Vlissingen (Flushing), Netherlands
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An important Netherlands seaport for centuries, Vlissingen, in the province of Zeeland, occupies a strategic position downriver from Antwerp at the mouth of the Scheldt River on the North Sea. In medieval times, it was a major fishing hub; during the Dutch Golden Age in the 17th century, trade flourished here, with ships from the Dutch East India Company sailing to and from colonial outposts. Today, Vlissingen is the country’s third-largest port, where most of the ships for the Royal Netherlands Navy are built. The city’s long, fascinating maritime heritage can be viewed at the Zeeuws Maritiem MuZEEum, a complex of 16th- to 21st-century buildings that display artifacts from many eras, including the Napoleonic period, when the French turned Vlissingen into a naval base, and World War II, when German forces occupied the province.A stroll along the Boulevard of Vlissingen, a promenade that hugs the shore, offers great views of the sea, plenty of spots for eating, drinking and clubbing, plus several historic landmarks such as the Prisoners’ Tower (1563). The city’s compact historic center features several quaint squares, typical Dutch gabled buildings from the 17th century, and St.-Jacobskerk, or St. James the Great Church, which dates from 1308 and was rebuilt after a fire in 1911.