Bergen op Zoom: Wikis


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Bergen op Zoom
—  Municipality  —
Flag of Bergen op Zoom
Coat of arms of Bergen op Zoom
Coat of arms
Coordinates: 51°30′N 4°18′E / 51.5°N 4.3°E / 51.5; 4.3
Country Netherlands
Province North Brabant
Area (2006)
 - Total 93.13 km2 (36 sq mi)
 - Land 80.76 km2 (31.2 sq mi)
 - Water 12.38 km2 (4.8 sq mi)
Population (1 January 2007)
 - Total 65,454
 Density 810/km2 (2,097.9/sq mi)
  Source: CBS, Statline.
Time zone CET (UTC+1)
 - Summer (DST) CEST (UTC+2)

Coordinates: 51°30′N 4°18′E / 51.5°N 4.3°E / 51.5; 4.3

Bergen op Zoom (About this sound pronunciation ) is a municipality and a city in the south of the Netherlands.



Bergen op Zoom in 1649. Note marshes (left, top right), canalized diversion of the Scheldt and extensive fortifications.

Bergen op Zoom was granted city status probably in 1266. In 1287 the city and its surroundings became a lordship as it was separated from the lordship of Breda. The lordship was elevated to a margraviate in 1559. Several families ruled Bergen op Zoom in succession until 1795, although the title was only nominal since at least the seventeenth century.

During the early modern period, Bergen op Zoom was a very strong fortress and one of the main armories and arsenals of the United Provinces. It had a remarkable natural defensive site, surrounded as it was by marshes and easily-floodable polders. Furthermore, it could receive reinforcements and supplies by sea, if the besieging army did not have a fleet to blockade its port.

Due to these features, the city was one of the strategic points held by the revolting Dutch in the Eighty Years War. It was at that time besieged by Alessandro Farnese first in 1587, and by Ambrosio Spinola a second time in 1622. Both sieges were unsuccessful.

In 1747, during the War of the Austrian Succession, the French army laid siege to it again. At that time, Bergen op Zoom had fortifications built in the beginning of the 17th Century by Menno van Coehoorn, with three forts surrounding the city and a canalized diversion of the Scheldt acting as a ditch around its walls. However, it had no second line of fortifications, nor any fortress. After seventy days of siege, the city was taken and thoroughly sacked; the garrison was slaughtered. Due to this battle, the name of the city can be seen on one of the arches on the Arc de Triomphe in Paris.


Population centres

  • Bergen op Zoom (population: 65,691, July 2006)

The city of Bergen op Zoom

The Markiezenhof Palace, built in the fifteenth and sixteenth centuries, houses a cultural centre and a museum with a picturesque courtyard, paintings, period rooms, and temporary exhibitions.

SABIC Innovative Plastics operates a major manufacturing facility in Bergen op Zoom.

Another major plant/employer in the city is Philip Morris.

Grote Markt


Artists in Bergen op Zoom

Bergen op Zoom has always housed many artists. Some of them are, in chronological order:

  • Jacob Obrecht (1457–1505, composer),
  • Desiderius Erasmus (1466–1536, humanist, philosopher, author),
  • Lowijs Porquin (1511–1573, author),
  • Abel Grimmer (1570–1619, artist),
  • Samuel de Swaef (1597–1636, printer, writer),
  • Gerrit Houckgeest (1600–1661, painter),
  • Marcus Zuerius Boxhorn (1612–1653, historian, author),
  • Bernardus Bosch (1746–1803, politician, publisher, author),
  • Lodewijk van Deijssel (1864–1952, critic, novelist),
  • Margo Scharten-Antink (1868–1957, novelist),
  • Willem van Dort (1875–1922, painter),
  • A.M. de Jong (1888–1943, politician, novelist),
  • Anton van Duinkerken (1903–1968, poet, critic)

International relations


Twin towns — sister cities

Bergen op Zoom is twinned with:

Further reading

  • A Ballad on the Taking of Bergen-Op Zoom. London: M. Cooper, 1747.
  • Bot, Marie-Louise, and Gouke J. Bonsel. The Bergen Op Zoom-Quality of Life Survey: A Dutch Contribution to the Collaborative Study of the European Common Core Group. Rotterdam: Dept. of Public Health and Social Medicine/Institute for Medical Technology Assessment, Erasmus University Rotterdam, 1989. ISBN 9072245458
  • Edler, Florence. Attendance at the Fairs of Bergen-Op-Zoom 1538-1544. Bergen op Zoom: [s.n.], 1936.
  • Smyth, James Carmichael. Plans of the Attacks Upon Antwerp, Bergen-Op-Zoom, Cambray, Peronne, Maubeuge, Landrecy, Marienbourg, Philippeville and Rocroy, By the British and Prussian Armies in the Campaigns of 1814 and of 1815. 1817.
  • 1939-1945 The War Dead of the Commonwealth: The Register of the Names of Those Who Fell and Are Buried in Cemeteries in the Netherlands : Bergen Op Zoom Canadian War Cemetery. Maidenhead: Commonwealth War Graves Commission, 1994.

External links


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