North Brabant

North Brabant
North Brabant
—  Province  —


Coat of arms
Anthem: 'None'
Location of Noord-Brabant in the Netherlands
Country Netherlands
Inclusion 1815
Capital 's-Hertogenbosch
Largest city Eindhoven
 – Queen's Commissioner Wim van de Donk
 – Land 4,919 km2 (1,899.2 sq mi)
 – Water 162 km2 (62.5 sq mi)
Area rank 2nd
Population (2006)
 – Land 2,415,946
 – Rank 3rd
 – Density 491.1/km2 (1,272.1/sq mi)
 – Density rank 5th
ISO 3166 code NL-NB
Religion (2005) Protestant 6%
Catholic 57%
Muslim 4.5%

North Brabant (Dutch: Noord-Brabant, [ˈnʊːrt ˈbraː.bɐnt] ( listen)), sometimes called Brabant, is a province of the Netherlands, located in the south of the country, bordered by Belgium in the south, the Meuse River (Maas) in the north, Limburg in the east and Zeeland in the west.



Until the 17th century, the area that now makes up the province of North Brabant was mostly part of the Duchy of Brabant, of which the southern part is now in present-day Belgium. In the 14th and 15th century, the area experienced a golden age, especially the cities of Leuven (Louvain), Antwerp (both now in Belgium), Breda and 's-Hertogenbosch.

After the Union of Utrecht was signed in 1579, Brabant became a battlefield between the Protestant Dutch Republic and Catholic Spain, which occupied the southern Netherlands. As a result of the Peace of Westphalia, the northern part of Brabant became part of the Netherlands as the territory of Staats-Brabant (State Brabant) under federal rule, in contrast to the founding provinces of the Dutch Republic which were self-governing.

Attempts to introduce Protestantism into the region were largely unsuccessful; North Brabant remained strongly Roman Catholic. For over a century, North Brabant served mainly as a military buffer zone. In 1796, when confederate Dutch Republic became the unitary Batavian Republic, Staats-Brabant became a province as Bataafs Brabant. This status ended with the reorganisation by the French, and the area was divided over several departments.

In 1815, Belgium and the Netherlands were united in the United Kingdom of the Netherlands, and the province of North Brabant was established and so named to distinguish it from South Brabant in present-day Belgium, which seceded from the Kingdom in 1830. This boundary between the Netherlands and Belgium is special in that it does not form a contiguous line, but leaves a handful of tiny enclaves (and enclaves inside enclaves) on both sides of the border. A few of these irregularities were corrected (Luyksgestel was exchanged for Lommel), but some remain, notably Baarle-Hertog.

When the present province was instituted, its territory was expanded with a part of the province of Holland and the former territory of Ravenstein which had previously belonged to the Duchy of Cleves, as well as several small, formerly autonomous entities.

The period from 1900 till the late 1960s is called Het Rijke Roomse Leven (translated as 'the rich Roman life', with 'Roman' meaning 'Roman Catholic'), a religious and spiritual awakening. Het Rijke Roomse Leven came about as result of the emancipatory drive of the province's disadvantaged Catholic population and was supported by a Roman Catholic pillar, which was directed by the clergy, and not only encompassed churches, but also Roman Catholic schools and hospitals, which were run by nuns. In those days every village in North Brabant had a convent from which the nuns operated. Politically, the province was dominated by Catholic parties: the Roomsch-Katholieke Staatspartij and its post-war successor, the Katholieke Volkspartij, which often held around 75% of the vote.

A sign saying, "Welcome to Brabant". North Brabant is often just referred to as "Brabant".

In the 1960s secularisation and the actual emancipation of the Catholic population brought about the gradual dissolution of the Catholic pillar, as church attendance decreased in North Brabant as elsewhere in Western Europe. The influence of Het Rijke Roomse Leven remains in the form of education still being Roman Catholic (today it is run by professional teachers rather than nuns) and in North Brabant's culture, politics, mentality and customs, such as carnival. The province still has a distinct Catholic atmosphere when compared to the provinces north of the major rivers.


