Helmond, Netherlands


Helmond (dialect (Helmonds): Hèllemeund) is a city and municipality in the province of North Brabant in the Netherlands. The municipality and city has 92,420 inhabitants (August 1, 2020, source: Statistics Netherlands) and has an area of 54.57 km² (of which 0.10 km² is water). The municipality of Helmond is part of the BrabantStad urban network and was part of the former framework law area Samenwerkingsverband Regio Eindhoven (SRE).

The city of Helmond is characterized by a history of the metal and textile industry. The street names that end in -wal indicate the former wall of the fortified town of Helmond, of which the fourteenth-century castle was part.

The municipality of Helmond has four centers: The city of Helmond, subdivided into a number of neighborhoods and the former villages of Stiphout, Mierlo-Hout and Brouwhuis. The last three have managed to preserve the village character. See also the list of districts in Helmond.



A well-known building in Helmond is the square castle near the center. This moated castle was built in the fourteenth century and served as a council chamber until 2001. Helmond Castle was also the setting for the series Kasteel van Sinterklaas by Omroep Brabant.
Near the castle is the former Reformed Church from 1848. It is an early neo-Gothic building by architect Arnoldus van Veggel from 's-Hertogenbosch. Until 1963 this building was used as a church, from 1973 to 1983 the Municipal Archives Service was located there, since then it has been rented out as an office.
In the center of Helmond there are still a few medieval buildings and streets, such as the Huis met de Luts aan de Markt and the Ketsegängske.
The Sint-Lambertus church with the Robustelly organ, which was built in Liège in 1772, the Ketsegängske is located between Markt and the Noord-Koninginnewal in the middle of the Markt, where there are some rebuilt weavers' houses.
The Binderen Chapel with the entrance gate to the former Binderen Abbey; the chapel is located north of the center.
The Sint-Joseph Chapel, which is also a war memorial.
Some interesting remnants of Helmond's industrial history are the Auw Fabriekske and Warande Park (formerly Peapark). The Auw Fabriekske is the oldest remaining industrial monument; it dates from 1840. It was a textile factory of the Bots family, on the Kanaaldijk N.W. On this quay you can see more old factory buildings and villas of former textile barons.
The Warandepark is located west of the center above the Oranjebuurt. The park consists mainly of deciduous forest and there is also a burial island in the forest. The park also has a petting zoo and a pond with a pavilion.
A striking sight in Helmond was Theater 't Speelhuis and the Cube Houses, which were designed by Piet Blom. However, 't Speelhuis was destroyed by a fire on December 29, 2011, which also damaged a few cube houses. The activities of Theater Het Speelhuis will now continue in the adapted and slightly renovated building of the Church of Our Lady. The church is 100m away from the first 3 test cube houses on the Kasteel-Traverse.
On the west side of the city, the center of the Brandevoort residential area, called 'de Veste', has been built since the late 1990s, which has the shape of a fortified town. 'De Veste' is built entirely in a historicizing style and consists of houses with all different, often richly detailed facades. The narrow, car-free streets are designed to produce picturesque images. There are special features such as a cast iron market hall, a series of masonry bastions and many unusual houses in the form of several large and many smaller gates.



In the municipality there are a number of national monuments, municipal monuments and war memorials, see:

List of national monuments in Helmond
List of municipal monuments in Helmond
List of war memorials in Helmond

Under the name De Kunstroute, a very extensive and diverse collection of sculptures can be viewed throughout the city center of Helmond. There are sculptures of a large number of well-known artists, but lesser-known names are also represented.

Museum Helmond
Museum Helmond is partly located in Helmond Castle and partly in the Kunsthal.

The castle is dedicated to the history of the castle and its residents and users and is geared towards a young audience under the name of Castle Experiences. The Kunsthal is set up for temporary exhibitions in which modern artistic expressions in relation to work and society are central. In addition to a city collection with objects from the history of Helmond, the collection also contains two art collections. A collection of international contemporary art from 1970 in various forms and techniques. In 1978, work started on building up the collection, which in 2008 already contained 450 works. The other with the theme: People and Work. This includes works from 1850 to the present. This subject is in line with the history of Helmond as an industrial city. The artists represented include: Herman Heijenbrock, Johannes Bosboom, Isaac Israels and Jan Toorop.

Helmond Industrial Heritage Foundation
This museum is located at Kanaaldijk N.W. 29c. Most of the most important companies were located on this Kanaaldijk. This museum displays objects and products related to the versatile industrial history: textiles, pumps, nuts and machines that Helmond's industry has produced or that were used there.

Jan Visser Museum
This museum is located on the Keizerin Marialaan and contains objects related to Helmond's history and rural life, such as tools. In 1998, the collection was started, which was also expanded with a collection from the Helmond fire brigade.

EDAH Museum
This museum was located at Oostende 167 until the end of 2018. The museum originally contained objects related to the supermarket chain Edah (existed from 1917 to 2007), but has gradually expanded into a museum and knowledge center on retail and food. Since 2021, it has been located in the former Van Gend & Loos building at Binnen Parallelweg 2 in Helmond.

