Available upon demand, scheduled departures again as of 2021.
Best time to travel:
Late spring to Autumn
(Lobster season from March to June)
A Journey to Zeeland on the North Sea
Unveil the Undiscovered Netherlands
4 days / 3 nights
Maximum 6 participants
€ 1,470 p.p. incl. accommodation in double room in new 4* hotel, 1 lunch & 2 dinners with wine & coffee, guided visits to local producers, tour of Zeeland and to The Hague, guided visits, admission fees and transportation in Mercedes V-Class minibus from and back to Bologna (for details see below).
At all times, I am present and can help translate to and from Dutch which I speak very well.
Lobsters, Oysters, Mussels, North Sea Sole & Turbot
Let me introduce you to Zeeland, the western-most province of The Netherlands bordering on Belgium in the South and the North Sea in the West.
Shaped and marked by the sea, this region is known for its superb local lobsters and flat oysters. Since short, even local white wine is produced, deemed good enough to be served in the Dutch national airline’s Business Class.
While very agricultural, Zeeland enjoys some tourism during the summer when people visit the quaint, beautiful cities and towns or sub-bathe on the wide yellow beaches.
To add a dash of culture, we visit the The Hague, residence of the Dutch government, and its superb Mauritshuis museum, displaying old Masters like Rembrandt, Vermeer & Holbein the Younger.
What We’ll Do
As for the culinary discoveries, Zeeland is an area of very specific delights – when you like fresh fish and shellfish.
- A particular speciality are lobsters from the Oosterschelde delta that are allowed to being caught between the end of March and end of June.
- Accompany me visiting a fisherman who catches and smokes eel – much different to his colleagues in Italy (see my trip to Emilia Romagna) but perhaps even more delicious
- Visit the storm surge barriers built after the 1953 flooding of the province
- Travel to the mainland and visit The Hague with me where I once lived. I’ll show you ‘my’ city including a large Indonesian ‘Rijstafel’ – endless preparations served the traditional way
- We’ll also have the time to visit the small yet unique museum where for example Johannes Vermeer’s ‘Girl with the Pearl Earring’
- Visit oyster and mussel farmers in Yerseke and sample them – freshly out of their oyster pits
Our Programme in Detail
Below is an example itinerary and some illustrative images – yours can of course be adapted to your personal preferences!
Thursday – Welcome and First Dinner
Brussels Airport in Belgium is our ‘departure point’ where we meet to begin our weekend.
This airport is well connected to most of European cities and intercontinental gateways, and also in easy reach by train from downtown Brussels.
I’m more than happy to assist with your travel arrangements to and from Brussels Airport.
From here on, we have our own comfortable minibus (Mercedes V-Class) which takes us to the island of Schouwen, our home-base until Sunday morning.
- We meet at Brussels Airport at 16 hrs and transfer to our hotel on the island
- Here we check into our hotel with very comfortable rooms ‘with a view’
- During our first so-called ‘Borrel‘ (aperitif) at a local ‘Kroeg’ (Dutch for pup), we await those who may join us only now to then
- Have a joint dinner at a cosy restaurant by the neighbouring port
And whenever you are ready: Wel te rusten en gezond weer op *!
* Rest well and get up healthy
Friday – a Tour of the Islands of Zeeland
To get familiar with Zeeland, we leave the hotel after breakfast for a guided visit of Middelburg on the neighbouring island of Walcheren. Middelburg is the capital of the Zeeland Province and a beautiful 17th century city of the Dutch ‘Golden Age’.
From Middelburg we go to Veere, a formerly important trading- and now leisure port with a picturesque church, quays, and town square. Just stroll around and enjoy the air and historic architecture.
For lunch, a table has been booked at a very beautifully located restaurant overlooking the port and open sea.
After lunch, we’ll continue our exploration and drive from Veere to ‘Neeltje Jans’, which is part of the Delta Works: these consist of dams, sluices, locks, dykes, levees, and storm surge barriers to protect the low lands of the Rhine delta.
This huge infrastructure project was started after several thousand people of Zeeland drowned during a storm flood on the night of 31 January 1953. To learn more, we have booked a guided tour of the truly impressive storm surge barrier.
Across the barrier lies ‘our’ island of Schouwen where we visit ‘S.M. Uil ‘t Ulegat’, a fisherman who still smokes his own wild eel – a very Dutch speciality.
