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Bergen op Zoom

4.6
Landmarks · Sacred & Religious Sites · Historic Walking Areas
Bergen op Zoom is a municipality and a city located in the south of the Netherlands.EtymologyThe city was built on a place where two types of soil meet: sandy soil and marine clay. The sandy soil pushed against the marine clay, accumulating and forming hills over several centuries. People called those hills the Brabantse Wal, literally meaning "wall of Brabant". Zoom refers to the border of this wall and bergen in Dutch means mountains or hills. The name has nothing to do with the little channel the ‘Zoom’ which was later built through Bergen op Zoom.HistoryBergen op Zoom was granted city status probably in 1212. 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 noble families, including the House of Glymes, 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.
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