Welcome on our new website. Heemkundekring "Philippuslandt" is the association in Sint Philipsland to study and record the local history and lore. Sint Philipsland is a former island in the north-eastern part of Zeeland, the province in the south-west of the Netherlands. Our association was established january 2001 and the membership already amounts to 500. Two or three times a year a booklet, the ´Cronicke´ is published and sent to the members and others who are interested. Moreover, there are workshops to study local history, dialect and genealogy.
Since 1995 Sint Philipsland has been a part of the municipality of Tholen, another Zeeuws island. Sint Philipsland, or ´Flupland´ according to local people, was first impoldered in 1487. During the 16th century many heavy storms swept through the province and much land got lost to the sea, as was the old Sint Philipsland in 1532.
During the 80-years´ war between the Netherlands and Spain, (1568 till 1648), a decisive battle between the fleets of Spain and of Holland and Zeeland was fought in the area in 1631. The battle on the ´Slaak´ ended in a great victory for the Dutch, who captured thousands of prisoners and large amounts of gold and money. After this battle the long war gradually came to an end.
In 1644 permission was granted to start reclamation again and in 1645 one polder, a small island of ca. 550 ha (1360 acres) was recovered from the sea. During the following centuries new polders were added and today the island covers nearly 2400 ha (5900 acres). There are two small villages, Sint Philipsland and AnnaJacobapolder and one hamlet, the Sluis, with a total population of about 2600. Since 1884 the island has been connected with the mainland of Brabant by a large dam which was later widened by addition of new polders.
Up till ca. 1950 the main means of subsistence on the heavy clay soil of the island was farming, especially growing potatoes, sugarbeets, wheat, barley and peas. Individual farms covered ca. 60 - 70 ha (150 - 170 acres). Formerly ´meekrap´or madder, a raw material for red dye, was also an important crop but that came to an end when in the second half of the 19th century, the pigment could be made artificially. After World War II mechanization made farmworkers redundant and drove them daily to work in the docks and factories in Rotterdam, about 50 km (30 miles) to the North. On the other hand small industries developed and people from outside settled on the island because of the nice and quiet countryside.
During the last war, large areas in this part of the Netherlands were inundated by the occupying Germans to be part of their defense system against an allied invasion. In a heyvy storm in February 1953 many dikes in the same area, including Sint Philipsland, broke during the night and 1835 people drowned or perished on the roofs of their houses. In Sint Philipsland 9 people lost their lives. Next year, 50 years after the flood catastrophe, memorial services and meetings will be held in the whole area.
In many places of the world people with roots in Sint Philipsland have settled for generations. During the second half of the 19th century, 300 people out of a total population of 1500 left the small island for the United States where they started a new live. Even after over a hundred years, family connections are still being maintained and we hope that this new form of communication will help to facilitate and improve these links.