A short history
‘Zeeland’, might sound familiar, huh? Our province is actually the reason why they call the pretty well-known Zealand on the other side of the globe ‘New’. Back to our province: Zeeland quickly became one of the most prosperous places in Europe during the 16th and 17th century due to its central role in the Dutch maritime trade and colonisation One of the most celebrated historical figures from the ‘Golden Age’ , admiral Michiel de Ruyter, was from Vlissingen, a harbour town in Zeeland. However, the water didn’t solely bring good to the province. The area has experienced many devastating floods during its existence. The North Sea flood of 1953, known as the Watersnoodramp, is one of the biggest disasters in modern Dutch history. The water reached unprecedented heights during a great storm, causing much of Zeeland and parts of Brabant to flood. The 1836 casualties were mainly from Zeeland.
In the wake of this disaster, one of the greatest engineering projects in human history unfolded. Between 1954 and 1997, the Delta Works were created: a huge construction project consisting of dams, bridges, locks, dykes, and storm surge barriers, ensuring that a similar disaster would never happen again. The Delta Works are named one of the Seven Wonders of the Modern World and are illustrious for the Dutch relationship with water. As most of the works are in Zeeland, these impressive constructions are the definitive landmark for the province.
Because of its proximity to the sea and its natural beauty, Zeeland is good for ten million overnight tourist stays per year. It’s no surprise that over ten per cent of all jobs in Zeeland are in the tourism and leisure sectors. Another important part of its economy is the maritime sector and port infrastructure, naturally. Large shipbuilding companies like Damen Schelde Naval Shipbuilding (DSNS) are based in Zeeland.
Zeeland is one of the most important logistical hubs in our country. It is located between the port of Antwerp and the port of Rotterdam, the two largest in Europe. North Sea Port, a fusion of the ports of Vlissingen, Gent and Terneuzen, is in the top 10 of the largest ports in Europe itself. Many companies of different sectors have settled here because of Zeeland’s international connection.
Many large (international) agricultural companies are also located here, such as AMC, Kloosterboer, Kingfish Zeeland, Cargill, Lamb Weston/Meijer and McCain. These companies are always looking for national and international talent who can help them develop new technologies and solutions. Ambitious talent in the chemical and process industry will also feel at home here, as one of the largest chemical clusters in northwestern Europe is located in Zeeland: Dow Chemical, Yara, Trinseo, ICL-IP, and other major players are located in this region as well. Other exciting opportunities for young professionals are in healthcare and the energy sector, as this province has the largest solar park and commercial tidal power plant in the world.
Zeeland is without a doubt worth looking into if you are considering a move to The Netherlands. Not only does it have great opportunities for talent in any of the STEM fields, but living here will also mean that you get to benefit from the healthy seaside air and fresh seafood.