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To Etten-Leur and Breda, getting a taste of Brabant

Home -> Europe -> Netherlands -> Travelogue Netherlands -> 07 April 2006

Friday 07 April, to Etten-Leur and Breda, getting a taste of Brabant

Our last trip last month to North and South Holland were a surprise for us and encouraged us to more often visit places in the Netherlands. So we have planned to visit the provence North Brabant at the end of April. At the beginning of April, however, we can already take a taste of it since Teije has an appointment in Etten-Leur, which is why we have put this day also in the travel report. In the coming years we will try to spend more time in different parts of the Netherlands. This is partly because in our travel reports we regularly have (considerable) criticism about the lack of natural beauty, freedom and nice architecture in the Netherlands compared to other countries. Of course we have received many (hundreds of) e-mails, sometimes even very angry comments, so in fact we have no choice and should explore the Netherlands better.
And that also yields results, as we have already noticed that North and South Holland and specifically also the Randstad is greener and quieter in many places than in our prejudices, and that the historic city centers of the Golden Age can really be very charming.
Etten-LeurBut today we have to be in Etten-Leur, almost 3 hours from Groningen. The village is reasonably in the west of North Brabant. There is no South-Brabant, that area is simply called Brabant and is located in Belgium. There were originally two villages, Etten and Leur, and actually it is surprising in the crowded Netherlands that not many more names were taken from the names of two or more former villages.
The new center is a combination of old and new, but can not really inspire us to make beautiful pictures. After a cup of coffee on the old market square and handling the appointment of Teije we drive towards Breda. The weather is surprisingly beautiful and we can take off our coats. Along the way we pass the Liesbos and of course we have to get out of the car there; it is a beautiful, wooded area here.
Breda BredaOn entering Breda, we soon see the steeple of the Onze-Lieve-Vrouwe-Kerk (97 meters high) that marks the center of the city. We can park the car reasonably close to the center and then walk in the direction of the castle. People are working on the Gedempte Haven, on the internet we read that it is to bring the river Mark (also called Dintel) back to the heart of the city.
Dove tower of the castle at BredaWe enter the city center through the Spanjaardsgat (Spanish hole), the water gate near the castle. The name refers to the hole that the Spaniards left in their defense in 1590 during the 80-year war. It is the place where a peat ship entered Breda like a horse of Troje, with soldiers inside it, but in reality this would not be the right place. In any case, Breda was recaptured by Prins Maurits from the Spaniards and with that he established his name as a warlord, which also gave the Oranjes more power.
Onze-Lieve-Vrouwe Church, Breda Onze-Lieve-Vrouwe Church, BredaIt is not far to the city center and it gets so nice and warm in the sun that we sit down on a terrace for some timne. The first day that the weather is nice this year and we have a day off, great! In the Grote or Onzezelievevrouwe Church there are several members of the Oranjes before they became royal. William of Orange was the first of the family to be buried in Delft because Breda was occupied by the Spaniards at his death.
Oranjes is the name in Dutch for the members of the Orange family.
The center of BredaWe walk a bit through the city and enjoy the beautiful weather. There are several nice places in the town such as the Beguinage and the Grote Markt with historic buildings. After a long stroll we walk back towards the car and go back home. In a few weeks we will stay in North Brabant for 5 days and this was a nice preview.


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