Cycle route Heroes of West Zeeuws-Vlaanderen
Sluis, Oostburg, Aardenburg
A few beers too many can turn you into a folk hero. This is what happened to Jantje van Sluis. After Prince Maurice had conquered Sluis from the Spaniards, they tried to regain the town in 1606. As a diversionary tactic, the Spaniards deployed an army south of the town, but the real attack was to come at the Oostpoort, when the clock struck. Jantje van Sluis had been to the fair that day and had had a little too much to drink. So he had his son and nephew wind the clock. In their inexperience, they wound the mechanism too tightly and the clock failed to strike. The Spaniards thought it was treason and therefore did not dare to take the town. Jantje van Sluis thus became the hero of Sluis. His statue can be found in the Sluis Belfry, where he strikes the bell every quarter of an hour.
Oostburg is easy to recognise: you can see the 55 metre high water tower almost everywhere. The white tower has been decorated by artist Johnny Beerens with enormous water drops that look just like the real thing. However, the tower no longer contains water; it now serves as a residence. The Spaniards also tried to take Aardenburg by trickery: disguised as farmers, they wanted to blow up the gates with carts full of grenades. By the capture of a disguised farmer the Aardenburgers found out about the ruse and fired at the carts with cannons. In Aardenburg parts of the town walls can still be found.
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