The history of Renesse


Zeeland is, as the name implies, land extracted from the sea. But not all areas were created by dike salt marshes. On the west side of Schouwen, for example, 3000 years before Christ was already a low coast of beach walls and old dunes. This area has been inhabited continuously since the new Stone Age. For example, archeologists at Haamstede found remains of a settlement dating from around 2460 BC. Also in other places in this coastal strip archaeological finds show that this region has been inhabited for thousands of years.
That is not surprising. In this dune zoom, people lived high and safe enough for the many storm floods that plagued these regions through the centuries. There was fresh water from the dunes and from the fairly flat inner dunes they made arable land.

The first official mention of Renesse is in a charter from 1244. Count Willem II of Holland and Zeeland gave permission to the monks of Ten Duinen to trade free of tolls and other charges. This deed was drawn up in the house of Costijn van Renesse. This knight lived in the first version of the current lock Moermond.

The ring village that originated around the Jacobus church was at that time called Riethnesse, derived from reeds and peninsula (nes or nose). The nickname for the inhabitants of Renesse is 'sand hijackers'. A second, older spot name was 'goat'. In the past almost everyone had a goat, which after all was the cow of the poor. And poverty was an asset in the Westhoek. The soil was poor and the fields and pastures were regularly threatened by sand drifts.

At the beginning of the 20th century the first bathers came to Renesse, among them well-known names such as Albert Plesman and Anton Pieck. In 1911, a number of progressive notables founded the Vereeniging Renesse Vooruit. The purpose of this association was to point out strangers to the tourist qualities of Renesse. The extension of the trajectory of the steam tram Zijpe - Brouwershaven to Burgh made Renesse considerably more accessible from 1915. At the beginning of the twenties, the first campsite on the Hogezoom was opened: camping Bona-Fide, where the first summer houses were built.