The Renaissance of Borsele

The Renaissance of Borsele

Squares of Borsele

Squares of Borsele

Squares of Borsele

Squares of Borsele

the essence

Squares of Borssele

Over the years, BoschSlabbers has gained specific expertise in the redesign of village squares. In 1994 BoschSlabbers, on behalf of the Ministry of Housing, Spatial Planning and the Environment, elaborated the model plan “The squares of Borssele”.

The municipality of Borssele consists of 15 church villages, each with its own village square. Redevelopment plans have been drawn up for six of these squares, which have now been implemented. Examples include the square of Baarland and the famous church square of the Renaissance village of Borssele itself.

“The squares of Borssele” won BoschSlabbers the Zeeland Architecture Prize in 2000. Together with the municipality of Borssele, BoschSlabbers also published an atlas of the landscape and its squares. More about these richly illustrated atlases can be found here (Dutch).

Slotstraat Baarland
interesting detail

Heerenstraat and Kuijpersdijk

A square was added to the centre of the village of ‘s-Heerenhoek, due to the demolition of houses on one side of the Kuijpersdijk. The location itself had little beauty to offer: the dike had been sown with grass after demolition of the houses, and the space was rather blandly divided into two parts. Where the houses once stood, the ground surface was lower; this became the Heerenstraat. This street would quickly transform into the leisure street of the village, whereas the Kuijpersdijk mainly retained its function for traffic.

In the redevelopment plan, it was decided to make the Heerenstraat ground floors as spacious as possible, and to match interiors to the existing catering facilities and shops. Extra room was created by a brick retaining wall, running over the entire length of the square. As a result, the ground floor of the Heerenstraat gains in intimacy, independent from the Kuijpersdijk. This is also reflected in the paving, which has a special motif running from the building facades to the wall. After completion, the redesigned centre of the `Paerehat` (the village’s alternative name during carnival) was, how could it be otherwise, opened by carnival Prince Richard!

Adding character to the youngest village

The long and winding Postweg is newly interrupted in Lewedorp by the construction of two new squares. Traffic speed will decrease accordingly. It also marks the return of high-quality usage space to the village. The centre will be fully paved with baked clay clinkers. The church square will be rearranged, to return the church to its former position on the square. The green square at the ‘vaete’ (extinguishing pond) is extended with a square of ornamental cherry trees. The head of the vaete offers space for small-scale development of apartments for the elderly. As a result, Lewedorp has acquired a real ‘Borssele’ character, with squares that show both its typical paving and its abundant green.

From wear & tear to allure

For the ‘Plein’ (main square) in Borssele, BoschSlabbers made a restoration plan, both for the edges and the middle section of the square. The edges were designed in consultation with residents. Proposals were made to create unity among the gardens along the edges. A list of plants appropriate in the historical context of the Plein was drawn up, from which residents could choose. In addition, whitebeams were replaced by field maples (Queen Elisabeth). Another important intervention turned out to be the addition of a beech hedge along the entire façade length of the Plein. This hedge provided a boundary for the messy gardens along the facades, and restored the Plein’s allure.

Project data

Title: Squares of Borssele

Location: Heinkenszand, 's-Heerenhoek, 's-Gravenpolder, Baarland, Borssele, 's-Heer Abtskerke, Lewedorp

Size: 15-20 squares, streets and parks

Client: Ministerie van VROM

Contractor: Municipality of Borsele

Cooperation: Gemeente Borsele, RDH

Duration: 1992-2012

Type: vision, master plan, redesign, design, execution

Prize/publication: Zeeuwse Architectuurprijs 2000 / Polders en Pleinen van het Landschapspark Borsele (J.W. Bosch, Gemeente Borsele, 2018).

Image credits: BoschSlabbers, Edwin Paree