7 of the most beautiful monuments in North Brabant

Janny Viguurs
By: Janny City guide | Read time: 8 minutes
  • Vanuit de lucht genomen foto met de grote koepel van de basiliek.
  • Buitenkant Grote Kerk Breda
  • Kasteel Heeswijk met deel van de tuin
  • Van GoghHuis Zundert

North Brabant brings you closer to Van Gogh, the Nassaus and the Marquis. Closer to life in a monastery and even closer to Rome. Located in historic city centres and in the midst of luscious greenery, the best monuments display the Dutch history of Brabant origin. We list seven of the most beautiful monuments.

1. The largest cathedral in the Netherlands

Cultural history at its best

Cultural history at its best

Buitenkant Sint-Janskathedraal 's-Hertogenbosch Sint-Janskathedraal 's-Hertogenbosch vanaf afstand gezien

The centre of ‘s-Hertogenbosch contains the largest cathedral in the Netherlands: St. John’s Cathedral. Imposing on the outside, but just as impressive inside! A guided tour will bring the stories of the St. John’s Cathedral to life.

The centre of ‘s-Hertogenbosch has even more beauty within its historic city walls. Get on board for a round trip on the Binnendieze underground river, and do not miss Het Noordbrabants Museum: here, in addition to admiring the original works by Vincent van Gogh, you can also admire masterpieces by Hieronymus Bosch and the Brueghel family.

Janny Viguurs

"Take a tour around St John's and through the garden you will enter Hinthamerstraat and then cross over to the little street 'In den Boerenmouw'. I would be happy to tell you all the facts about this part of town during a city walk. Feel free to contact me for a tour: info@jannydestadsgids or Instagram."

2. The rich Nassau past of Breda

  • Buitenkant Grote Kerk Breda
  • Kasteel Breda
  • Stedelijk Museum Breda

What is now the icon of Breda was once the mausoleum of the Nassau family in the 15th and 16th centuries. The Grote Kerk (Church of Our Lady) is thus the crowning glory of Breda’s royal chapter, with beautiful frescos, sculptures and gravestones. With a city centre full of beautiful monuments at its doorstep, the Stedelijk Museum offers a glimpse of the noble city history.

It is now possible to stay overnight in the former court houses in the fashionable Hotel Nassau. Near the castle moat in Valkenberg city park, the castle’s former garden, you have the most beautiful view of Breda Castle.

Florence Verhoeven

“You can visit Breda Castle by booking a tour with a guide belonging to the Barony Guild through the Tourist (Information) Office. Highly recommended, as you learn the history of the castle and see the beautiful inner courtyard and various rooms.”

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3. Picturesque castles in the Brabant landscape

Going back in time

Going back in time

Monumental castles lie concealed in the countryside of North Brabant. Admire them while hiking or cycling and, for just a moment, imagine yourself back in time. The picturesque Heeswijk Castle is a real eye-catcher, with miles of pathways running throughout the Heeswijk Estate just in front of the castle gate. Or wander through Museum Helmond, following the fascinating castle corridors of Helmond Castle, the largest moated castle in the Netherlands. In Vught, a visit to Maurick Castle can be combined with a walk through the woods. Tip: use our route planner to map out your own cycling or walking route past the Brabant castles.

Kasteel Heeswijk met deel van de tuin Kasteel Helmond Voorkant Kasteel Maurick

4. An excursion to Rome in Oudenbosch

  • Vanuit de lucht genomen foto met de grote koepel van de basiliek.
  • Basiliek Oudenbosch
  • Kapel van Saint Louis Oudenbosch

A North Brabant surprise with a touch of Italian awaits you in Oudenbosch: a scaled copy (1:16) of Saint Peter's Basilica in Rome. The 19th-century masterpiece was designed by architect Pierre Cuypers, also famous for Amsterdam’s Rijksmuseum and Central Station. A spiral staircase in the Basilica of Oudenbosch leads to the crest of the dome, which is 30 metres high and provides a view of the impressive details of one of the largest architectonic masterpieces in the Netherlands.

The basilica can be viewed on your own or you can book a guided tour. When finished, be sure to visit the nearby Arboretum, a beautiful botanical garden.

5. Monastic life in Brabant

If you want to follow a wonderful walking route that combines the countryside with historic monuments, you may enjoy the monastery tours! Ten hiking circuits, each a maximum of two hours, go past the most beautiful monasteries and abbeys of North Brabant, such as Sint Agatha, the oldest inhabited monastery in the Netherlands. There are other monastery experiences along the way as well, such as beautiful gardens and abbey beer at Berne Abbey in Heeswijk-Dinther, or a unique overnight stay at the Missieklooster Heilig Bloed (Mission Convent of the Precious Blood) in Aarle-Rixtel. And then, of course, there is Tilburg, the monastery capital in North Brabant. Find more on our special theme page.

Explore Ons Kloosterpad

6. In the footsteps of Van Gogh

Picturesque places

Picturesque places

The most famous person of North Brabant is master painter Vincent van Gogh, with his story told by monuments throughout the entire region. Examples are the Vincent van GoghHuis in his place of birth, Zundert, and the Van Gogh Village Museum in Nuenen, where you go on a journey through the life of the master painter.

Van Gogh’s monuments are best explored using the Van Gogh cycling and walking tours. These tours take you through the Van Gogh National Park, which holds the landscapes that so inspired him.

Van GoghHuis Zundert Van Gogh Kerkje Nuenen

Explore the Van Gogh routes

7. The oldest city palace in the Netherlands

The Markiezenhof in Bergen op Zoom is the oldest city palace in the Netherlands and one of Europe’s finest. In the 15th century, the Markiezenhof was the residential palace for the gentlemen and Marquis of Bergen op Zoom. The galleries, stately halls, period rooms and exhibition areas allow you to experience the story of that time.

Be sure to explore the rest of Bergen op Zoom, a city with more than 800 monuments! You can visit the Gevangenpoort or Prisoners’ Gate, which now contains an escape room. At the Grote Markt, you can climb the remarkable tower of the Sint-Gertrudiskerk, also called the Peperbus or the ‘pepper plant tower’. And for those who love to hike: Bergen op Zoom lies on the Zuiderwaterlinie path!

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