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The Church of Veere

Anne-Mary Paterson reflects on the history and legacy of the first overseas Church of Scotland.

I WAS on a river cruise in the Netherlands and Belgium. A place called Veere was on the itinerary. Imagine my surprise when I found that the first Church of Scotland on foreign soil was established there.

Veere, now on the land-locked island of Walcheron, has a picturesque harbour which until the floods of 1947, was open to the North Sea.

Scotland had been trading with the Low Countries since the 12th century but when there was a surplus of Scottish wool, the monks at Melrose Abbey exported the surplus to Flanders which did not charge duty. At first it went to Bruges but due to the river silting up, the merchants moved to Middleburg in the 16th century.

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