The bridge that brings life and pizza delivery to a standstill

As a city dweller with hay fever, I don’t go out into nature that much. Give me Vestkruiskade. Like almost everyone else, I gave in during the pandemic. Without the delights of the city, you have to relax in other ways. Baking sourdough bread was a mess, and I was tired of the kitchen garden on the balcony after the first harvest, so I went out into nature.

That’s why I stayed with friends a few times during the coronalockdowns in 2020 at Dintelse Gorzen, a small nature reserve where the Steenbergsche Vliet flows into Volkerak, north of Bergen op Zoom. In the area there are a few walking routes, Scottish Highlanders are grazing and many butterflies are fluttering. From the bird hide De Papegaai you look out over the water and see ducks, swans, geese or a large heron. The experienced bird watcher will undoubtedly see more.

The Lockkeeper’s House

Dintelse Gorzen is surrounded by water.

Picture of:
Tim Fichroux

The real attraction is Benedensas, a more than two-hundred-year-old lock complex located right next to the nature reserve. On a sort of island in the middle of the complex is an old lock keeper’s residence. There is a restaurant in the monumental building, behind which is a tea garden. And you can spend the night there. On one side of the island is a dam to Dintelse Gorzen, on the other side is a footbridge. Apart from that bridge, the complex is no longer in use.

Even now, on a sweltering day in July, it strikes me how peaceful this area is. This is not so much due to nature, but primarily due to the pedestrian bridge. It forces you to a more moderate pace and puts life on hold for a while. It is actually permanently open to allow pleasure craft to pass through. Occasional pedestrians and cyclists passing by must press a black button to announce their arrival and then wait for the bridge to close. This often takes at least ten minutes. Waiting on a bench is the only option.


Summer series 2022 pizza on bridge – Tim Ficheroux

The pizza delivery boy left the pizza boxes on the bridge and turned around.

Picture of:
Tim Fichroux

This calm also has a flip side, as we discovered when we ordered pizza from a Steenberg establishment during the Christmas holidays. The bridge also brought pizza delivery to a standstill. He didn’t want to wait, pressed the black button, put the pizzas on the bridge, called us to inform us and turned around. Ten hungry and cold minutes later, the bridge closed and we were able to get to the pizza, which was still nice and warm. So give me Vest-Kruiskade, and now and then an open bridge.

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There and back

Dintelse Gorzen is 36 kilometers from Rotterdam as the crow flies, and can hardly be reached by public transport. From the nearest bus stop, you can walk another 45 minutes. The best option is a public transport bike from Roosendaal (about 45 minutes by bike) or Bergen op Zoom (an hour by bike), which is not recommended in temperatures above 30 degrees.

Flora & Fauna

Currently growing a lot of blackberry bushes and nettles (hello nitrogen crisis!). A flock of Scottish Highlanders graze the area and its location on Volkerak makes it a good place to see waterfowl from De Papegaai bird hide (geese, ducks, swans, robins, heron and sometimes even a bald eagle). The bike ride from Roosendaal is also worth the effort. You can see buzzards hovering over the fields and pheasants and, with a little luck, even deer in the potato and beet fields.

Sights and activities

The lock complex is the main attraction and attracts a lot of yachts and the occasional canoeist. A little further, on the other side of the bridge, lies an old German bunker that was part of the Atlantvolden. And you will also find other memories from the Second World War in the area: for example, several Allied planes crashed in 1944.

Eat Drink

In the old lock keeper’s residence on the island, there is a restaurant (closed Monday and Tuesday) that serves lunch, drinks and dinner. Behind the house is a large tea garden. You can spend the night in the monumental building and on camping rafts.

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