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Breda

Breda is a municipality and a city in the southern part of the Netherlands. The name Breda derived from brede Aa ('wide Aa') and refers to the confluence of the rivers Mark and Aa.

As a fortified city, the city was of strategic military and political significance. Although a direct Fiefdom of the Holy Roman Emperor, the city obtained a municipal charter; the acquisition of Breda, through marriage, by the house of Nassau ensured that Breda would be at the center of political and social life in the Low Countries.

History
Surrender of Breda, by Diego Velázquez.In the 11th century, Breda was a direct fief of the Holy Roman Emperor, its earliest known lord being Henry of Brunesheim (1080–1125). The city of Breda obtained a municipal charter in 1252. After that Breda had the rights to build fortifications. The city constructed brick walls and Roman-style gates.

In 1327 Adelheid of Gaveren Breda sold Breda to John III, Duke of Brabant. In 1350, the fief was resold to John II of Wassenaar (d. 1377). In 1403 the heiress of his line, Johanna of Polanen (1392–1445), married Engelbert I of Nassau (1370–1442). Through her, the city came into the possession of the house of Nassau, where it remained until 1795, passing to William I of Orange (1533–1584), stadtholder of Holland, Zeeland and Utrecht and leader of the Dutch revolt. Thus the baron of Breda was also count of Nassau, Germany, Prince of Orange and stadtholder of the Dutch Republic (from 1572–1650, 1672–1702, 1747–1795). Breda remained part of the barony Breda until it was taken by French revolutionary forces in 1795.

Residence city
The acquisition of the city by the House of Orange-Nassau marked its emergence as a residenzstadt (residence city). The presence of the Orange-Nassau family attracted other nobles, who built palatial residences in the old quarters of the city. The most impressive one, built by the Italian architect Thomas Vincidor de Bologna for the first Dutch prince, was the first renaissance style built palace north of the Alps. In the 15th century the city's physical, economic and strategic importance expanded rapidly. A great church was built in Brabantine Gothic style with a gallant 97 metres (318 ft) high tower, called Grote Kerk (main church) or also Onze Lieve Vrouwe Kerk (Church of Our Lady). In 1534 Henry III of Nassau-Breda rebuilt the modest medieval fortifications in impressive style.
This colorized 17th century copperplate depicts the destruction, rape, and pillage of Breda: soldiers are killing men and women and the city is burning.

In 1534 a fire destroyed over 90 percent of the city, close to 1300 houses, churches and chapels and the town hall. Only 150 houses and the main church remained. In July of 1581, during the Eighty Years' War, Breda was captured by surprise by Spanish troops then under the command of Claudius van Barlaymont, whose sobriquet was Haultpenne (Siege of Breda (1581)). Although the city had surrendered upon the condition that it would not be plundered, the troops vented their fury upon the inhabitants. In the resulting mayhem, known as Haultpenne's Fury, over 500 citizens were killed. In March of 1590, Breda fell back into the hands of the Dutch and Maurice of Nassau, when a 68 men hand-picked force, concealed under the turf of a peat-boat, had contrived to enter the city in a daring plan devised by Adriaen van Bergen (Siege of Breda (1590)). The so-called Spaniards Hole marks the spot where the peat-boat allegedly lay, although this has not been historically proven.

After a ten-month siege in 1624–25, the city surrendered to the Spaniards under Spinola; the event was immortalized by Diego Velázquez. In 1637 Breda was recaptured by Frederick Henry of Orange after a four-month siege, and in 1648 it was finally ceded to the Dutch Republic by the Treaty of Westphalia.

Stuart exiles
The exiled Stuart pretender Charles II of England resided in Breda during most of his exile during the Cromwellian Commonwealth and Protectorate, thanks to the proximity of Charles's sister Mary, Princess Royal, the widow of Prince William II of Orange.

Based mostly on suggestions by Parliamentarian General George Monck, Charles II's Declaration of Breda (1660) made known the conditions of his acceptance of the crown of England which he was to accept/resume later in the same year.

The Treaty of Breda was signed in the city, July 31, 1667, bringing to an end the Second Anglo-Dutch War in which the Dutch faced the same Charles II who had been their guest. Between 1746 and 1748 it was the site of the Congress of Breda a series of talks between Britain and France aimed at bringing an end to the War of the Austrian Succession, which ultimately led to the signing of the Treaty of Aix-la-Chapelle.

Main sights
Breda centre Grote MarktThe city center contains old buildings and portions of the singels (moats) and the harbour. Focal point is the Grote Markt, the main square with pubs and sidewalk cafes.

Park Valkenberg is a major public park, halfway between the main railway station Breda and the Grote Markt.

major historic buildings include:

* The Grote Kerk (Large Church) or Onze Lieve Vrouwe Kerk (Church of Our Lady), a major example of the Brabant style of Gothic Architecture.
* The Castle of Breda.
* The Begijnhof, a Beguinage.
* Saint Anthony's Cathedral (Sint-Antoniuskathedraal), the cathedral church of the Roman Catholic Diocese of Breda.
* City hall.
* The Spanjaardsgat, a 16th-century water gate.

Culture
For the numerous music events is the Chasse Theater.

Redheadday is a festival that takes place each first weekend of September. The two-day festival is a gathering of people with natural red hair, but is also focused on art related to the colour red. Activities during the festival are lectures, workshops and demonstrations. The festival attracts attendance from 20 countries and is free due to sponsorship of the local government.
Museums

Breda hosts the following museums:
* Breda's Museum
* Begijnhof Breda Museum
* Generaal Maczek Museum
* Bier Reclame Museum
* MOTI (Museum of the Image) before the Graphic Design Museum
* NAC Museum
* Heemkundig Museum Paulus van Daesdonck
* Museum Oorlog & Vrede [War and Peace Museum]
* Stichting Princenhaags Museum

Map (Google Maps) of Breda

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