Breda is a quiet student town in the south of the Netherlands, halfway between Rotterdam and Antwerp. Voted the “Best City Centre of Holland” until 2011, Breda is home to a cosy mix of pubs, bistros, and fantastic shopping opportunities.
Beautiful and historical, Breda shows many signs of its past, with monuments and memorials dotted around the city. The major landmark in the historic city centre is the tower of the Grote or Onze Lieve Vrouwe Kerk (the Church of Our Lady). Taking a massive 125 years to build, it is richly decorated on the outside, and despite the effects of the Reformation in 1566 it still has a remarkable interior. The Castle of Breda was home to the dutch royal family of Nassau, until the 80-year war with Spain broke out in 1568, when it became a historic military fortification. Since 1826 it has been home to the Royal Military Academy and is only open to the public on special occasions.
If you fancy a picturesque canal cruise, Breda is the place. The skippers from Breda welcome you aboard to one of their small boats, giving you an hour long tour on the canals of Breda with their wonderful humped bridges, which are situated along the old city centre. The canals also indicated the former city borders and this tour will give you a whole other perspective on the city. Tours are available from late April until the end of October and depart from the harbour in Breda. Bookings can be made at the local tourist board.
Every year about a quarter of a million visitors from all over the world make their way to Breda for this oldest and largest open air jazz festival in Holland. The festival consists of around two hundred free entry concerts which are performed at fifteen different outdoor stages all throughout Breda. As well as the outdoor performances, there are also some indoor concerts at the Onze Lieve Vrouwekerk Cathedral and at the Kasteelplein(Castle Square).
Travelling to Breda by Ferry
With less than 90 minutes driving from all three of the ports in Holland, taking the ferry to Breda is great way of visiting this great little city.