Visit Holland - The Netherlands

Western Scheldt - Westerschelde

The Western Scheldt (Dutch: Westerschelde) in the province of Zeeland in the southwestern Netherlands, is the estuary of the Scheldt river.

This river once had several estuaries, but the others are disconnected from the Scheldt, leaving the Westerschelde as its only direct way to the sea. It is an important shipping route to the Port of Antwerp, Belgium. Therefore, unlike the other sea arms, it is not closed by a dam as part of the Delta Works. Instead, the dykes around it have been heightened and reinforced.

Many ships have sunk in the Western Scheldt. Following an agreement between the Dutch and Flemish governments in 1995, many of these wrecks have been removed to improve shipping access to Antwerp. It was expected that the last 38 wrecks in the shipping channel would be removed during 2003. The largest wreck was the 131-metre (430 ft) long Alan A. Dale which was removed during June 2003.

The Western Scheldt was freed from German occupation in October and November 1944 by the First Canadian Army during The Battle of the Scheldt.

In mid-March 2003, a 6.6 km tunnel under the Western Scheldt was opened, the Western Scheldt Tunnel, from Ellewoutsdijk (mun. Borsele) in Zuid-Beveland to Terneuzen in Zeelandic Flanders. It is the longest road traffic tunnel in the Netherlands. The toll fee is €5,00 (2012) for cars and €2,50 (2012) for motorcycles. Motorcyclists have protested against the fact that their fee is the same as for cars but the toll was reduced in 2011. The toll booth is on the north bank, for both directions. Pedestrians, cyclists, and moped riders are only allowed to travel through the tunnel by bus.