In your boots through mudflats and salt marshes

Breathe the salty sea air deep into your lungs while tramping through the muddy creeks, mudflats and salt marshes of Tholen. It is an adventurous yet relaxing hike, only you mustn’t be afraid to get wet feet. This land is flooded by saltwater twice a day. On the edges of the Oosterschelde or Eastern Scheldt, the salty tides of ebb and flood set the rhythm. Discover this unique coastal landscape beyond the dikes that changes every day. Join this surprising tour.

The tides determine everything. 
You will be able to see the most at low tide, which has been taken into account in the tour times.

The richly decked table of Tholen

Are you ready to familiarize yourself with the island of Tholen beyond the dikes of Zeeland? Always go with a guide. They will show you the most exciting trails where your water-tight shoes or boots will stay as dry as possible. Due to the special flora and fauna, the area is not freely accessible, so the guide serves as your gateway into this wondrous briny world.

Along the way, you will see plants like glasswort and sea aster, delicacies from Zeeland that grow on higher mudflats and salt marshes. The briny soil in these locations results in the unique salty flavor of the plants. There is more to discover in coastal nature, however. The sandy mudflats are full of worms, molluscs and small crustaceans. It’s a paradise for birds, which descend on the richly decked table of the tidal flats in droves as the water recedes. A perfect moment for you to spot the various bird species.

An authentic piece of the Netherlands

The island of Tholen is the result of five smaller islands gradually merging due to dams and reclaimed land. The salty scent of the sea is everywhere on the meadows of this vast polder landscape. It is mostly in agricultural use with dikes, windmills, farms, and authentic village centers. A traditional and picturesque Dutch landscape.

The vast tidal flats and salt marshes, which are flooded at high tide every day, are beyond the dikes. Zeeland experiences the greatest difference in water levels between ebb and flood, 3.5 meters on average, but greater variations are possible under the influence of the wind and moon cycle.

Eendenkooi
Foto: Stichting Het Zeeuwse Landschap

The secret of the eendenkooi

The Eendenkooi or ‘duck cage’ in Sint Philipsland is accessible only a few times per year. It used to be a commercially significant place but today it is primarily of cultural and historic importance in a nature reserve where silence and nature are valued above all. Discover the traditions of the duck cage, such as kooikerhondje (duck cager’s dog), duck-catching tunnels, nesting baskets, and various types of ducks.

Taste the region

The only potato auction house in the Netherlands can be found in Sint-Annaland on Tholen. Traders buy their product here by ‘Dutch auction’. In July and August, you can find a place on the authentic auction benches every Wednesday morning and afternoon and operate the clock to get a good price for the best potatoes, as well as apples, strawberries, cherries and other red fruit. Salty regional produce, such as lamsoren and glasswort, is also sold here. Perhaps you’ll even manage to buy real fish from Tholen. Bon appétit!