gemeente (municipality), southwestern Netherlands, on Walcheren, a peninsula that was formerly an island. Named for its central position on the island, Middelburg was a flourishing medieval town that traded in wine and cloth and that later prospered through the activities of the Dutch East India Company. It was one of the first towns captured by the Sea Beggars (Dutch insurgents against Spain) in 1574. It was inundated during World War II, but most of the damage has been repaired. Tourism and services are the main sources of income. Landmarks (all restored since 1945) include the town hall (about 1512); the Abbey of St. Nicholas (founded 1150), now the seat of the provincial government; and the 16th-century New Church. Several old town gates survive. Pop. (2007 est.) 47,267.
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