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Escorted Rail Tours to Middelburg

Dutch culture, history and stunning meet in Zeeland’s capital city

That Middelburg, capital of the Zeeland Province in the south-western Netherlands, is an old city is immediately apparent thanks to its abundance of historic buildings and remarkable architecture. Less obvious is that almost a third of the city's ancient buildings were destroyed by the German Luftwaffe during World War II. Unbowed, the city painstakingly rebuilt and restored its lost buildings after the conflict, restoring Middelburg to its pre-war glory.

Middelburg originated as a fortified town in the early Middle Ages, its defences intended to repel Viking raiders. By the twelfth century Middelburg has achieved city status and in subsequent centuries became a prosperous trading centre; the second most important after Amsterdam for the Dutch East India company.

Today, the city's historical legacy is remarkably well-preserved. The pedestrianised central area of the city is dominated by the Markt, a large open square where markets are held each week. Here, one of the city's most outstanding architectural gems can be seen: the Stadhuis. Originally built in the Gothic style in the fifteenth century this stunning former town hall was painstakingly restored after sustaining wartime damage.

Exploring Middelburg on foot reveals many more remarkable buildings from the twelfth century Abdji (abbey) complex to several churches which date from the fourteenth century onwards, as well as the city's many shops, museums and other attractions.

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Premium Tulips Cruise

Discover the beauty and history of the Dutch and Belgian waterways from our elegant 4-star Superior cruise ship, visit the spectacular Keukenhof Gardens during their colourful tulip season, and medieval gems like Antwerp and Ghent.

Departs in April 2017.
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8 days from £1,495per personView tour details
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More about Middelburg

Zeeuws Museum
The Zeeuws Museum, located at the Abbey near the centre of the city, contains the largest collection of Zeeland cultural and historical artefacts in the world including traditional costumes, tapestries, classical, contemporary and modern art, archaeological finds, jewellery, silverware, ceramics and items of natural history such as fossils and shells.

The Abbey of Our Lady
Established in 1150 around a central cloister, Middelburg's abbey complex contains the Abbot's lodgings, three churches, a refectory, vaulted cellar, chapterhouse and the octagonal ninety-one-metre tall Lange Jan (Long John) tower, which offers exceptional panoramic views.

Utropia Botanical Gardens
One of Middelburg's more recent visitor attractions is Utropia, a botanical garden and aviaries in which visitors can get close to many species of free-flying tropical birds including parrots, cockatoos and lorikeets. The gardens also feature koi carp ponds where the fish may be hand-fed and an enclosure in which prairie-dogs live.

Middelburg's Canals
Waterways run through the heart of old Middelburg, and following canal towpaths on foot or bicycle is a great way to explore the city. Seventeenth and eighteenth century storehouses line the canals, whilst pretty houseboats are moored on the water. Cruising the waterways in an open-topped boat provides a new perspective on this picturesque city.

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