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Zeeland (zēˈlənd, Dutch zāˈlänt) [key], province (1994 pop. 363,900), c.650 sq mi (1,680 sq km), SW Netherlands, bordering on Belgium in the south and the North Sea in the west. The main cities are Middelburg (the capital) and Vlissingen. The province consists of a strip of Flanders that is adjacent to Belgium and various former islands located in the Scheldt estuary; the chief regions (now a series of interconnected peninsulas) are Walcheren, North and South Beveland, Schouwen-Duiveland, and Tholen. Much of the land is below sea level and protected by dikes. Agriculture, dairying, and fishing are the chief occupations; there is some industry, notably shipbuilding. Zeeland, a part of Holland from the 10th cent., later became a separate county, but it continued to be ruled by the counts of Holland, and its history was largely identical with that of Holland. In 1579, Zeeland joined the Union of Utrecht as one of the United Provinces of the Netherlands. The province was badly damaged by flooding in 1953.

The Columbia Electronic Encyclopedia, 6th ed. Copyright © 2012, Columbia University Press. All rights reserved.

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