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Tilburg Travel Guide

Central Tilburg (photo by Michielverbeek - Creative Commons Attribution-Share Alike 3.0 Unported license)


Tilburg (pop. 200,000) is the largest city of the province of North Brabant. Tilburg is one of the newest cities in the Benelux; it was only founded in 1809. It is home to to University of Tilburg (formerly the Catholic University of Brabant), and students make up 15% of the city's population (the highest ratio in the country).

Each July takes place the Tilburgse Kermis, a 10 day-long funfair, which also happens to be the largest in the Benelux. The city is also known for its carnival (Kruikenstad).


Heuvelse Kerk, Tilburg (photo by M.Minderhoud - GNU/GFDL license)

Although te name of the place was mentioned as early as 709, Tilburg was not mentioned as a seigneury until the 14th century. The first castle was built in the next century, but would be destroyed in 1858. Tilburg was only granted city status in 1809, at which time the population did not exceed 9,000 inhabitants.

Tilburg grew as a herd place, a collective pastureland for flocks of sheep. The sheep provided wool, and soon the locals wove their own clothes. During the Industrial Revolution, looms turned into mill houses, and the local economy boomed, making of Tilburg the wool capital of the Netherlands. In 1881, Tilburg had some 145 woollen mills. The wool industry lasted well into the 20th century, before collapsing in the 1980's.

King William II (1792-1849) took a liking for the place and built a palace there (only completed a few months after his death). In 1987, an obelisk was erected near the palace in his memory. The local football team and a school were also named after William II.



There aren't many things to visit in Tilburg. The only places of interests are the white palace of William II (not so impressive though), or maybe also St. Joseph's Church. Let's also note the Westpoint Tower (141.5m high), completed in 2004, which is the tallest residential building in the Netherlands.


How to get there

Tilburg is on the E312 (A58) motorway between Breda (30km) and Eindhoven (35km). The N65 links it to 's Hertogenbosch (30km). Coming from Den Haag (105km), Rotterdam (85km), Antwerp (100km) or Brussels (150km), take the E19 to Breda, then the E312.

There are frequent direct trains to/from Utrecht (1h), Rotterdam (45min), Breda (15min), 's Hertogenbosch (15min) and Nijmgen (50min). Trains to/from Amsterdam (1h25min) require a change at 's Hertogenbosch, while those to/from Brussels (2h10min) or Antwerp (1h20min) transit through Roosendaal.

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