Taste the long history of the Dutch Brabants

Visiting the Noordbrabants museum in ‘s-Hertogenbosch

If you have just arrived in The Netherlands you probably cannot imagine that in such a small country there can be such great differences between north and south. However if you live in the south of the country you can feel that the culture here is different from the culture dominating Holland. When you walk around Amsterdam or Rotterdam or Den Haag the atmosphere is completely different from that of Eindhoven, Den Bosch or Breda. It’s something that you can feel but probably it’s difficult to explain.

Well, if you want to try to understand the cultural aspects typical of this part of Netherland a visit to the Noordbrabants museum in Den Bosch is a great way to start.
Here you can see how the rural character of the region evolved over the centuries toward an industrialized area sometimes in contrast with what was happening in the north of the country: for example there were eight years when s’ Hertogenbosch sided with Spain against the States General represented by North Holland. The contraposition between the catholic beliefs of south Netherlands versus the northern protestants is still evident nowadays in the large number of catholic churches present here.
However history and religion are not the only differences. From the artistic point of view you can first admire the unique painting of Jeronimus Bosch. Then spend some time contemplating the landscapes paintings of Jan Sluijters, who is also from Den Bosch. Finally put yourself into the shoes of a poor Brabants peasant looking at the early paintings of Van Gogh, who spent an important period of his life in Nuenen, a town few kilometers from Eindhoven.
There is a special exhibition about the works of Marjolein Bastin which runs until January 3rd. If you are a bird watcher or a keen observer of wild animals, do not loose the opportunity to visit her paintings: it is a bit like watching a documentary on “Discovery Channel” about the North Brabant’s fauna!
For full details on how to get there and opening times, go to www.noordbrabantsmuseum.nl
by Maurizio Zaccheddu

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