Oosterhout, Netherlands


Oosterhout is a city in the Dutch province of Noord-Brabant and the capital of the municipality of the same name. Near Nijmegen is the eponymous Oosterhout (Overbetuwe).



Oosterhout is located north of Breda and northwest of Tilburg. Nearby centers are Oosteind, Dongen, Rijen, Teteringen, Dorst, Den Hout, Raamsdonksveer.



The name Oosterhout would refer to the fact that the place is located to the east of the still existing church village Den Hout.

The above statement is very questionable. The name simply refers to the fact that the place is located to the East of a forest. Can be compared with the names of the various places Oosterhout and comparable cases such as Oosterwolde, Westerwolde etc.



Oosterhout is first mentioned in a charter from 1277, but it is much older. Already in prehistoric times there was a chain of small settlements on the northern edge of Brabant's sandy soils. Much further south was the village of Dorst, surrounded by heather. One of these settlements, called Middelwijk, grew into the core of the current municipality, which was governed by an alderman's bank with the bailiff as chairman. Middelwijk also housed the parish church dedicated to St. John the Baptist, which was in possession of the knighthood of the Knights Templar, later the Johns. The Romanesque church was replaced in the 15th and early 16th centuries by the current late Gothic church with an unfinished tower. In 1625 the church was set on fire during the siege of Breda. Den Hout had a guesthouse intended for travelers that disappeared during the Eighty Years' War. The chapels of Dorst and Den Hout received the status of parish church at the end of the 18th century.

Willem van Duivenvoorde acquired Oosterhout in stages from 1321 onwards. He may have lived at the castle of Kasteel Strijen. This castle was destroyed by Spanish soldiers in 1573 during the Eighty Years' War and then demolished. Part of a corner tower remains of the castle: the Slotbossche tower. Besides Willem and his descendants, the lord of Breda, Hadewych van Strijen and her descendants and the Johannites also had wonderful rights in Oosterhout. The ecclesiastical parish of Oosterhout also included the west of the village of Dongen.

Around 1580 the local administrators proclaimed Oosterhout to be free. This had no legal consequences, but it was an expression of growing self-awareness among the Oosterhout elite.

The Oosterhoutse Broek to the north of Middelwijk consisted of meadows where cattle were fed and hayed in the summer. Farmers from more southern villages such as Gilze and Alphen also bought or leased plots of land here.


In the early 17th century, due to the presence of suitable loam in the soil, an extensive pottery industry was established that worked for export to Holland and Zeeland. This industry flourished well into the 19th century. The port made a good and fast connection with the cities in Holland and Zeeland possible. Various craft guilds of bakers, millers, boaters, butchers and beekeepers were established in the 17th and 18th centuries. There were annual fairs and a weekly market. There was a lot of entertainment at the harbor.

Those who had no land and therefore insufficient income went to work on the dikes in Zeeland and South Holland. For the more adventurous young men there was the Dutch East India Company where many enlisted in the hope of getting rich over there. Only a few succeeded.

Oosterhout is known for its 'locks', castles of which five still exist. In one of these locks, De Blauwe Camer, the Norbertine nuns of Sint-Catharinadal have lived since 1647, after the sisters were forced to leave their convent in Breda. Thanks to a special protection by the princes of Orange, Saint Catherine's Valley was allowed to continue to exist in the Republic. Around 1900, two monasteries were added, of which the monks and nuns from France had left because of the French policy of secularization. It was the Benedictines with the Abbey of Our Lady and the Benedictines with the St. Paul's Abbey. The latter was closed in 2006, after which the buildings were taken into use by the lay community Chemin Neuf. The area in which these three monasteries are located is called The Holy Triangle.

In 1809 Oosterhout received city rights from King Louis Napoleon.

In the early 19th century, a number of Jewish families lived in Oosterhout. In 1822 a Jewish cemetery was established on the Vrachelse Heide. Here also the members of Breda and Geertruidenberg were buried. By 1850 the congregation had about 45 members. In 1866 a synagogue was inaugurated on Sint-Janstraat. However, the number of members declined so much that the synagogue had to be sold in 1899. The municipality was closed in 1910 and added to Geertruidenberg. The cemetery is still in use by the municipality of Breda.



Oosterhout has a double center. The Markt and the Heuvel are the central squares. De Heuvel and its surroundings are a protected cityscape. The square has stately houses and a double row of trees.
Originally there were seven Slots in Oosterhout. Most of the Slots are on the Ridderstraat. They are surrounded by the Slotparken, the remainder of an extensive pleasure garden with ponds and tall trees. The clasps were created around the 15th century. They were homes of the Oosterhout elite, including some families from the low nobility. Grown from a moated farm, they evolved through castle-like noble houses into country houses. Stories such as the hooves in question would have belonged to the Templars and later the Johns, have never been confirmed by facts. The clasps can only be viewed from the outside. The locks are:
Slotje Limburg
Brakestein lock
Beveren lock
Clasp Borsele
Slot Spijtenburg (disappeared)
Slot in Ter Aalst (disappeared)
The Blue Camer, the seventh lock, is in use as the Monastery of St. Catherine's Valley.

