A unique voyage of discovery through Tilburg

By: Naline Outdoor fanatic | Read time: 7 minutes
  • Spoorzone Tilburg

When I enter my hotel, which is housed in a building that used to be an Art Nouveau-styled bank, I find myself in the middle of Tilburg’s Dwaalgebied or roaming area. Inside the hotel, I hear lots of Italian and English. People are playing billiards, drinking coffee and laughing. This place calls up memories of long journeys, full of unforgettable encounters with locals, travellers and everything in between. But I am not on a long journey. I am simply out and about for two days in Tilburg, with which I am not familiar. A city, it soon turns out, that is surprising on all levels.

Day 1: Highlights in the city

In Tilburg, things are done just a little bit differently. I simply adapt to this and decide, contrary to the idea of a city trip, to skip the shopping centre entirely. From the Roots Hostel, I go through the Dwaalgebied, a part of the city centre between the centre and the station. Many new businesses have established themselves in the charming streets, which means there are fabulous concept stores and great catering facilities.

Tilburg, the textile city

Later, I jump on a public transport bicycle and head towards the other side of the tracks, where two top museums are located: De Pont (modern art) and the Textile Museum. Tilburg is traditionally a true textile city and this museum, located in the old textile factory, gives unique insight into the history, the production process and the art of making textile. It is here that people worked hard day in and day out in the industry that made this city great. Today, it is the artists and students that you will see working here in the Textile Lab!


“In the Textile Museum you can watch artists and students working on the most unique designs. Visit the Textile Lab and watch them at work!”

Drinking, camping and studying in the Spoorzone

I continue my exploratory journey through Tilburg in the Spoorzone. Nowadays it is packed with lively terraces and colourful street art. I first go in LocHal. Originally the locomotive hall, now it may well be the most impressive library in the country. The Spoorpark is a little way down the road and contains a city campsite, the charming T-Huis restaurant and the Kempen tower. Definitely worth a visit!

Taking a break in the Spoorzone:

Via Piushaven to Moerenburg

Via Piushaven to Moerenburg

Tilburg has yet another unique park. The Moerenburg national park is what you would call a hidden gem. It is no punishment to follow the road leading to it because, halfway there, you run across a harbour called Piushaven, where you can stroll along the quay, climb into a canoe or enjoy good food at the many terraces. Once in Moerenburg, you will discover how Tilburg has its own way of interpreting what a park is. Here greenery goes together with industry. There are sheep grazing next to a sewage pumping station and iron artworks to be admired next to a historic farm. Follow the signs for a unique walking tour through the area.

Doloris Meta Maze

I close my day in Spoorzone, visiting the iconic Doloris Meta Maze, the largest art maze in the world. It is an experience that is impossible to predict beforehand and cannot really be described by anyone afterwards. Blindfolded and with a pounding heart, I begin this absolutely crazy adventure. It ends up lasting for an hour and a half because, in order to leave, you must first find the exit to this maze. But you don’t really want to find it any faster. There are stairs, corridors, ladders, slides and an endless number of doors that you must climb, crawl, admire – and, once in a while, swear at – through a crisscross of rooms filled with art and illusion.

Day 2: Landgoed de Utrecht (The Utrecht Country Estate)

Experiencing art in the countryside

Experiencing art in the countryside

The next day I leave the city for a nature reserve less than twenty minutes away. The Andreas Schotel walking tour starts in Esbeek, going through Landgoed de Utrecht (The Utrecht Country Estate). This Rotterdam artist fell in love in 1919 with the Brabant landscape and settled down in the woods by Esbeek. His work and that of artists he inspired can now be admired along the 10-kilometre-long trail full of life-sized art works. It provides a unique and at times bizarre cultural experience in a beautiful landscape. And this is why it totally fits in with the unique character of Tilburg.

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