The capital city of the province of Zeeland in the south of the Netherlands, Middelburg is an ancient city, whose first settlement began before the 9th century. In the Middle Ages, it became an important center of trade and after becoming part of the Dutch Republic, the city became the second most important center for the Dutch East India Company following Amsterdam.
Severely damaged during WWII, the city was rebuilt and restored along pre-War lines. Modern Middelburg has preserved and regained much of its historic and picturesque character. There are lavish 17th and 18th-century merchant houses and storehouses standing along canals, old city moats and two of the city gates, the Koepoort Gate and the Varkenspoort Gate.
The highlights of the city are the Liebfrauen Abbey founded in 1100, which now houses the Zeeuws Museum, and its 90-meter-high tower, the Lange Jan, whose 207 steps can be scaled to enjoy a breathtaking view. Another notable building is the late Gothic town hall in the city center. Erected in 1452, it is one of the crucial sightseeing opportunities in all of Zeeland, or indeed in all the Netherlands.