Ruin of castle Strijen, on the Kasteeldreef. Only the Slotbossche Toren remains of this.
The Vrijheidshuis on Hill 13 dates from 1610 and housed the administration of freedom. The west wing was added in the 18th century. Until 1940 it served as the town hall.
Oosterhout has many historic houses. There are a number of them on the Markt and the Heuvel, where Markt 13 has a Louis XVI style skylight. Markt 20 has a stepped gable from 1669 and an Empire-style entrance. Many houses have a 19th-century facade, but the core is older.
The buildings of the De Gekroonde Bel brewery, from 1901, at 106 Bredaseweg. These consist of an office building and a red brick malt tower. Tile pictures have been incorporated in the facade.
Former carpentry workshop from 1885, at 2-4 Basiliekstraat.
Oosterhout has various works of art, including the famous Abraham statue



St. John's Basilica, Market, Oosterhout. The church is a five-aisled cross church from the 17th century. The interior contains rare, antique objects and beautiful stained glass windows.
Heilig Hartkerk, at Arendstraat 35 from 1881, by Piet van Genk. This Jesuit church was demolished in 1974, except for the westwork. In this tower facade there is a quiet room and there are also the stained glass windows from the former church housed. Behind this facade is a small courtyard with shops. The materials from the demolished part were used as much as possible for the construction of this.
Reformed church (also called: Vredeskerk), at 6 Rulstraat
Paterserfkerk, at Paterserf 8, was a Reformed church in modernist style, designed by L.F.M. van der Plas. She was consecrated in 1969, withdrawn from worship in 2006, and scrapped in 2007
Antonius van Paduakerk, at Sint-Vincentiusstraat 113, is a neo-Gothic church from 1908, designed by Pierre Cuypers
The Mariakerk, or Our Lady of the Holy Rosary Church, at 63 Wilhelminalaan, is a basilica-style church designed by B.P.J. Oomen
Huisgezin van Nazarethkerk, at Slotlaan 23, was a Catholic church that was built in 1960 in the style of the Bossche School by the architectural firm of Nico van der Laan. In 2004 the building was withdrawn from worship and demolished on March 24, 2007.



The Holy Triangle is a protected townscape with three abbeys:
Sint-Catharinadal, Kloosterdreef 3, is one of the five locks in Oosterhout, from the 15th century. It has been the convent of the Norbertine Sisters since 1647. It can be visited during the Open Days.
Our Lady's Abbey, Zandheuvel 90, Oosterhout. The monastery is inhabited by the Benedictine Sisters. There is a guest house for retreats and contemplation.
The former St. Paul's Abbey of the Benedictines on Hoogstraat.
Former Saint Anthony's Monastery, at Sint-Vincentiusstraat 86, of the Franciscan Sisters



Bakery Museum, Klappeijstraat 47-49. A collection of old bakery objects and utensils and a historic bakery shop. In the current bakery it is possible for groups to bake bread and biscuits themselves.
Museum Oud-Oosterhout, at Bredaseweg 129. Open-air museum with miniature houses from Oosterhout anno 1900. In the indoor museum an antiquity room and former regional articles. There are also temporary exhibitions.
Toy Museum "Op Stelten", at 51 Zandheuvel. A collection of old and antique toys, from the 18th century to about 1950. The Kaaiendonk Carnival Museum is also located here.


Nature and landscape

The Wilhelmina Canal runs south and west of Oosterhout. The Markkanaal comes out to the west of Oosterhout. There are a number of locks and a few ports here, the first of which was opened in 1919. There are extensive business parks along these ports. To the north of Oosterhout, the Wilhelmina Canal ends in the Donge. The Kromgat also ends in the Donge. Other waterways to the north of Oosterhout are the Vissersgat, the Reiedingijksgat and the Otterkil. These names refer to an earlier system of water channels in what is now known as the Oranjepolder or the Blokken and the Slikpolder. This means that Oosterhout lies on the border of the sandy area and the clay area. There is also a large-scale polder to the east of Oosterhout: the Combined Willemspolder, a large-scale polder with an area of ​​6.5 km2.

Southwest of Oosterhout is a sandy area, with the Vrachelse Heide nature reserve on the other side of the Wilhelmina Canal. South of Oosterhout is the Oosterheide area, a nature reserve with interesting remains of 18th century military exercises, the so-called Kalix Berna. To the southeast you will find Boswachterij Dorst.