainly in Northwestern Europe. The European portion of the Netherlands consists of twelve separate provinces that border Germany to the east, Belgium to the south, and the North Sea to the northwest, with maritime borders in the North Sea with Belgium, Germany and the United Kingdom. Together with three island territories in the Caribbean Sea—Bonaire, Sint Eustatius and Saba— it forms a constituent country of the Kingdom of the Netherlands. The official language is Dutch, but a secondary official language in the province of Friesland is West Frisian.

County of Flanders French fiefdom and historic territory in the Low Countries

The County of Flanders was a historic territory in the Low Countries.

County of Zeeland

The County of Zeeland was a county of the Holy Roman Empire in the Low Countries. It covered an area in the Scheldt and Meuse delta roughly corresponding to the modern Dutch province of Zeeland. The County of Zeeland did not include the region of Zeelandic Flanders which was part of Flanders; conversely, the modern Province of Zeeland does not include Sommelsdijk, historically part of the County of Zeeland.

The history of Vlissingen was also marked by invasion, oppression and bombardments. Because of its strategic position at the mouth of the Schelde, the most important passageway to Antwerp, it has attracted the interest, at one time or another, of the British, the French, the Germans and the Spanish. Floods have also been a constant threat. Vlissingen declined during the 18th century. The Napoleonic Wars were particularly disastrous. After 1870, the economy revived after the construction of new docks and the Walcheren canal, the arrival of the railway and the establishment of the shipyard called De Schelde. The Second World War interrupted this growth. The city was heavily damaged by shelling and inundation but was captured and liberated by British Commandos of 4th Special Service Brigade on 3 November 1944.

Antwerp Municipality in Flemish Community, Belgium

Antwerp is a city in Belgium, and is the capital of Antwerp province in Flanders. With a population of 520,504, it is the most populous city proper in Belgium, and with 1,200,000 the second largest metropolitan region after Brussels.

Napoleonic Wars Series of early 19th century European wars

The Napoleonic Wars (1803–1815) were a series of major conflicts pitting the French Empire and its allies, led by Napoleon I, against a fluctuating array of European powers formed into various coalitions, financed and usually led by the United Kingdom. The wars stemmed from the unresolved disputes associated with the French Revolution and its resultant conflict. The wars are often categorised into five conflicts, each termed after the coalition that fought Napoleon: the Third Coalition (1805), the Fourth (1806–07), the Fifth (1809), the Sixth (1813), and the Seventh (1815).

Walcheren Former Island in Zeeland, Netherlands

Walcheren is a region and former island in the Dutch province of Zeeland at the mouth of the Scheldt estuary. It lies between the Eastern Scheldt in the north and the Western Scheldt in the south and is roughly the shape of a rhombus. The two sides facing the North Sea consist of dunes; the rest of its coastline is made up of dykes. Middelburg lies at its centre; this city is the provincial capital and Vlissingen 9 kilometres (5.6 mi) to the south is the main harbour. The third municipality is Veere.

The city was rebuilt after the war. In the 1960s, the seaport and industrial area of Vlissingen-Oost developed and flourished. Now this area is the economic driving force behind central Zeeland, generating many thousands of jobs. Nowadays approx. 50,000 ships annually from all corners of the world pass through the Schelde. [6]

Vlissingen's seaside boulevard at the start of the 21st century. Vlissingen (aerial photo).jpg
Vlissingen's seaside boulevard at the start of the 21st century.



The derivation of the name Vlissingen is unclear, though most scholars relate the name to the word fles (bottle) in one way or another.

According to one story, when saint Willibrord landed in Vlissingen with a bottle in the 7th century, he shared its contents with the beggars he found there while trying to convert them. A miracle occurred, familiar to readers of hagiography, when the contents of the bottle did not diminish. When the bishop realised the beggars did not want to listen to his words, he gave them his bottle. After that, he supposedly called the city Flessinghe.

Another source states that the name had its origins in an old ferry-service house, on which a bottle was attached by way of a sign. The monk Jacob van Dreischor, who visited the city in 967, then apparently called the ferry-house het veer aan de Flesse (the ferry at the Bottle). Because many cities in the region later received the appendix -inge, the name, according to this etymology, evolved to Vles-inge.

According to another source, the name was derived from the Danish word Vles, which means tides.

The eastern cape of Novaya Zemlya, Cape Flissingsky was named after the city in 1596 by Willem Barentsz.

Historical English name "Flushing"

Vlissingen was historically called "Flushing" in English. In the 17th century Vlissingen was important enough to be a town that English speakers referred to and that had acquired its own English name. For example, Samuel Pepys referred to the town as "Flushing" in his diaries. In 1673 Sir William Temple referred to Vlissingen as "Flushing" once and "Flussingue" twice in his book about the Netherlands. [7] Some English writers in the Netherlands also used the Dutch name.

