WVO Zeeland, Netherlands


WVO is a care organisation in the cities of Vlissingen (Flushing), Middelburg and Veere, The Netherlands. WVO has 8 nursing homes, 1 hospice, 4 day-care projects and home care More than 1200 professionals and 700 volunteers provide care and services to 3500 care clients 24 hours an day, 7 days a week.

WVO has a specialism in the care of older people with dementia and believes that people with dementia can lead active lives in the community, though necessarily with some restrictions. An important element of their work is to bring care and culture together and to use art as a way of communicating with dementia sufferers.

WVO works from the following vision. Clients and family let in the meetings clearly know that they themselves wish to organize their lives, as long as possible want to be independent and want to continue to do things themselves. They want to be herein supported and facilitated by an involved and knowledgeable staff and volunteers who have time and space to get to know them and from there be able to connect to the opportunities that everyone has.

The facility is set up like a small care city. The welfare of the (nursing home) residents is considered of great importance. Therefore, much attention is paid to exercise, art and culture. We have eg. two art-workshops, a fitness center and an extensive cultural program. The vision is that people who live enjoyable and can make use of an attractive wellness offerings require less care.

Within the facility they have space dedicated to working with artists, an academic room, restaurants, music rooms etc. The specialist art studios are used by both residents and people with dementia living at home.

Small scale is found in all parts of the organization. In our nursing homes, we work according to the concept of small-scale housing. In a nursing home stay 6-8 residents. The vision here is ‘just like home’. Everything is just like home made, it does run the errands, cooked on the group, domestic work (including washing) is done by the employees. Where possible, clients are involved in these daily activities.


Vlissingen is a municipality and a city in the southwestern Netherlands on the former island of Walcheren. With its strategic location between the Schelde river and the North Sea, Vlissingen has been an important harbour for centuries. It was granted city rights in 1315. In the 17th century Vlissingen was a main harbour for ships of the Dutch East India Company (VOC). It is also known as the birthplace of Admiral Michiel de Ruyter.

The fishermen’s hamlet that came into existence at the estuary of the Schelde around AD 620 has grown over its 1,400-year history into the third-most important port of the Netherlands. The Counts of Holland, Flanders, and Zeeland had the first harbours dug. Over the centuries, Vlissingen developed into a hub for fishing, especially the herring fishery, commerce, privateering and the slave trade. During the heyday of the Dutch Golden Age, ships from Vlissingen set sail for the various outposts of the Dutch colonial empire and contributed to the world power of The Seven Provinces.

The history of Vlissingen was also marked by invasion, oppression and bombardments. Because of its strategic position at the mouth of the Schelde, the most important passageway to Antwerp, it has attracted the interest, at one time or another, of the British, the French, the Germans and the Spanish. Floods have also been a constant threat. Vlissingen declined during the 18th century. The Napoleonic Wars were particularly disastrous. After 1870, the economy revived after the construction of new docks and the Walcheren canal, the arrival of the railway and the establishment of the shipyard called De Schelde. The Second World War interrupted this growth. The city was heavily damaged by shelling and inundation but was captured and liberated by British Commandos of 4th Special Service Brigade on 3 November 1944.

The city was rebuilt after the war. In the 1960s, the seaport and industrial area of Vlissingen-Oost developed and flourished. Now this area is the economic driving force behind central Zeeland, generating many thousands of jobs. Nowadays approx. 50,000 ships annually from all corners of the world pass through the Schelde. Tourists are attracted to Vlissingen not just because of its history and maritime character, but also because nowhere else in the world do large ships pass this close to shore.


Middelburg is a municipality and a city in the south-western Netherlands and the capital of the province of Zeeland.  It  has a population of about 48,000.

The city of Middelburg dates back possibly to the late 8th century or early 9th century. The first mention of Middelburg was as one of three fortified towns (i.e., borgs) erected on Walcheren (then an island) to guard against Viking raids. In 844 a monastery was built on the site, which remained an active Catholic foundation until the Reformation. Foundations for Middelburg’s “stately and picturesque” cathedral (one of only two pre-Reformation cathedrals in The Netherlands, along with St. Martin’s in Utrecht) were first laid in the 10th century; additional construction continued through the Middle Ages.

Middelburg was granted city rights in 1217. During the Middle Ages, it became an important trading centre in the commerce between England and the rising cities of Flanders. The town continued to gain in power and prestige during the 13th and 14th centuries. In the 17th century (the Dutch Golden Age), Middelburg became, after Holland’s metropolis Amsterdam, the most important center for the East India Company of Republic of the Seven United Netherlands (VOC) or Dutch East India Company.

Middelburg played an important role in the 17th century slave trade.

About a third of the old city centre was devastated by bombs and fire in the early phases of World War II, on May 17, 1940, it is still not sure whether it were German bombers or French artillery. The town was captured and liberated by British troops during Operation Infatuate on 5 November 1944. After the War, as much of the destroyed part of the old town center was rebuilt and restored along pre-War lines as possible. The city’s archives, however, had been incinerated during the German bombardment.

Modern Middelburg has preserved and regained much of its historic and picturesque character. There are lavish 17th and 18th century merchant houses and storehouses standing along canals, of a similar style as found in cities like Amsterdam. The old city moats are still there, as are two of the city gates, the Koepoort Gate and the varkenspoort Gate. Part of the 18th century moat and defence works, however, were demolished in the 19th century to make way for a commercial canal that crosses Walcheren from Vlissingen to Veere. The medieval abbey is still in use today, as a museum and as the seat of the provincial government.