Zeeland, also called Zealand in English and Zeelandic, is a province of the Netherlands. The province, located in the south-west of the country, consists of a number of islands (hence its name, meaning "sea-land") and a strip bordering Belgium. Its capital is Middelburg. Tourism is an important economic activity. Its sunny beaches make it a popular holiday destination in the summer.The province of Zeeland is a large river delta situated at the mouth of several major rivers. Most of the province lies below sea level and was reclaimed from the sea by inhabitants over time. What used to be a muddy landscape, flooding at high tide and reappearing at low tide, became a series of small man-made hills that stayed dry at all times. The people of the province would later connect the hills by creating dikes, which led to a chain of dry land that later grew into bigger islands and gave the province its current shape. The shape of the islands has changed over time at the hands of both man and nature. The North Sea flood of 1953 inundated vast amounts of land that were only partially reclaimed. The subsequent construction of the Delta Works also changed the face of the province. The infrastructure, although very distinct by the amount of bridges, tunnels and dams, has not shaped the geography of the province so much as the geography of the province has shaped its infrastructure. The dams, tunnels and bridges that are currently a vital part of the province's road system were constructed over the span of decades and came to replace old ferry lines. The final touch to this process came in 2003 when the Western Scheldt Tunnel was opened. It was the first solid connection between both banks of the Westerschelde and ended the era of water separating the islands and peninsulas of Zeeland.
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