Yerseke, its history. Yerseke (pronounce as 'Ear-se-ke)is a village located on the Oosterschelde in the municipality of Reimerswaal, on Zuid-Beveland in the Dutch province of Zeeland. It now has about 6,700 inhabitants (2015).
The village is best known for its mussel and oyster culture. Tourists come to Yerseke for the Oosterschelde, where you can sail, dive and spot seals. They come for the oysters, mussels and lobsters. A tour, provided from B&B SintAnna, is a great way to find out everything about this. Yerseke is also known for its annual Mussel Day on the third Saturday of August. Many tourists visit Yerseke to taste the sea. The most delicious dishes are prepared daily in the many restaurants in Yerseke.
The earliest mention of Yerseke is from 966, under the name Gersika. Like so many villages on the Zeeland islands, the settlement arose on a creek ridge where people were involved in herding sheep. It is believed that the name Gersika / Gersicha is derived from this former "creek". Before 1600 Yerseke was an agricultural village. Salt was mainly extracted from the peat layers and madder crab was cultivated. After the storm floods, such as the St. Felix flood in 1515, Yerseke came to lie on the water and started fishing.
Oyster farming started around 1870 in Yerseke. Oyster pits were built for this purpose. Mussel culture also became increasingly important for the village. The mussel culture dates back to the 15th century. The village has the only mussel auction in the world, where fishermen from neighboring fishing villages also come to auction their mussels. In addition to oysters and mussels, they also fish for lobsters, the famous Oosterschelde lobster.
The Oosterschelde Museum. The tourist information center is located in the middle of the village, with the Oosterschelde Museum next to it. The Oosterschelde Museum is a small museum where you can see and read everything about the Oosterschelde. It shows how mussels and oysters were cultivated in earlier times and a short film is shown about mussel farming today. For more information see www.oosterscheldemuseum.nl
The Odulphus Church. This now reformed church is notable due to its size. Yet this church used to be much larger. The building has had a rather sad history. The place of worship, built in the period 1335-1413, was dedicated to Saint Odulphus. The building was largely reduced to ashes in 1532. Only the choir, the transept (aisle) and the tower were spared. After recovery, a new fire followed in 1821. The tower suffered heavy damage and was demolished three years later. A neo-gothic tower was built in 1887. It was destroyed by French troops in May 1940. They fired from ships in the Western Scheldt, in an attempt to halt the German advance. The whole church then went up in flames. After restoration, the building was taken back into use in 1948. A service is now held every Sunday. The church is open to the public on Wednesdays and Saturdays from early June to mid-September.
Yerseke also has a lot of churches. St. Anna was the only Catholic church, but has been closed since 2003. In addition to the reformed church, there are four other churches, of which the church of the reformed community is the largest. Her pointed, slender point stands out far above everything else