Barrel Organ Museum Helmond
Loods20 houses the Rotary Organ Museum Helmond, together with the EDAH museum. Before it was located on Torenstraat and between 2003 and 2008 it was closed. One of the important pieces is a dance organ, a large removable barrel organ that was set up in a dance hall and traveled with the fairs. There is also a collection of accordions and sheet music.

The HomeComputerMuseum, located on the Noord Koninginnewal, lets you experience and experience the history of home computers from 1975 onwards. The museum has a wealth of documentation and software. The museum opened in March 2018.



A helmet is depicted in the Helmond coat of arms. However, the name Helmond has nothing to do with a helmet. The name has been interpreted as a combination of hell, which would mean 'low-lying', and mouth, which would refer to a higher, secure place.

The helmet already appeared on a seal from 1241, when the historical significance was no longer known. It is said to symbolize the fortified medieval city. Originally it was a medieval half helmet. It was later adapted to the fashion and is now a tournament helmet. The oak twigs symbolize Freedom. The bird in the twigs is a medieval decoration and has no meaning.



Helmond originated from a settlement that must have existed before the year 1000, and was first mentioned in a bull of Pope Alexander III in 1179. The city was founded in 1225 by Duke Henry I of Brabant. Helmond has not kept any proof of the granting of city rights, but it is generally assumed that these were granted in the same period as that of neighboring Eindhoven, so in or around 1232.

For centuries Helmond was a center of textile industry that developed further into a textile industry in the course of the nineteenth century. This was stimulated by the arrival of the Zuid-Willemsvaart in 1825, which connected Helmond with 's-Hertogenbosch and further with the north and western Netherlands and further south via Maastricht with the Liège basin and the Belgian areas along the Maas. In addition, cotton plantations in Suriname played an important role. Remains of the textile industry are a few villas of textile manufacturer families on the canal and on the Aarle-Rixtelseweg, and two companies that are still active, the firm Raymakers and Vlisco.



The municipality of Helmond expanded several times with (parts of) neighboring municipalities. In 1968 this happened with the municipality of Stiphout and parts of the municipalities of Mierlo (the core of Mierlo-Hout, later 't Hout and subsequently Mierlo-Hout), Deurne (part of Brouwhuis) and Bakel and Milheeze (west of the Bakelse Aa with Dierdonk, Kruisschot, the core of Brouwhuis and Rijpelberg). In the 1990s, the municipality wanted to add the northern neighboring municipality of Aarle-Rixtel. However, villagers countered this with the battle cry 'Ale blie!' ('Aarle-Rixtel stays!'). The church village eventually merged into the new municipality of Laarbeek.


Getting here

By plane
Helmond is about a 15-minute drive from Eindhoven Airport. Traveling directly by train from Schiphol is also an option.

By train
There are four stations in the municipality of Helmond, of which the intercity only stops at the central station in the center. There is a direct train connection from Eindhoven Central.

By bus
Buses run through certain places in the municipality. The normal city buses run limited in the center. Buses no longer run in Brouwhuis and Rijpelberg, but buses are available on order via BravoFlex



By bike
Like most of the Netherlands, Helmond has an extensive cycling network. There is also an official cycling route available called "Rondje Helmond"


Regional customs

Like almost every town in the south of the Netherlands, Helmond has local customs and festivities. In the specific case of Helmond, Shrovetide is known beyond municipal, provincial and national borders.

Fastnacht takes place in Helmond as well as in Germany until Ash Wednesday. From the beginning of the year until Shrovetide the well-known "Keiekletsavonden" take place (cf. Büttenreden in Germany). The grand finale with a gala ball is on the last Saturday before Shrovetide.

On Shrove Saturday, the mayor hands over his office key for four days to the "Keiebeijters", Helmond's largest carnival association.

On Sunday, the largest carnival parade in the Netherlands takes place in Helmond. This parade is attended by people from all over the south of the Netherlands.

The “Haringhappen” takes place on Wednesday evening. All pubs then serve herring with side dishes to commemorate the beginning of Lent.


Sons and daughters of the town

Matthijs Vermeulen (1888–1967), composer and music journalist
Hans Gruijters (1931–2005), politician
Wilhelmus de Bekker (born 1939), Catholic clergyman, Bishop Emeritus of Paramaribo in Suriname
Hein Verbruggen (1941–2017), sports official
Willy van der Kuijlen (1946–2021), national football player
Lisette Sevens (born 1949), hockey player
René & Willy van de Kerkhof (born 1951), national football players
Annemarie Penn-te Strake (born 1953), lawyer and politician
Fieke Boekhorst (born 1957), hockey player
Bart van der Putten (born 1957), jazz saxophonist and clarinetist
Berry van Aerle (born 1962), national football player
Stochelo Rosenberg (born 1968), jazz guitarist
Sani van Mullem (born 1977), jazz musician
Wilfred Bouma (born 1978), national football player
Jimmy Rosenberg (born 1980), jazz guitarist
Bob de Voogd (born 1988), hockey player
Sabrina Stultiens (born 1993), cyclist
Claudia Leenders (born 1994), slalom canoeist
Aniek Nouwen (born 1999), soccer player



In the nineteenth century, Helmond has become an industrial city with a relatively one-sided pattern for a long time, mainly low-skilled metal and textile industries. This led to a relatively one-sided population with a large lower layer and a small, rich upper layer, a dichotomy that was also partly reflected geographically by the Zuid-Willemsvaart. Much of the original industry has disappeared, although some companies from that era, such as Vlisco, still exist. Vlisco has been active as an exporter of wax prints to Western Africa since the nineteenth century. She has built up a strong market position there with a locally colored collection. Furthermore, since the 1960s, many new companies have settled there (some of which have also disappeared). In 2021, a number of companies are active in the high-tech sector. Helmond has extensive industrial estates.

