Geertrudenberg

 

Geertruidenberg (Bergs: Dun Bèrrig) is a town and capital of the eponymous municipality, located in the Dutch province of North Brabant.

 

Location and nearby centers
The town of Geertruidenberg is located on the west side in a bend of the Donge. The town of Raamsdonksveer is opposite the city, Geertruidenberg borders Drimmelen and Made to the west. The most southwestern point of the place is located against Oosterhout.

The nearest large cities are the more southerly Breda and the more northwestern Dordrecht.

 

Toponymy

The name Geertruidenberg or Mons Sanctae Gertrudis is named after Saint Gertrudis of Nivelles. The city was given this name in 1220.

 

History

The city takes its name from Gertrudis van Nivelles, who is said to have founded a monastery here on a mountain (hill) in the seventh century. However, no traces of habitation from before the eleventh century have been found in the city. In reality, belongings of the Abbey of Nivelles were here.

Geertruidenberg was part of the County of Holland and the later Region of Holland. In 1213 the place received certain market rights and the count thus confirmed its city rights. The claims that the place thus acquired city rights are controversial, as well as the claim that it is the oldest city in the county of Holland. In 2013 the city of Geertruidenberg did celebrate its 800th anniversary. Due to its strategic location, the place was able to develop successfully, and was also called "Key of Holland". Around 1320 Willem van Duivenvoorde acquired the office of sheriff from Geertruidenberg; the town was walled with roundels and gates and he built a castle there. In 1336, the Charterhouse of Geertruidenberg (the Dutch House) was founded, which would exist until 1573 but collapsed in the gloom of the Eighty Years' War. In the 14th century, the count's mint was established in Geertruidenberg.

The flourishing period came to an end with the conquest in 1420 by the Cod in Dordrecht and the St. Elisabeth flood of 1421. The city was severely damaged, lost its trading function and lost many of its privileges. On the other hand, river fishing has now developed and Geertruidenberg has become an important market place for salmon, sturgeon and shad.

The strategic location also made Geertruidenberg a sought-after possession for powers that are fighting each other. For example, during the Eighty Years' War, the Spaniards managed to buy the city in 1589 from the English, who actually fought on the side of the young Republic. Four years later, Prince Maurits recaptured the city during the Siege of Geertruidenberg. Geertruidenberg was now not part of the Generality countries, but was situated on its border and partly because of this very eccentric with respect to Holland, of which it was part. Below this the town's economy suffered. In the 2nd half of the 18th century, Geertruidenberg became a garrison town. This gave the economy a boost. At the end of the 18th century, however, the city was taken by the French.

In 1807 the city was disconnected from Holland. With the formation of the United Kingdom of the Netherlands in 1815, Geertruidenberg became part of the province of Noord-Brabant. The wall was demolished in 1823, but the city was strengthened again in 1833 because of the Belgian Revolt. In 1911 the fortress was dismantled, after which industry could settle near the town. However, part of the fortress has been preserved and restored in 1957.

After 1950 the town expanded with new housing estates in the west, after 1985 in the north (on the Donge) and after 2004 in the south on the former railway yard. Until 1950, Geertruidenberg had a train station for passenger transport located along the Lage Zwaluwe - Waalwijk - 's-Hertogenbosch railway line, for some time afterwards freight transport. The station building was demolished around 1965 and the railway tracks were also removed after 1985.

 

Sights

The Markt in Geertruidenberg has many monumental buildings including old merchant houses.
The Geertruidskerk, a late Gothic cross church, at Elfhuizen 3.
The former synagogue, at Elfhuizen 1, from 1874.
The Oudemannen- en Vrouwenhuis is located at Gasthuisstraat 10-34. The central part (1775-1778) was designed by Philip Willem Schonck with sculptures by Guilliam Carrier. It probably also made the statues of an old man and an old woman on the rear facade. The side wings date from 1888. In the building there is a regents' room with the original fireplace and furniture.
The former orphanage at Markt 52 originated from a hospital chapel from 1483. In 1681 this was converted into an orphanage, where only the two-aisled nave was preserved. A façade designed by Philip Willem Schonck was installed from 1771-1772. The natural stone work was provided by Guilliam Carrier.
The Town Hall, at Markt 32-34, in its current form from the early 16th century.

 

The Vishal, on the Vismarktstraat, was built in 1772 to a design by Philip Willem Schonck. It is an open square building with a mansard roof, which has a dome and rests on hard stone columns, which are connected with arches.
Geertruidenberg owns five city pumps. Two of them are located on the Markt. They are bluestone pumps, most likely designed by Guilliam Carrier and executed in Louis XV style. They date from 1767 and were restored and renewed in 1971. In the Koestraat, Venestraat and the Vismarktstraat there are also hard stone pumps dating from the end of the 18th century.
The Catholic Sint-Gertrudiskerk, at Venestraat 16, was built in 1865 to a design by Carl Weber. The building was replaced in 1963 by a modernist church by Frits Peutz. It was a rectangular hall church, flanked by a tower with a reinforced concrete crown. It had to be closed in 1996 due to concrete rot. It was demolished in 1997 to make way for homes and a smaller chapel.
The remains of the fortifications date from 1833. Some of these were preserved after the dismantling in 1919 and restored in 1957. On the north side is another bastion with powder magazine from 1839. On the west side is a bastion with gun, and in front of it an envelope with escarpe.
The former Arsenal at Haven 54 dates from 1771-1777 and was designed by Philip Willem Schonck in Louis XVI style. It consists of four wings around a square courtyard. The sculpture, including the coat of arms of the Region of Holland with war trophies, was made by Guilliam Carrier.
The former Hoofdwacht, at Venestraat 1, was the gatehouse for the arsenal. The rectangular Louis XVI style building dates back to 1791.
The former Marktkazerne at Venestraat 3 is an Empire-style building from 1821.
The former guardhouse at W. Muldersplein 1 is a building from 1836
The former garrison bakery at Haven 18 is a monumental 19th-century building with a hip roof.

Residential houses
The oldest facades in Geertruidenberg are 17th century, but the core may be older. For example, the core of the house Markt 34 dates from around 1400, while the front house and the first floor date from 1540. In this house there are murals that depict scenes from the Passion of Christ. There are also old cellars. The building, consisting of two joined houses, has stepped gables from around 1600.

About the house De Rogh at Markt 8 was reported in 1492. Market 6 and 8 together were called: Den Wildeman and Filips de Schone was honored here on December 11 of that year. The name De Rogh for Markt 8 was first mentioned in 1655. A building archaeological survey was carried out in 1999, during which murals in secco dating from around 1530 were discovered. These were religious in character, so that the space concerned may have served as a chapel. The paintings, like the house, were restored from 2001-2005.

The De Roos house, at Markt 46, is described in the entry of the relevant museum.

Monumental houses in various styles can mainly be found on the Markt, the Koestraat, and the Vismarktstraat. Several 19th-century warehouses are located on the harbor.

Museums
Museum De Roos, a museum for city history, in a historic building at Markt 46.

Nature and landscape
Geertruidenberg is located at the mouth of the Donge. This flows into the Bergsche Maas, which then turns into the Amer. On the other side is the Biesbosch, to which tour boats sail. To the west you will find large-scale agricultural polders and to the east is the bowl of Raamsdonksveer.