The city of Vlissingen (Flushing), Zeeland
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Flushing (in Dutch: Vlissingen) is a city in the southwestern part of the Netherlands on the former island of Walcheren. With its strategic location between the Scheldt river and the North Sea, Vlissingen has been an important harbour for centuries. It was granted city rights in the year 1315. In the 17th century Vlissingen was a main harbour for ships of the Dutch East India Company (VOC). It is also known as the birthplace of Admiral Michiel de Ruyter.
Flushing was in the 16th century one of the chief ports for English traffic with the Continent. It is not the town in Zeeland best worth visiting, but it deserves more attention than it gets. It is difficult to understand why it has never become a great port. It seems, if anything, more favourably situated than either Antwerp or Rotterdam, and yet it has, on the whole, never been so prosperous as its nearest neighbour, Middelburg.
In the 16th century it was the port of embarkation for Spain; and here, when Philip II left the Netherlands never to return, the famous parting took place between him and William the Silent, Prince of Orange. The king attacked William for opposing his policy, and when Orange replied that it was the action of the States, who were defending their ancient rights, the baffled despot cried: "No! no! not the States, but you, you!"
Flushing, naturally from its position to the sea, has produced an illustrious band of seamen, foremost among whom is the great De Ruyter, who was born here in 1607. A statue of him stands near the harbour.
It owes little gratitude to England, for in the wars of the early part of this century it was bombarded and captured by the English fleet under Lord Chatham. One hundred houses, two churches, and the fine Town Hall were destroyed, this being the solitary and utterly useless achievement of one of the costly expeditions against the Isle of Walcheren.
Four miles from Flushing, and easily reached either by train, car, bike, canal, or sail, is Middelburg, a beautiful, well-situated, and interesting old town.