New Zeeland: happy returns to the Netherlands coast

As a child, Caroline van Keeken hated family trips to this sleepy coast. But it’s now a popular holiday destination – and it turns out travelling with her livewire father is terrific fun

Twelve years ago, my father bought a holiday home in Zeeland, a coastal province in the southwestern Netherlands. Since then he only ever spends time at home – in Amsterdam – when his plants need watering.

According to the latest figures, over half of all tourists visiting the coast of Zeeland are Dutch. As a child, I spent many a holiday here. However, during these brief escapes to Zeeland I always longed to escape back to Amsterdam. I did not know what to do with myself amid the endless, deathly quiet fields of maize, and the locals my age whose dialect I could not understand. Besides, I had secret but no less serious plans to launch an international career as the Dutch Britney Spears, so these seaside holidays did not suit me.

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