Middelburg, I didn't want to bring the Vikings in...!
Today i had a nice walk through one of the oldest cities in the Netherlands.
Middelburg originated in the 9th century when the Vikings entered Europe on a conquest.
As protection against the invasions of the conquerors, a ring wall is erected, a fortress around which a high earthen wall has been built. It is the 'Middle Castle' of Walcheren, later Middelburg. For that reason alone i decided not to bring my Highland Park with me.
When the threat is over, the castle starts to take advantage of its favorable location on the river Arne and developing into a lively trade center. When Norbertine monks built an abbey in the fortress in the 12th century, a second period of flowering began. Middelburg receives city rights in 1217.
After the capture of Den Briel in 1572, the population initially remained loyal to the Spanish king, but in 1574 Middelburg also had to join William of Orange. The Norbertines have to leave and the abbey falls into the hands of the regional government, which is still housed there to this day.
At the time of the VOC, Middelburg is the most important city in the Netherlands after Amsterdam. Ship carpenters build more than 300 new ships at the shipyards in 200 years and the import and export of fabrics, tea and spices also play a major role. In 1799, however, the heyday of the VOC is over. The company is bankrupt and the French era begins. That is not good for the city. The French left Middelburg impoverished at the beginning of the 19th century and many buildings, city walls and city gates disappear.
A lot of the buildings in Middelburg however still remember this wealthy part of the history.
The Kuiperspoort (Coopers gate), an inconspicuous gate from the outside from originating from the 14th century, is open from sunrise to sunset. The Coopers Guild moved into the gatehouse in 1642. Barrels were used as packaging material in commercial shipping. It was possible from the Kuiperspoort barrels to the quay.
Once through the gate you enter a very medieval alley with houses all clustered together, really one super nostalgic street where you imagine yourself many centuries back in time.
On the central square, named the Dam, the old grain exchange is still standing. I thought the perfect place to pour me a dram of Kilchoman. and although the stones in the exchange hall give you a choice it wasnt realy a difficult one. This Port Matured Kilchoman is specially bottled for Bresser and timmer. A big flavor bomb. one of only 296 bottles and on Cask Strenght of 58.5% this is pure enjoyment!.
Color: Deep Red Nose: Sweet red fruit, plum, light smoke & peat
Taste: red berries, tropical fruit with sweet smoke, milk chocolate and Cinnamon.
Finish: Long with intense but balanced sweetness and smoke!
Why Kilchoman today? Middelburg is the capital of the Dutch Province of Zeeland with several islands that have fought a centuries old battle with the sea that continues to this day. But more about that in a seperate blog. So i thought it had to atleast be an island whisky. Besides that Zeeland is one of the largest barley producers in the Netherlands.
In 1598 the English "Merchant Adventures" made their “Court” in Middelburg. From
that moment Dutch buyers of English cloth were dependent on Middelburg for their supplies
Dozens of English merchants ocupied warehouses and made their homes here. Many names of streets and houses still show this.
The King of Scotland
The King of England
After finishing my dram and the city walk I drove back over the Deltaworks. protechting the dykes in the Netherlands and Zeeland from springtides and storms.
The Netherlands, as you can deduce from the name, is a low-lying country. 26% of the Netherlands is below the water level and 59% of the Dutch land surface is susceptible to flooding. Hence the saying. “God created the earth, but the Dutch created the Netherlands”