Danny McGee is more than just a regular photographer, his Instagram captions always inspire me so much and we share a lot of the same life values. After meeting him in Thailand, I was excited to hear he was coming down to the Netherlands for a visit. I took him around my Dutch province ‘Zealand’ by bike.
Does that name sound familiar? Yes, of course it does, New Zealand was named after it! Dutch explorer Abel Tasman was born here and he was the first one to sight NZ in 1642.
Watch my Daily Vlog with Danny McGee and get inspired to travel off the beaten track to this gorgeous province in the Netherlands and continue reading to find out what to do and where to eat and sleep around here!
Actually it’s ‘Zeeuws Vlaanderen’ to be precise. The bottom part of Dutch Province Zealand is my heritage. Germans flock our region during summer and Belgian day tourists love to cross the border here to have some food and drinks with a sea view. Zealand is diverse and has lots to offer from rural to trendy. Beaches, trendy hotspots, cabins with seaview, rural farmer campsites, cycling routes and much much more. I know most people think of Amsterdam or ‘the Keukenhof’, when they think of the Netherlands. But our country has so much more to offer.
So let’s dive in.
Part of this province’s beauty, lies within the local villages scattered around the region. Many of them date back hundreds of years and have beautiful churches and friendly local communities. Danny Mcgee and I went around exploring a few of them close to my parent’s farm.
Local Villages around the area
Groede was with it’s ‘Slijkstraatje’, preserved in original state, our first stop. An old style bakery, blacksmith and convenience store dating back to the 1600’s are part of this small street full of Dutch history. I even made Danny McGee taste an original ‘Zeeuwse’ Bolus. No, I don’t know how to translate that. But I can tell you one thing. This sugary Dutch Treat is sooooo goood and a speciality in my region. Watch my vlog to find out more about our adventures.
We finished our trip in Fishermans village ‘Breskens’, after making a few more stops along the coast. In Breskens I decided it was about time Danny Mcgee tasted his fist Dutch Haring. The Dutch way of course, upside down.
HoneyPie High Tea in Middelburg
Aside from beautiful local villages. There’s also lots of trendy and hip hotspots around the region. Mom and I had a mother-daughterday at HoneyPie during my last home visit. Oh my, I think I’m in love. Make sure you don’t eat anything before you go there. The amount of good food is enormous! Read: caramel slices, brownies, scones, just too much to mention. It’s the perfect place for a girls day with hipster interior and vintage plates and teacups. So cute!
Honeypie is situated in former 16th century Dutch East India Company harbour city Middelburg. It’s our Province’s capital, has beautiful cobbled streets and lends perfectly for excellent shopping or a drink at one of the cozy situated terraces.
Belgium just a few minutes away
Belgian beauties Bruges and Ghent are roughly just 30 minutes away. We practically live on the border. Cross over to our southern neighbors for a day. So worth it. Taste a typical Belgian Waffle and wander the streets of what in my opinion is Belgium’s pride: Bruges!
Where to eat
De Deining has been my personal favorite for years. Not just because the food is amazing, but because of the amazing atmosphere. The restaurant just has a few tables and it’s a family business. This makes the service very personal and super laid-back. To come back to the amazing-food part… local specialities like mussels and ‘tong’ fish are at it’s best here.
Finish off with an ice-cream in Groede at ‘de Fonteyn‘. I guarantee you, it will not be your last. This homemade ice-cream is sooo soo good!
Our ocean water might not be clear blue, we do have some lovely sea view pavilions where you can enjoy a hot chocolate during winter after a windy stroll along the beach or a cocktail and some Dutch waffles with a sparkling Gin Tonic during summer. Belgians love it. And I can’t blame them. Beachhouse 25 or Dok 14 are my all-time favorites.
Where to Sleep
I was born on a beautiful farm in this province in the Netherlands. My parents run an agricultural farm and we have a campsite in the middle of a nature reserve. Prices are cheap, varying around 12 euros depending on the need for electricity and the amount of people. Perfect base to start exploring. Watch my home sweet home Vlog for a peek at my Dutch farmlife!
Camping is what this region is all about. But for those looking for a bit more luxury ‘de Natte Pij’ in Groede is an excellent choice. Gorgeously decorated rooms with a rural farm style touch in the middle of 16th century street ‘t Slijkstraatje. Check out their property here and arrange your stay in this beautiful part of Holland.
I don’t think I need to explain to you, that I’m raving about the place where I was born 26 years ago. I enjoy my holidays home with my family and friends. Where I indulge in some well-deserved peace and quit on our farm, cycle, eat and re-energize.
Consider doing the same. I’m pretty sure you will return home like a balanced yogi would.