Knowledge center for automotive technology
In 1976, Helmond-based VolvoCar added a development laboratory to its activities. After the conversion into NedCar, it continued as NedCar Product Design & Engineering and, after becoming independent, as PDE Automotive. This became the core of the knowledge center for the automotive industry that was developed from the beginning of the 21st century. Initiated in 2003, this center was named High Tech Automotive Campus. The Campus covers 15 to 20 ha. Here you will also find TNO Automobieltechniek, which was transferred from Delft in 2008. Also the French Altra - which took over the German Benteler concern in 2016, including the development laboratory located in Helmond, a continuation of Volvo engineering on site. There are also various secondary and higher vocational training courses in automotive engineering. The city also has 22 companies that work as suppliers for the car industry, including APTS, which is part of the VDL Groep, and which built the Phileas buses.

The shopping heart of the city is located in the center, around the Veestraat and De Markt. The Alsace Passage can also be found here.

There is a weekly market on De Markt / Noord Koninginnewal / Ameideplein on Saturday and Wednesday morning. There is also a market in Mierlo-Hout on Tuesday morning and the Brouwhuis market on Friday morning.



Helmonders are also called 'cat swatters', which is their derisive name. It is said that they used to eat cats, or 'roof hares', which may be due to the poverty at the time. In Helmonds, a very characteristic dialect, grandmother, who would have eaten such a meal, says: Mar Jonge, you couldn't see ut verskil, and ut tasted good. Krek un wild kneen. The story is also known of the cat friend, the Capuchin Father Nicodemus, who caught street cats and brought them to the attic of the monastery, where they could feast on the mice present there.

Helmond has had a city poet for a long time. From January 1, 2011, it was Wim Daniëls for many years, who also wrote Het Helmonds Dictionary and the Helmond poetry collection.



To go out, in Helmond you can go to the Kasteellaan, Havenweg, Steenweg, Markt and Zuid Koninginnewal where the wet catering industry is concentrated.


Film, theater and music

There are two cinemas, Pathé Helmond with 6 screens and De Cacaofabriek with 3 screens, and two theatres, Theater 't Speelhuis and the Annatheater.

The most famous places for live pop music are De Cacaofabriek and Muziekcafé Helmond, both of which have core stage status (Nationaal Fonds Podiumkunsten).



The cat appears playfully in all kinds of websites and activities. An example is the Jazz in Catstown festival, held every June. Catstown is the counterpart of Lichtstad Eindhoven, which organizes Jazz in Lighttown. In 2015, Jazz in Catstown merged with the Artimond artistic festival. The new name is H2O. Another event that is organized is the Kasteeltuin concerts in July and August.

An annual blues festival has been held in the center since 2011 (the last full weekend of October). Bluesroute Helmond has grown over the years into one of the largest, freely accessible blues festivals in the Benelux with artists from the Netherlands and abroad.



Carnival is also celebrated in Helmond with, among other things, the largest parade in the south. Helmond is a real carnival city; in addition to the many carnival associations, there is a large foundation that deals with the city carnival (which attracts tens of thousands of visitors every year): the Keiebijters. With carnival, Helmond is also called Keiebijtersstad or Kattegat. These names date from the early 1960s.

The name Keiebijter, like many names of carnival associations, refers to the local past, when home weaving was the predominant source of existence. The weavers in their shabby houses suffered greatly from the temperature fluctuations, which did not make processing the yarn any easier. Natural aids were used, in this case saliva, to lubricate the warp yarn (especially when it was dry, to prevent it from snapping) and to make it smoother so that the bobbin could slide through it more easily. To promote saliva production, things were taken in the mouth that acted just like chewing gum: sometimes loose ends of yarn waste (called drums; hence the name of the Gemert carnivallers as drum nibblers) and also pebbles, which are therefore reminiscent of the name Keiebijters.



Helmond has a variety of sports clubs. There are eight different football clubs, several tennis courts and a hockey club, namely HC Helmond. But you can also do athletics in Helmond at H.A.C. Helmond, cycling at MTB R&TC Buitenlust and playing golf at the Helmondse Golfclub 'Overbrug'.

Payed football
Helmond has known professional football since the fifties. Initially, HVV Helmond and SC Helmondia (which split the city in two) both played professional football. On July 27, 1967, Helmondia was absorbed by Helmond Sport, after HVV Helmond had already had to give up its professional license due to financial difficulties. Helmond Sport was promoted from second to first division in the first year, where it is still active (after a trip to the premier league in the eighties).