The world-famous Delta Works, harbour channels throughout the island, the Westhoofd lighthouse, the Goedereede tower, the lookout tower on the Hellegat Platen and windmills scattered across the island are just some examples of sights to see on Goeree-Overflakkee—connecting water and nature.
Goedereede used to be surrounded by water. The small, but grandiose town was conveniently located adjacent to a large, undulating sea from which merchants and fishers sailed. For centuries, the tower of Goedereede served as a beacon for shipping. The silting up of the coastline caused the island to grow, making the beacon of Goedereede less and less visible. In 1911, the Westhoofd lighthouse was constructed. The lighthouse tower was destroyed by the German occupiers on 5 May 1945, at the end of the Second World War. The lighthouse was rebuilt in 1948, and in 2019 the national monument was given a fresh layer of purple-red paint. A must-see when you cycle along the North Sea coast.
The sea giveth, the sea taketh away. Being an island, Goeree-Overflakkee has a history that is irrefutably connected to the water. The water has given the island a lot, but the fear of flooding was ever-present. The St Elisabeth's Flood in 1421, the All Saint’ Flood in 1570 and the Flood Disaster of 1953 are moments in which the sea proved its capabilities. The now world-famous Delta Works had to prevent this from happening once and for all and protect the underlying areas. Goeree-Overflakkee is connected to Brouwersdam, the Haringvlietdam, the Philipsdam and the Volkerakdam.
There are many windmills, or gristmills to be precise, spread all over the island. Most of the windmills are groundsailers, but there are a few platform windmills. One windmill that is still operational is De Hoop, which still grinds flour every week. When possible, it runs on wind, but it has an electric motor for when there is insufficient wind.
The island is home to a plethora of historical buildings. In the atmospheric town of Middelharnis, in Flakkees called ‘Menheerse’, you will find, for example, the Town Hall, built-in 1639, popularly called ‘the Old Town Hall’. The Chicory drier Ceres in Ouddorp is also a special building. As suggested by the name, wild chicory used to be dried there. The plant is closely related to witloof and endive and was used, among other things, for surrogate coffee. Production stopped in the fifties but the striking building remained standing. The possibilities for further renovation are currently being investigated and prepared.