French for 'bulwark'
The earthen walls around Retranchement [Truzement] were built in 1607, during the Eighty Years' War (1568-1648), to protect Zwingeul from the Spaniards. The old ramparts have now been reclaimed by nature.
Retranchement mill
The ramparts offer a good view of the tower mill dating from 1818. Have you ever heard of wind rights? The very first owner of the mill, Bartolemeus de Vos, had to pay a rent of three guilders per year to use the wind.
The Retranchement triplets
Retranchement is the most south-westerly of West Zeelandic Flanders on the border between the Netherlands and Belgium. The Retranchement triplets are three border posts, in a dead straight line, with the same number. That's right, three posts instead of one. Why? The village lies on the Zwin, and when the poles were erected, the border ran straight through the water. As such, a post was placed on either side of the bank to mark it. After the further poldering of the Zwin in 1873, these two posts were left in place, and a new border post was erected at the actual boundary.
We look forward to seeing you in Retranchement! 💛