Date: 12-04-2024
Location: 1e verdieping museum

The exhibition 'Destruction in images' can be seen in the Polderhuis in Westkapelle from April 12, 2024 to April 11, 2025. In 2024 it will be 80 years ago that Walcheren was flooded as a result of the inundation. The exhibition on the top floor is dedicated to this major event. There are works by Jac. Prince, Johan Melse and Frans Maas on display, supplemented with works by amateur artists.

A terrible disaster has struck our village

“A terrible disaster has struck our village. A tremendous bombardment that lasted 2 ¼ hours. The consequences are terrible.” These are the first lines from a letter that Maatje Roelse wrote to her niece Piete on October 26, 1944. Because this letter provides insight into the feelings of and consequences for the survivors, some quotes have been taken from her letter.

The first bombing of Westkapelle took place on October 3, 1944. The Allies had decided to flood Walcheren, with the aim of weakening the German defenses. Not only the dike, but also most of the buildings were destroyed. The number of fatalities was enormous: 180 people died.

-Escape to 'safer' places

"Yes, Piete, I have lost a lot. Mother, my sister, brother-in-law, uncle, niece, nephew and a friend. What misery is being brought into the world." The warnings to leave for 'safer' places on the island were underestimated, but the intensity of the bombardment and the enormous force of the incoming sea water caused a flow of refugees towards the surrounding villages that same evening.

"Now we are in a country estate in Oostkapelle... And the consequences. Our village is completely destroyed, all the arable land is under seawater. Now you live almost as if in a daze and sometimes you do not realize what you have lost because you are not at home. But if you start thinking about it, you won't be able to figure it out.

More information

This exhibition can be seen during opening hours of the Polderhuis Museum. In October this year there will be a photo exhibition with work on this theme by Neeltje Flipse-Roelse in the museum café.