Saeftinghe used to be a city in Zeeland, The Netherlands that was the most prosperous land thanks to its fertile soil. However, the people of the city grew vain and greedy. It’s rumored that their vanity was so high that the people of Saeftinghe all wore clothing made of silk. Their horses had hoofs made of silver and the pavement in their city was made of gold. Anyone who would come to beg or tried to immigrate would be chased out of the city with sticks and dogs.
One day a fisherman caught a mermaid in a net. The mermaid warned him that if he did not let her go a great tragedy would befall him. Before the fisherman could reply the husband of the mermaid came to shore and asked him if he could free his wife. The fisherman laughed and called him all kind of bad things. In his anger the merman told the fisherman: “The lands of Saeftinghe will fall, only its towers will stand tall!” as he disappeared back into the water.
The people of Saeftinghe forgot to take care of their dikes while being too preoccupied with their wealth. A lady went to the well to get some water and found fish swimming inside. Not long after the water had turned salty, a tidal wave demolished everything and killed everyone in the process.
The towers however continued to stand until they all eventually sunk in the mud.
It is said that on a foggy day you can hear the church bells toll and see the ghosts of the people who drowned walk; stuck in their once glorious past.
Saeftinghe is in modern times a nature reserve and the biggest brackish intertidal area in all of Europe. Not everything of the reserve is open for free visits, because of natural dangers a tourguide is required for most of the reserve. More info on their website: https://www.saeftinghe.eu/en/
This post was originally posted on July 8th 2020