Exploring Historical Canals of Breda


Breda, The Netherlands (September 2015)

Yesterday afternoon, I joined some new friends on a canal tour of our lovely city. This was a great way to view the city centre from a different perspective. As with most cities in Holland, the canals surround the main city centre. Historically, Breda’s town limits used to exist within this area.

The vast history of Breda is intensely intriguing. With the name itself being derived from Brede Aa which refers to the confluence of the rivers Mark and Aa, this fortified city was a strategic military location and politically significant township. Throughout history Breda has been a fortified city and is named after the confluence of the two rivers flowing through the town. It has spent time under the direction of the Holy Roman Empire and in 1327 was sold to John III, Duke of Brabant. Following a string of exchanges the city of Breda came under the ownership of the House of Nassau. During the 1500’s the alliance with the House of orange saw the city develop into a major residential area for the wealthy.

Many nobles moved to Breda with the Orange-Nassau Alliance and build fine homes and gardens. In 1530, a fire destroyed 90 per cent of the city. During the Eighty Years War in 1581 Breda was captured by the Spanish who took out their anger on the residents. Over 500 citizens were killed during Haultpenne’s Fury. The Dutch reclaimed the city in 1591, however it fell under Spanish rule again in 1624, and this was immortalised in a painting by Diego Velasquez. During the English Civil War, Charles II of England spent much of his time in exile in Breda as his sister was the widow of William of Orange. The Treaty of Breda was signed in the town in 1667 which ended the Anglo Dutch War. Breda was taken by French Revolutionary troops in 1795.

In the Second World War, Breda was occupied by the German forces before being liberated by the Polish Army in 1944. To this day the event is commemorated and the Polish forces are remembered. Breda is rich in history and has many stories from its past to discover and any visitor to the city will find lots of interesting facts to discover. Learn more from this source.

Nowadays, it appears the canals are used for storage of privately owned boats and house boats, as well as fishing and recreational activities. For the next week, there is a sail in movie being hosted nightly at the harbour. The tour was hosted by a student club called UNICEF Studententeam Breda. This club mainly hosts events and experiences for students to raise awareness of the international humanitarian organization UNICEF.

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