The Fortress town of Zaltbommel offers you a hearty welcome
Within the ramparts and walls of Zaltbommel there is much to see and do. The imposing St. Maartenskerk (St. Martin’s Church) and the Museum Stadskasteel Zaltbommel are well worth a visit, and do not miss the beautiful old facades.
Shopping in Zaltbommel with its lovely atmosphere is an experience in itself, particularly when them chimes of the Gasthuistoren ring out over the town. When you wish you can relax in one of the pubs and restaurants that you will find in Zaltbommel.
Many illustrious visitors have been here before you:
- Karl Marx, a cousin of the Philips family, who, in the winter of 1863/4, worked on “Das Kapital”.
- Liszt, in 1842, was attracted by the sound of the chimes and took the carillonneurs’s daughter, Suzanne Leenhoff, to Paris. There she met the painter Eduard Manet, who was married to her in the St. Maartenskerk (St. Martin’s Church).
History in a nutshell
The earliest recordings on Zaltbommel date back to 850 AD, at which time it was a small settlement, called “Bomela”. In 999 AD it was given rights of toll, coinage and “gruit”, which was a substance used to make beer ferment. In 1231 the settlement was given municipal rights by Count Otto II van Gelre. The town ramparts date back to those days.
In 1304 St. Maartens Church was consecrated as a Minster and at about the same time work started on the building of a new church. However, this new church was not completed in its present form until the end of the 15th Century. In the meantime the town had flourished. The population was mainly engaged in industry and trade. After 1629 the importance of Zaltbommel diminished somewhat. In that year Prince Frederik Hendrik conquered ‘s-Hertogenbosch, which took over the function of Border town. Also, navigation on the river Waal decreased, as a sandbank formed near the town.
However, Zaltbommel continued to be an important town. In the middle of the nineteenth century there was much industry. There were also no less than ten schools, one of which, the Latin School, was attended bij C.H.D. Buys Ballot, who subsequently founded the Dutch Weather Office. In 1869 a railway bridge was built and in 1933 a new road bridge was completed. This bridge is replaced in 1996 by a new one. Not until after World War II did the town begin to extend again and nowadays it has more than 10.000 inhabitants. There are plenty of reminders of Zaltbommel’s rich history to make a walk through the town or on the ramparts well worthwhile.