In 1339 Hoogerheide was referred to as a feudal estate, situated 'on die Hoeghe heide' (on the high heath) which was pledged to Gerard Hermanszoon. The high location of the area in relation to Nederheide was apparently something worthy of note. In 1353 the feudal estate received the status of manor, which - apart from the feudal tie - was independent from the marquisate of Bergen op Zoom and this situation continued for more than four hundred years. In 1761, when the last marquis of Bergen op Zoom succeeded in buying the rights, the Manor of Hoogerheide became part of the marquisate of Bergen op Zoom. In 1795 Hoogerheide became a municipality. Since 1821 Hoogerheide has been twin village with Woensdrecht. The major developments which Hoogerheide has gone through are mostly due to its position on the route between Antwerp and Bergen op Zoom. The ribbon developments are evidence to this.
Hoogerheide is (just like the other centres of the municipality of Woensdrecht) situated on the Brabant Wall, a gravity slope or zoom which forms the link between the high sandy soils and the sea clay polders situated lower down. Because of its height, which at Hoogerheide is up to a maximum of 22 metres above NAL (Normal Amsterdam Level), the gravity slope is a very conspicuous element in the landscape. The Brabant Wall most likely originates from the Pleistocene, the period of the Ice age which started some 1.6 to 2 million years ago. Under the influence of tidal movements, clay and sand were alternately deposited. Through large scale movements in the soil, the run of the Rhine and the Maas shifted northeastwards and the Scheldt made its appearance in this area. For tens of thousands of years this river has chipped away at the sand and clay of the Wall and left a steep slope. Later, when it became warmer and the sea levels rose, (in the Holocene, 10,000 years ago), the sea to the West of the slope deposited thick layers of clay. On the higher ground mostly sand drifts occurred on which the expansive woods were established which now cover the Brabant Wall.
In the sixteenth century, the area was described as: "the higher, middle and lower manor, with taxes, fractions, ground money of the beer, fishery rights in the Scheldt, shooting rights on birds, shooting rights of rabbits, wild fowl, geese etc., levies on grains, pigs, bees, sheep and geese." At the time it included lower meadows and a wood. In that period the village only had 19 dwellings.
Originally it was a purely agricultural community. Many people had their own small farm on the sandy soils, which was kept going with the help of the whole family. In the last quarter of the nineteenth century a new form of industry developed: the brick and roof tiles industry. The agricultural character remained dominant however until the middle of the twentieth century.
The Second World War
The Second World War brought many changes to Hoogerheide. The village had much to endure, especially during the liberation days in October 1944. Many houses and public buildings were destroyed and there were a large number of casualties.
The reconstruction was, however, energetically taken in hand and one of the results of the war (and of the flood disaster of 1953) was that the agricultural character of the village largely disappeared. Agriculture changed from man power into machine power and many people, who up until now had made a livelihood in agriculture, looked for new opportunities in the fast developing industry, the trade, and service sector. Companies such as Franerex, Aviolanda and the military air base provided new large scale employment.
Amalgamation of local government
Up until 1 January 1997, Hoogerheide and Woensdrecht together formed one municipality. On that date Huijbergen, Ossendrecht, Putte, and Woensdrecht were added which means that the municipality now consists of 21,000 inhabitants. Hoogerheide, the largest of the five centres, is still the main centre of the municipality. The town hall and a large number of services relating to education, recreation, and trades people are still located here. It is a pleasant community with a forward looking attitude.
See also Small Monuments Route Hoogerheide