Tuesday, March 09, 2010

June 25, 2009 - Bergen op Zoom, Netherlands

There were two reasons for stopping by Bergen op Zoom. First, was to see what kind of place had such a whimsical name and, second, there was a campsite just a short bicycle ride from town. The campsite turned out to be enjoyable and so, for that matter, did the city. We also became delighted to be back in the Netherlands and hadn't previously appreciated the general organized and well-manicured appearance presented by most of the country - highlighted by our irksome brush with Belgium.
ergen op Zoom is in the south of the Netherlands and has a current population of around 65,000. After being granted city status in the 13th century, BoZ (Bergen on the Zoom river) developed into a significant fortress and one of the main armories and arsenals of the United Provinces of Holland. Its defensive properties were complemented by the surrounding marshes, the easily-flooded polders and the ability to be provisioned by sea unless the besieging army forces also blockaded its port. Having successfully withstood aggressive sieges by the Spanish in 1587 and 1622 it wasn't until 1747, after a 70 day siege that the city finally succumbed to the French. A trivial outcome of this event was the inclusion of the name Bergen op Zoom on one of the arches of the Arc de Triomphe in Paris. Click here for a slide show of this likable burg.

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