Flushing, originally a Dutch colonial village founded in 1645 and now part of Queens, New York City, was first called Vlissingen after the town in the Netherlands. The English settlers who also came to live in the village [8] shortened the name to "Vlissing" by 1657 and then began to call it by its English name "Flushing." The Anglicisation of "Vlissingen" into "Flushing" did not occur after the conquest of New Netherland, but in England well before then. This village was the site of the Flushing Remonstrance.

The village of Flushing in Cornwall was also named after Vlissingen. Originally named Nankersey, the village was given its name by Dutch engineers from Vlissingen in the Netherlands who built the three main quays in the village. Michigan and Ohio in the US have villages called Flushing as well.

Tourist attractions



Topographic map of Vlissingen (city), Sept. 2014


Vlissingen has a temperate oceanic climate (Köppen climate classification Cfb) that is milder than the rest of the Netherlands due to its more southern location on the coast. [9] It is approximately 1.5 degrees Celsius warmer annually than Groningen in the northeast. It is also one of the sunniest cities in the Netherlands, receiving approximately 180 more sunshine hours than Maastricht in the southeast. Its all-time record is 36.8 °C set on 27 July 2018 and -18.9 °C on 21 February 1956

Climate data for Vlissingen
Record high °C (°F)14.2
Average high °C (°F)6.0
Daily mean °C (°F)4.0
Average low °C (°F)2.1
Record low °C (°F)−15.3
Average precipitation mm (inches)58.5
Average precipitation days (≥ 1 mm)129119101091011121313128
Average snowy days55210000002318
Average relative humidity (%)87858378787878788083878882
Mean monthly sunshine hours 67.889.2134.2187.2218.3215.5223.2207.4152.9116.568.752.11,733.1
Source #1: Royal Netherlands Meteorological Institute (1981–2010 normals, snowy days normals for 1971–2000) [10]
Source #2: Royal Netherlands Meteorological Institute (1971–2000 extremes) [11]

Notable people

A number of Dutch admirals were born in Vlissingen. Among them are Michiel Adriaanszoon de Ruijter, Joost and Adriaen Banckert and the three admirals Cornelis Evertsen. See further People from Vlissingen.



  • There used to be a ferry service to Sheerness operated by Olau Line. It was terminated in 1994.
St. Jacobskerk Vliss StJacob.jpg
St. Jacobskerk

Related Research Articles

South Holland Province of the Netherlands

South Holland is a province of the Netherlands with a population of just over 3.6 million as of 2015 and a population density of about 1,300/km2 (3,400/sq mi), making it the country's most populous province and one of the world's most densely populated areas. Situated on the North Sea in the west of the Netherlands, South Holland covers an area of 3,403 km2 (1,314 sq mi), of which 585 km2 (226 sq mi) is water. It borders North Holland to the north, Utrecht and Gelderland to the east, and North Brabant and Zeeland to the south. The provincial capital is The Hague, while its largest city is Rotterdam.

Groningen City and municipality in Netherlands

Groningen is the main municipality as well as the capital city of the eponymous province in the Netherlands. It is the largest city in the north of the Netherlands and has approximately 230,000 inhabitants. The Groningen-Assen metropolitan area has about half a milion inhabitants. Groningen is an old city and was the regional power of the north of the Netherlands, a semi-independent city-state and member of the German Hanseatic League. Groningen is a university city, with an estimated 31,000 students at the University of Groningen, and an estimated 29,000 at the Hanze University of Applied Sciences.

Woensdrecht Municipality in North Brabant, Netherlands

Woensdrecht is a municipality in the southern Netherlands.

Michiel de Ruyter Dutch admiral

Michiel Adriaenszoon de Ruyter was a Dutch admiral. He was one of the most skilled admirals in history, most famous for his role in the Anglo-Dutch Wars of the 17th century. He fought the English and French and scored several major victories against them, the best known probably being the Raid on the Medway. The pious De Ruyter was very much loved by his sailors and soldiers; from them his most significant nickname derived: Bestevaêr

Western Scheldt estuary of the Scheldt river

The Western Scheldt in the province of Zeeland in the southwestern Netherlands, is the estuary of the Scheldt river. This river once had several estuaries, but the others are now disconnected from the Scheldt, leaving the Westerschelde as its only direct route to the sea. The Western Scheldt is an important shipping route to the Port of Antwerp, Belgium and unlike the Eastern Scheldt estuary, it could not be closed off from the sea by a dam as part of the Delta Works. Instead, the dykes around it have been heightened and reinforced.

Sluis Municipality in Zeeland, Netherlands

Sluis is the name of both a municipality and a town located in the west of Zeelandic Flanders, in the south-western part of the Netherlands.

