Middelburg was founded in the 9th century when the Vikings entered Europe on their conquest. To protect against the invasions of the land conquerors, a ring rampart is erected, a fortress around which a high earthen wall has been built. It is the 'Middle Castle' of Walcheren, later Middelburg.

Once the threat is over, the castle begins to take advantage of its favorable location on the River Arne. It is developing into a lively trading center. When Norbertine monks built an abbey in the fortress in the 12th century, a second period of prosperity resulted. In 1217, Middelburg was given city rights.

After the capture of Den Briel in 1572, the population initially remained loyal to the Spanish king, but in 1574 Middelburg also had to join William of Orange. The Premonstratensians have to leave and the abbey falls into the hands of the regional government, which is still housed there to this day.

During the time of the VOC, Middelburg was the most important city in the Netherlands after Amsterdam. Shipwrights build more than 300 new ships in the shipyards in 200 years, and the import and export of fabrics, tea and spices also play a major role. However, in 1799 the heyday of the VOC was over. The company is bankrupt and the French era begins. That doesn't do the city any good. The French left Middelburg impoverished in the early 19th century and many buildings, city walls and city gates disappeared. Yet more than 1,000 legally registered monuments are still standing.

World War II to the present
During the Second World War, a large part of Middelburg went up in flames due to a bombardment. Due to early warning, the number of deaths is relatively small, but the city center is largely in ruins.

It is decided to renovate or rebuild the existing architecture, including the town hall, in the original style. As a result, Middelburg has been able to retain its historic character.

Stadhuis 1

Student city
Today, almost 50,000 people live in the municipality of Middelburg. The provincial government is located in the Zeeland capital. Since the arrival of University College Roosevelt (UCR) in 2004, Middelburg has also been a real student city.

Sights and monuments in Middelburg
Middelburg has a rich past and it shows. Stroll through the city and marvel at monuments, imposing facades, old streets and squares. Here you experience the history of Zeeland's capital.

Golden times
In the Golden Age, Middelburg was the most important city in the Netherlands after Amsterdam. Many house and street names recall the city's rich trading history. In the center of Middelburg you can still see buildings that remind you of this golden period. The city has more than 1,100 protected national monuments. In this historic setting you will now find many shops, terraces and restaurants.

Lange Jan, the center of the city
Not to be missed in the city center of Middelburg and far beyond is the Lange Jan Abbey Tower. The imposing Abbey Tower towers above everything. In the summer months you can climb the 207 steps of the tower and enjoy a phenomenal view of Middelburg and the surrounding area. Even when it gets dark, all the spotlights are focused on the Lange Jan and it is the shining center of the city. Fun fact: De Lange Jan is literally located next to our building!

The Abbey of Middelburg, pearl of the city
One of the pearls in the city is Middelburg Abbey. Until 1574 it was used as a monastery, later as the seat of the provincial government. The complex has a long history in which it has been restored several times. After devastating bombings during the Second World War, the Abbey was rebuilt. Nowadays, the Province of Zeeland is still located in the Abbey. The Abdijplein is regularly the setting for cultural events, including the Zeeland Late Summer Festival and the Zeeland Ring Riding.

Characteristic town hall
The medieval town hall is one of the most characteristic buildings in the center of Middelburg. This national monument has changed a lot since it was built in the 16th century. The town hall tower is also called 'Malle Betje' by local residents, because the clock runs behind and strikes later than Lange Jan. After the Second World War, the town hall had to be largely rebuilt. The lighting of the facade ensures that it is an admirable whole, especially in the evening.

How did Boutique Hotel The Roosevelt get its name?

Boutique hotel The Roosevelt owes its name to Franklin Delano Roosevelt (1882-1945), president of the United States between 1933 and 1945. His ancestors come from Zeeland and the family maintains close ties with the Netherlands and Zeeland.

He was the only president to be elected four consecutive times. He implemented the New Deal policy, a program to help America get back on track after the Great Depression of the 1930s. After World War II broke out in Europe, he was convinced that America should not continue to watch from the sidelines. His State of the Union (speech from the throne), which he delivered on January 6, 1941, was primarily intended to convince Congress - the American parliament - that the US should intervene.

Celebrate Freedoms
In his speech he introduced the 'Four Freedoms': four essential freedoms that had to be accessible to everyone in the world.

These Four Freedoms are:

  • freedom of speech
  • freedom of religion
  • freedom from defects
  • freedom from fear

With this appeal to one of the greatest and most important values in American society – freedom – he hoped to convince Congress that America had to take its responsibility and not avoid involvement in the Second World War.

Franklin D. Roosevelt
Four freedoms

Eleanor Roosevelt
His wife, Eleanor Roosevelt, continued to bring his ideas to worldwide attention after her husband's death on April 12, 1945. It was partly thanks to Eleanor's efforts that Roosevelt's Four Freedoms became a standard for human rights after the war. The Four Freedoms were included in the Charter of the United Nations in April 1945. They partly formed the basis for the Universal Declaration of Human Rights from 1948. Eleanor was closely involved in its preparation.

Four Freedoms Awards
When in 1982 the commemoration of two hundred years of relations between the United States and the Netherlands coincided with the centenary of Franklin Delano Roosevelt's birth, an award was created in the spirit of Roosevelt's freedoms: the Four Freedoms Awards.

Every year, an award is presented for each of the Four Freedoms, as well as the International Four Freedoms Award (a general freedom prize). The first ceremony at which the Awards were presented took place in 1982 in the Nieuwe Kerk in Middelburg, directly opposite our hotel. Since then, the Awards have brought prominent figures and human rights fighters to Middelburg every other year.

Well-known laureates include Nelson Mandela, Olof Palme, Malala, Dr. Mukwege, Angela Merkel, Malala, Václav Havel and the Dalai Lama.

In Middelburg, two other institutions are strongly linked to the ideas of the Roosevelts: the Roosevelt Study Center (1986), which conducts research into American history, and the University College Roosevelt (2004).

Opened by Roosevelt's grandchildren
During the presentation of the Four Freedom Awards, the descendants of Franklin and Eleanor Roosevelt and the laureates will stay in our hotel. In 2016, Anne and Elliott Roosevelt, grandchildren of Franklin Delano Roosevelt, officially opened our hotel.