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Clockwise from top left: Coastline skyscraper, harbour, museum, residential tower and boulevard with beach
Clockwise from top left: Coastline skyscraper, harbour, museum, residential tower and boulevard with beach
Flag of Vlissingen
Coat of arms of Vlissingen
Coat of arms
Highlighted position of Vlissingen in a municipal map of Zeeland
Location in Zeeland
Country Netherlands
Province Zeeland
 • Body Municipal council
 • Mayor Letty Demmers-van der Geest (D66)
 • Total 344.83 km2 (133.14 sq mi)
 • Land 34.18 km2 (13.20 sq mi)
 • Water 310.65 km2 (119.94 sq mi)
Elevation[3] 1 m (3 ft)
Population (May 2014)[4]
 • Total 44,353
 • Density 1,298/km2 (3,360/sq mi)
Demonym(s) Vlissinger
Time zone CET (UTC+1)
 • Summer (DST) CEST (UTC+2)
Postcode 4380–4389
Area code 0118
Website .nl.vlissingenwww

Vlissingen (Dutch pronunciation: ; 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.

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


  • Geography 1
  • History 2
  • Name 3
    • Etymology 3.1
    • Historical English name "Flushing" 3.2
  • Tourist attraction 4
  • Topography 5
  • Climate 6
  • Famous people 7
  • Transport 8
  • Cultural references 9
  • References 10
  • External links 11


The municipality of Vlissingen consists of the following places:


Vlissingen from the sea, 1662
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. 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.

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.

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. Tourists are attracted to Vlissingen not just because of its history and maritime character, but also because nowhere else in the world do large ships pass this close to shore.[5]

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.[6] 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[7] shortened the name to "Vlissing" by 1657 and then began to call it by its English name, Flushing, and this continued and grew after the conquest of New Netherland. 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.

Even in modern times, some use "Flushing" as the English name of the town [8] and maintain that it is still the correct English name.

Tourist attraction

The Marketbuilding at Beursplein (Marketsquare)
Part of the shoppingstreet Walstraat in 2010
  • Beeldenhuis (Statuehouse)
  • Belgische Loodshuizen (Belgian Maritime Pilotshouses)
  • Beursgebouw (Marketbuilding)
  • Dokje van Perry (Perry's Dock)
  • Fontein ter nagedachtenis aan Elisabeth Wolff en Agatha Deken (Fountain)
  • Fort Rammekens
  • Garnizoensbakkerij en Kazematten (Garrisonbakery & Casemates
  • Gevangentoren (Prisontower)
  • Grote of Sint-Jacobskerk (Church of St James the Great)
  • Het Arsenaal (The Arsenal)
  • Hoofdkantoor 'De Schelde' (Headquarter 'De Schelde')
  • Koopvaardijmonument (Merchant Navy Monument)
  • Lampsinshuis (House of the Lampsins family)
  • Leeuwentrap (Lionsstairs)
  • Lutherse kerk (Evangelical Lutheran Church)
  • Zeevaartschool (Ship transport school)
  • Standbeeld Michiel de Ruyter (Michiel de Ruyter Statue)
  • NS-Station Vlissingen (Train Station)
  • Onze Lieve Vrouwekerk (Church of Our Lady)
  • Oranjemolen (The Orange Mill)
  • Plein Vier Winden (Square Four Winds)
  • Reptielenzoo Iguana (Reptile zoo)
  • Sardijntoren (Sardijntower)
  • Stadhuis Vlissingen (City Hall)
  • Timmerfabriek (Carpentryfactory)
  • Watertoren (Water tower)
  • Willem III Kazerne (Barracks of William III)
  • Windorgel (Windorgan)
  • Wooldhuis (Wooldhouse)
  • Zeemanserve (Cornelia Quackshofje) (Seaman's quarter)


Topographic map image of Vlissingen (city), Sept. 2014

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 one of the sunniest cities in the Netherlands, receiving approximately 180 more sunshine hours than Maastricht in the southeast.

Climate data for Vlissingen
Month Jan Feb Mar Apr May Jun Jul Aug Sep Oct Nov Dec Year
Record high °C (°F) 12.8
Average high °C (°F) 6.0
Daily mean °C (°F) 4.0
Average low °C (°F) 2.1
Record low °C (°F) −12.1
Average precipitation mm (inches) 58.5
Average precipitation days (≥ 1 mm) 12 9 11 9 10 10 9 10 11 12 13 13 129
Average snowy days 5 5 3 2 0 0 0 0 0 0 2 3 20
Average relative humidity (%) 87 85 83 78 78 78 78 78 80 83 87 88 81.9
Mean monthly sunshine hours 67.8 89.2 134.2 187.2 218.3 215.5 223.2 207.4 152.9 116.5 68.7 52.1 1,733.1
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]

Famous people

A surprising 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.

The English poet and playwright Christopher Marlowe was arrested in Vlissingen for counterfeiting coins, and deported from there back to England on 26 January 1592.


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

Cultural references


  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).  
  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).  
  5. ^
  6. ^ Sir William Temple, Observations upon the United Provinces of the Netherlands, ed. Sir George Clark (Oxford: Clarendon Press, 1672), pp. 40, 48 & 116
  7. ^ Russell Shorto, The Island at the Centre of the World (Black Swan, 2004) pp. 338-9
  8. ^ War Diaries 1939-1945, Field Marshal Lord Alanbrooke, Weidenfeld & Nicolson, 2001, page 615
  9. ^ Climate Summary for Vlissingen, Netherlands
  10. ^ "Klimaattabel Vlissingen, langjarige gemiddelden, tijdvak 1981–2010" (PDF) (in Dutch).  
  11. ^ "Klimaattabel Vlissingen, langjarige extremen, tijdvak 1971–2000" (PDF) (in Dutch). Royal Netherlands Meteorological Institute. Retrieved 10 September 2013. 

External links

  • Media related to at Wikimedia Commons
  • Official website
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