Zeelandic Flanders Region in Zeeland, Netherlands

Zeelandic Flanders is the southernmost region of the province of Zeeland in the south-western Netherlands. It lies south of the Western Scheldt that separates the region from the remainder of Zeeland and the Netherlands to the north. Zeelandic Flanders is bordered to the south by Belgium.

Breskens Place in Zeeland, Netherlands

Breskens is a harbour town on the Westerschelde in the municipality of Sluis in the province of Zeeland, in the south-western Netherlands. Its population is 4,787.

<i>Tromp</i>-class frigate class of Dutch frigates

The Tromp class were two frigates built for the Royal Netherlands Navy during the 1970s to replace the De Zeven Provinciën-class cruisers as squadron flagships.

Adriaen Banckert Dutch admiral

Adriaen van Trappen Banckert was a Dutch admiral. In English literature he is sometimes known as Banckers. His first name is often rendered in the modern spelling Adriaan. Van Trappen was the original family name, but the family was also and better known under the name of Banckert. In the 17th century Netherlands such a situation was solved by combining the two names.

Vlissingen railway station

Vlissingen is a terminus railway station in Vlissingen, Netherlands. The station opened on 1 September 1873. The station is at the western end of the Roosendaal–Vlissingen railway and has 3 platforms. This station is less than 100 metres (330 ft) short of being the westernmost station in the Netherlands: that is Vlissingen Souburg, the second station in Vlissingen. The station Vlissingen was formerly called Station Vlissingen-Haven.

Noordsche Compagnie

The Noordsche Compagnie was a Dutch cartel in the whaling trade, founded by several cities in the Netherlands in 1614 and operating until 1642. Soon after its founding, it became entangled in territorial conflicts with England, Denmark, France, and other groups within the Netherlands.

Biezelinge Village in Zeeland, Netherlands

Biezelinge is a village in the Dutch municipality of Kapelle. On January 1, 2009, it had 1605 inhabitants.

Damen Schelde Naval Shipbuilding is a Dutch shipyard, and a continuation of the Koninklijke Maatschappij De Schelde, responsible for a number of ships used by the Royal Netherlands Navy. It is owned by the Damen Group. Damen Schelde Naval Shipbuilding is situated in Vlissingen.

Zeeuws Maritiem muZEEum maritime museum in Vlissingen, Netherlands

The Zeeuws Maritime MuZEEum is a maritime museum in the center of Vlissingen, situated on the marina of the city. It is the successor of the Stedelijk Museum in Vlissingen. It is housed in a building once owned by the Lampsins family, prominent in the shipping business in the 17th century.

HNLMS <i>De Ruyter</i> (1974) Dutch frigate in service from 1976 to 2001

HNLMS De Ruyter (F806) was a frigate of the Tromp class. The ship was in service with the Royal Netherlands Navy from 1976 to 2001. The frigate was named after Dutch naval hero Michiel de Ruyter. The ship's radio call sign was "PAEP".


  1. "Burgemeester Letty Demmers-van der Geest" [Mayor Letty Demmers-van der Geest] (in Dutch). Gemeente Vlissingen. Retrieved 22 December 2013.
  2. "Kerncijfers wijken en buurten" [Key figures for neighbourhoods]. CBS Statline (in Dutch). CBS. 2 July 2013. Retrieved 12 March 2014.
  3. "Postcodetool for 4382MA". Actueel Hoogtebestand Nederland (in Dutch). Het Waterschapshuis. Retrieved 22 December 2013.
  4. "Bevolkingsontwikkeling; regio per maand" [Population growth; regions per month]. CBS Statline (in Dutch). CBS. 27 October 2017. Retrieved 27 October 2017.
  5. Garrett Mattingly (1959), The Armada , Boston: Houghton Mifflin, Ch. V, "Plans of Operations", p. 44.
  6. www.zeegat.nl/
  7. Sir William Temple, Observations upon the United Provinces of the Netherlands, ed. Sir George Clark (Oxford: Clarendon Press, 1672), pp. 40, 48 & 116
  8. Russell Shorto, The Island at the Centre of the World (Black Swan, 2004) pp. 338-9
  9. Climate Summary for Vlissingen, Netherlands
  10. "Klimaattabel Vlissingen, langjarige gemiddelden, tijdvak 1981–2010" (PDF) (in Dutch). Royal Netherlands Meteorological Institute . Retrieved 10 September 2013.
  11. "Klimaattabel Vlissingen, langjarige extremen, tijdvak 1971–2000" (PDF) (in Dutch). Royal Netherlands Meteorological Institute. Retrieved 10 September 2013.
  12. p49 of the House of Stratus edition, ch4. The Romantic Prince, Rafael Sabatini, 2001