The provincial council (Provinciale Staten) has 55 seats, and is headed by the Queen's Commissioner, currently Wim van de Donk. While the provincial council is elected by the inhabitants, the Commissioner is appointed by the Queen and the cabinet of the Netherlands. With 12 seats, People's Party for Freedom and Democracy is the largest party in the council, closely followed by Christian Democratic Appeal with 10 seats.

The daily affairs of the province are taken care of by the Gedeputeerde Staten, which are also headed by the Commissioner; its members (gedeputeerden) can be compared with ministers.


North Brabant is currently divided into 67 municipalities. Traditionally, almost every town was a separate municipality, but their number was reduced greatly in the 1990s by incorporating smaller towns into neighbouring cities or by other mergers. The municipalities in North Brabant are:

Map of North Brabant
Amsterdam Almelo Almere Amersfoort Arnhem Assen Breda Den Haag Delft Delfzijl Den Bosch Den Helder Dordrecht Enschede Haarlem Hilversum Maastricht Middelburg Zwolle Lelystad Leiden Katwijk Nijmegen Eindhoven Vlissingen Rotterdam Leeuwarden Heerenveen Groningen (city) Emmen Almelo Apeldoorn Alkmaar Zaanstad Tilburg Venlo Heerlen Drenthe Flevoland Friesland Gelderland Groningen Limburg North Brabant North Holland Overijssel South Holland Utrecht Zeeland
Map of the Netherlands, linking to the province articles; red dots mark provincial capitals and black dots other notable cities or towns.


Like most of the Netherlands, North Brabant is mostly flat but nearly every part of North Brabant is above sea level, therefore there are not as many canals as in the lower parts of The Netherlands. While most of the population lives in urban areas, the province is scattered with villages and most of the land is cultivated. Consistent with naturally raised areas, forests, heathlands and dune areas can also be found.

Rivers and deltas

The province is bordered by the Meuse River in the north. Its delta flows through the Biesbosch area, a national park.


Employment is found in the agricultural, industrial and service sectors. The main agricultural products are wheat and sugar beet, while cows and pigs are held as livestock. The chief industries are automobile production, electronics (both mainly in Eindhoven), textile and shoes.

In the twentieth century, tourism has become an important sector for North Brabant, the woods and its quiet atmosphere combined with the beauty of some of the cities having proved successful. Another big tourist attraction is theme park Efteling in Kaatsheuvel, the largest of the Benelux.

See also

External links

Coordinates: 51°40′N 5°00′E / 51.667°N 5°E / 51.667; 5

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Look at other dictionaries:

  • North Brabant — North′ Brabant′ n. geg a province in the S Netherlands. 2,156,280; 1965 sq. mi. (5090 sq. km) Cap.: s Hertogenbosch …   From formal English to slang

  • North Brabant — province of the S Netherlands, between the Meuse River & the Belgian border: 1,937 sq mi (5,017 sq km); pop. 2,276,000; cap. s Hertogenbosch …   English World dictionary

  • North Brabant — Admin ASC 1 Code Orig. name North Brabant Country and Admin Code NL.06 NL …   World countries Adminstrative division ASC I-II

  • North Brabant — or Dutch Noord Brabant geographical name province S Netherlands capital s Hertogenbosch area 1971 square miles (5105 square kilometers), population 2,243,546 …   New Collegiate Dictionary

  • North Brabant — /nɔθ brəˈbænt/ (say nawth bruh bant) noun a province in the southern Netherlands. 5089 km2. Capital: s Hertogenbosch. Dutch, Noordbrabant. See Brabant …  

  • North Brabant — a province in S Netherlands. 2,071,885; 1965 sq. mi. (5090 sq. km). Cap.: s Hertogenbosch. * * * …   Universalium

  • North Brabant — noun A province of the Netherlands …   Wiktionary

  • North Brabant — a province in S Netherlands. 2,071,885; 1965 sq. mi. (5090 sq. km). Cap.: s Hertogenbosch …   Useful english dictionary

  • Deurne, North Brabant — For the eponymous village in Belgium, see Deurne, Belgium. Deurne   Municipality   …   Wikipedia

  • List of cities, towns and villages in North Brabant — For lists of settlements in the province of North Brabant, in the Netherlands, see:*List of cities, towns and villages in North Brabant, A F *List of cities, towns and villages in North Brabant, G K *List of cities, towns and villages in North… …   Wikipedia

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