Bergen op Zoom (bĕrˈgən ôp zōmˈ) [key], town (1994 pop. 47,483), North Brabant prov., SW Netherlands, on the Zoom River near its confluence with the Eastern Scheldt. It is a commercial and fishing port that manufactures chemicals, machinery, plastics, and refined sugar. It was chartered c.1260 and was a major commercial rival of Antwerp until the 16th cent., when a new delta system from the Eastern Scheldt cut it off from neighboring countries. The town was repeatedly besieged by the Spanish and French in the wars from the 16th to the 18th cent., and by the English in 1814. Historic buildings include the town hall (14th cent.), a 15th-century church ( Groote Kerk ), and the Markiezenhof palace.