Late afternoon we return tour hotel in Zierikzee and we leave it up to your appetite to go for a simple snack, good meal at the hotel, or just ‘Poffertjes’, a sweet Dutch speciality.
Saturday – a Day in The Hague
After breakfast we go to The Hague (Den Haag), a comfortable drive of 1.5 hours over the islands and the Port of modern Rotterdam – Europe’s biggest by the way.
The Hague lies just behind the North Sea Dunes, and is both the seat of the Dutch government (The ‘Binnenhof’), and the residence of the Dutch King Willem – Alexander (Paleis Noordeinde and Huis den Bosch).
At 11:00, our local guide takes us for a walk to discover the surprising beauty and calm of Den Haag’s centre with the house of parliament, Voorhout Square, and shopping streets like Denneweg and Noordeinde.
There are many small restaurants in the area, be it an Indonesian offering ‘rijstafel’, a fish stand selling ‘matjes’ (herring), or a ‘Bruin Café’ just a sandwich.
We continue at 14:30 with a tour of the Mauritshuis and its world-famous paintings of Dutch masters. To name but a few: Rembrandt, Vermeer, Potter, Hals.
Really, this museum alone is worth the entire weekend trip!
Late afternoon we return to Zierikzee to take a little break before going for dinner to enjoy the so called ‘Oosterscheldekreeft‘ (local lobster).
This lobster is wild, and can only be fished between April and June – hence our choice to visit Zeeland ‘in season’.
To enjoy this to the fullest, our farewell-dinner has been organised in a gastronomic restaurant 20 minutes away from the hotel on the island of Walcheren.
Sunday – Oysters & More in Yerseke, Return to Brussels
After breakfast we leave our hotel and Middelburg for Yerseke – a small village with a large fishing port and trade. Here, mussels are being farmed, and oysters, the so called ‘Zeeuwse Platte’ which translates into the ‘Flat oyster from Zeeland’.
Taste- and quality-wise, compare the mussels to those famed from French Mont Saint Michel, and the oysters with the best ‘Belon’ you may have tried before.
Ok, it’s still early, but we’ll try them fresh from the shell with a glass of white wine. That’s also to bid farewell and wish each other a safe onward journey – or home.
From Yerseke, we drive back to Brussels Airport, the ‘Arrival Point’ of our tour, where we arrive towards 14 hrs after a drive of one hour.
Expect prices of about € 1,470 per person for the entire journey sharing a double room, or € 1,660 in a single.
What is included in this price
- 3-night accommodation in a 4* hotel in prime location; in a superior double room including a generous breakfast
- Superior rooms with a view of the Estense Castle are available at a surcharge – please just ask me
- 1 lunch in a good restaurant in Veere
- 2 dinners, one of which in gourmet restaurant, 3 course meals
- During dinners and lunches: medium-priced wine within reason, mineral water, coffee
- Tour of Zeeland
- Guided visit of Middelburg
- Guided visit of storm barrier ‘Neeltje Jans’
- Visit of fisherman and tasting of smoked eel
- Tour to The Hague
- Guided tour of the city
- Guided tour of Mauritshuis museum
- Visit of oyster produces and tasting
- All transfers in Mercedes V-Class minibus
- Presence of Matthias throughout the trip to provide further information, translate, assist with problem solving etc.
Furthermore, included are:
- All described visits, guides, entrance fees
- Food offered during tastings
- Guided visit of the Mauritshuis in The Hague
Not included in this price:
- International & domestic travel to and from the departure and arrival points
- Gratuities for staff at your discretion
- Minibar, where offered
- Personal expenses nor services that are not specified under ‘Included’, for example servings of truffles or more expensive wines than the ones offered, personal shopping and personal transportation etc.
- Travel & medical insurance
- A 50% deposit is due at the time of booking (at least 2 weeks before the start of the tour). The remaining 50% is payable one week prior to departure.
- Cancellation charges depend on the different policies of the supplier – for a reimbursement contact Matthias as soon as possible, and make sure you have a respective insurance.
Suggestions for an Extension of Your Stay
You may enjoy extending your stay as Brussels has lots to offer and is still somewhat less visited than its rivals nearby Amsterdam or Paris.