The Zeeland Annual Mussel festival (Mosselen Festival Zeeland), Netherlands takes place in three coastal towns in the southwest of the Netherlands at the end of July to August. A large number of tourists have a chance to witness the traditional Holland architecture of the villages and to enjoy the freshest mussels at a reasonable price.
Several features of mussels
In Dutch, mossel is a singular noun, meanwhile mosselen is the plural form. It is similar to “Chem chép” or “vẹm” (kind of mussel) in Vietnam. Mussel is a category of mollusc. Annually, the larvaes of mussels are grown in Oosterschelde and Waddezee; perfect places for their maturation. Millions of larvaes move freely, swim along sea banks and estuaries. About one month later, the shell is formed. Mosselen which become mosselzaad get heavier and sink to the sea bottom. The byssus threads around the stem of mussels like a “beard” function as feet to move, or stick together or stick to sea bottom. Seaweed is their main source of nutrition. When mussels reach 6-7 cm in length, they are qualified to be consumed on the market.
Mussels raised in Waddezee Bay are considered the specialty of Zeedland. However, all mussels in Holland are cleaned from sand in Oosterschelde Bay. Mussels have become a special dish of Zeeland in particular and of Holland in gereral.
The days of mussel festival takes place throughout the coastal towns in Zeeland, but mainly in Yerseke, Bruinisse and Zierikzee. The traditional mussel days in Yerseke often occur on Saturday, Tuesday of annual August, meanwhile, the aquacultural day starts from the middle of July this year in Bruinisse. The Zierikzee port holds its festival at the end of August.
Uponarriving in Zeeland for this occasion, the tourists can easily see the culinary roads nested along key cannals leading to the sea. You can taste all of the regional and national specialities. With a small amount of money you can buy a fish or several hot fried breaded shrimps, or other fast foods like meatballs, burger and French fries. Vietnamese tourists will find it surprising when they catch a glimpse of mobile kiosks selling Spring roll ( Nem) next to trolleys with local food. Unwittingly, the Nem of Vietnam has become part of local gourmet at these markets and festivals. Such mobile booths can be found everywhere from big cities to small villages.
Of course, mussels are the most treasured feature at Mussel festivals. However, in order to fully enjoy this sea food, thousands of tourists will be taken to the harvest place of mussels on a big fishing boat. If they are lucky enough, they can meet the “Sea God” fished out by that boat. In fact, a local artist disguises as the “sea god” to make the festival more exciting, especially for children. In Zierikzee, on the way to theestuaries, the visitors can see the vast water, sky and the majesty of the Zeeland bridge,once the world’s longest.
When the boat disembarks, it is the high time for tourists to enjoy musselswhich are caught fishermen. The spreading fragrance stimulates all tourists’ appetite. Although they have to queue , they keep smilling and are eager. Like friends, they often tease each other with humorous jokes. Everyone can enjoy the delicious fresh food.The price of mussels is much cheaper than that at a restaurant.
Afterwards, the tourists take a walk to the central streets, viewing the featured architecture. At that time, they can’t help browsing in souvenir shops and a terrace full of diverse products. Those who crave quiet or a private space often wander on coastal roads or secluded streets. Each person has their own way to enjoy this mussel festival.
Dutch style Mussel recipe for 4 people
+ 4 kg of mussel
+ 2 white onion
+ 2 Bay leaves
+ 2 big branches of leek
+ Grinded pepper
+ 1 cube-sliced carrot
+ Some big branches of celery
+ White wine ( can be replaced by beer of plain water)
First, put all vegetables and wine in a big pot with thin bottom, then add mussels. Cover the lid and srimmer in 10 minutes. The food is ready when mussels open mouth. Noticeably, mussels must be cooked under high heat quickly, thus, use a pot with a thin bottom. The Dutch often serve mussle with cream garlic sauce, or you can enjoy without any sauce.
How to get there?
From Rotterdam center station, it takes about 9 minutes to get to the metro stop on foot. Then move to metro D towards De Akkers to reach Metro Zuidplein Rotterdam. Here take the bus No. 136 towards Ouddorp ZH to get to Oude Tongue bus stop. Next, take the bus No.133 towards Middelburg. Remember to get off at Dorp Bruinisse stop (ask drivers for sure).
From Schiphol international airport or any central stations of any cities in Holland or Belgium, the tourists can buy tickets to Kruiningen-Yerseke station. Then find a bus which specifically serves for the festival at a price of only € 4 for two ways. In particular, this bus commutes continuously between Kruiningen-Yerseke and Yerseke town until 6pm.
From Rotterdam center station, it takes about 9 minutes to get to metro stop on foot. Then move to metro D towards De Akkers to reach Metro Zuidplein Rotterdam. Here take the bus No. 136 towards Ouddorp ZH to get to Oude Tongue bus stop. Next, take the bus No.133 towards Middelburg to get to Zierikzee.