It was his birthday. And the day before it had been mine. That’s why my love and me vowed we’d never give each other birthday gifts. Instead we do stuff together to celebrate. And that’s how I surprised him with a getaway to Breda last weekend. He had surprisingly never been there, even though it’s around the corner from our Rotterdam. There’s a lot to discover in the field of art, design, and architecture. We share some of our highlights in Breda, a typical Dutch city full of style.
Spotify tip while reading: Les Etoiles by Melody Gardot
Food and drinks in style
Breda is a city of the southern sorts. That means gezelligheid! They must have invented it, because the word knows no translation in other languages. Closest comes the word cosy, and the people of Breda rule it. Unlike our own Rotterdam, terraces fill the Breda streets and squares. It’s about enjoying food, drinks, and good company.
A few special places are the Grote Markt; the large former market square smack in the center of Breda, the bars along the Nieuwe Haven (new harbour), and the unique shopping garden ‘t Sas that has countless tasteful and tasty restaurants. I love the bar In kannen & kruiken with the cute terrace in the inner garden. It has colorful and stylish furniture and decoration and lovely teas and sunny-side-up eggs.
The highlights of Breda
In the field of architecture there’s so much to find in Breda. The first thing you see upon getting to Breda is the Grote Kerk, de large church. It’s a master piece from the (very) late Gothic period, early in the 15th century. Admire the painted ceilings, the light being filtered by the colored glass, and the abundantly decorated monuments. This is where the ancestors of the king of the Netherlands are buried, from the 15th and 16th century. Their graves are impressively marked. And finally, there are some super old wall paintings, still impressive to see. Admission is free, but if you care about it you can contribute a little for the maintenance of the church.
Then there’s the cute Begijnhof to visit. You don’t want to miss the typical houses, the little church, and the abundant plants and flowers in the garden. Especially idyllic in the spring and summer months. The hof is just next to the park at the entrance of the city, close to the train station. You still find some old foundations of the historical bastion that Breda used to be, between the monumental trees.
A little secret that I’ll share with you, dear reader. You’ll be one of the few to find it: the Willem Merkxtuin (garden). Barely visible from the outside, you enter it through a little gate, a little further in the same street as the Begijnhof (on the right side). An excellent, green and cute place to get some sun and relax in the middle of some sculptures.