People often look at Amsterdam or other centrally located cities when they think about visiting the Netherlands. But did you know that the south of this little country is filled with heartwarming, peaceful towns that will win you over in a heartbeat? The Halderberge municipality is most certainly one such place, whether you’re just stopping by for a short visit or intend on staying long-term.
TEXT: EMMA WESSELING | PHOTOS: HALDERBERGE
Halderberge is a small municipality that comprises villages like Oudenbosch, Hoeven, and Oud Gastel. Located in the west of Brabant province, it’s just two short train rides away from Rotterdam and other central cities. The name Halderberge symbolises a collective past of when monks put down the base for the villages of Gastel, Hoeven and Oudenbosch in the Sint Bernard abbey.
Stepping into Oudenbosch means stepping into the Roman-catholic world. The ambiance of previous centuries can still be felt in the air and tasted through the food. A special icon from this time is the H.H. Agatha and Barbara basilica that was built between 1865 and 1892.
One of the most striking buildings in Hoeven has its roots in the time when Hoeven itself was founded. The building Bovendonk, currently being used as a conference centre, was designed by world renowned architect P.J. Cuypers, who is very famous for designing the Rijksmuseum (Amsterdam) among others. The beautiful, Neo-gothic building is definitely worth a visit. Bovendonk was built right on the place where the monks of St. Bernard abbey built the abbey farm.
Autumn and winter hikes
If you enjoy hiking, Halderberge is the place for you. The fall is perfect for taking strolls through the seemingly never-ending nature in areas like Gastels Laag, Hoevense Beemden and the Pagnevaartbos. The peat history of West-Brabant is still easy to see in some areas and there are specific walks and bicycle routes that will take you along the peat history.
Oudenbosch has city walks starting from the tourist information point (Stationsstraat 7). Your guide will lead you along the special buildings and museums in the town and tell you about the history and the rich Roman-catholic past of the Oudenbosch city centre and the municipality. The walks will take anywhere from 90 minutes to two and a half hours. Your preferences will be translated into a programme or arrangement, all depending on your needs and your group. The volunteers from the tourist information point will be waiting for you.
In 2017, the municipality started working on a second trail through the town, that connects monuments through an industrial and commercial perspective. Oudenbosch is very rich in monuments, but many of the fascinating stories behind the town’s heritage are still largely unknown to its visitors.
This second tour, that has now opened for the public, tells a fascinating story of the local families in Oudenbosch, their history and the history of their homes, industries and other properties.
It will guide you along places that you might not see if you were just merely visiting, like Kade 6, the former residence of Pieter Daverveldt. This house, dating from 1895, was built following a design by Van Genk, an architect from the nearby town of Bergen op Zoom. Daverveldt was the owner of sugar factory Daverveldt, Binck & Co, located near the harbour of Oudenbosch. The house, that was rebuilt to be a shop with an apartment on top, was demolished in 1998, but the beautiful façade was preserved and restored to its original state.
Snuggling up to some live music
Halderberge will be the place to be for some very exciting concerts in the coming months. These concerts will draw in visitors from all over the country. The impressive buildings in the municipality are the perfect décor for snuggling up and listening to some live music while enjoying the food and drinks the locations in the municipality have to offer.
Why not go and hear the Carmina Burana on 14 November, for instance, or watch the piano recital by Nino Gvetadze on the 22 November. If you visit the Christmas concert by the Oudenbosch Men’s Choir on 15 December, you’re truly in for a festive treat.
Information about tickets, booking or arrangements can be found on the tourist website: