Ottoman traces in Zeeland

februari 2, 2020

We visited the Dutch province of Zeeland to look for traces of the Ottomans in the Netherlands.

The Ottoman state was one of the first to recognise the independence of the Netherlands way back to the era of the Dutch Republic. While European countries were ignoring the Dutch, the Ottoman recognition had a simple explanation: they had a common enemy. On of the places where the Dutch State Army fought the Spanish, was in Zeeland. This is also where the legends and traces we are looking for are situated. On our list are two Dutch towns: Turkeye and Sint Anne ter Muiden.


Turkeye is the first stop for today. This Dutch village is on our list for quite some time, but we didn’t had the opportunity to visit it. This was until today.

Turkeye is a village of Sluis, a municipality located in the west of Zeelandic Flanders. Even though the village is regular village in the province of Zeeland, the name Turkeye is probably an old spelling for Modern Dutch “Turkije” (Turkey / Türkiye). The name supposedly derives from relations between the Ottoman Turks and the Netherlands. It is strange however, since the Turks never referred their Empire as Türkiye until the foundation of the Republic of Turkey in 1923.

The history of Turkeye starts after the conquest of Sluis in 1604 by the State army. The defeated Spanish troops withdrew and left 1500 galley slaves, among whom a large number of Muslims from the Ottoman Empire, referred to in short as Turcken. The States-General decided to release these slaves and to send the Turks back to their homeland. Although the Turks never reached the Ottoman Empire, since they were once again enslaved in Marseille, the event did cause a friendship between the Ottomans and Dutch. By 1612, the Ottoman Empire recognized the Republic of the Seven United Netherlands, being the first country to officially recognize the Netherlands as an independent country.

Sint Anna ter Muiden

Sint Anna ter Muiden is a Dutch town in the province of Zeeland. It is located on the western-most point of the Netherlands (excluding the kingdom’s other countries and its special municipalities) and has with a population of 50 the status as the smallest Dutch city.

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