Roosendaal, Netherlands


Roosendaal is a city in the Dutch province of North Brabant, and the largest town within the municipality of Roosendaal with the same name.

Due to its location on the railway line (Amsterdam -) Rotterdam - Antwerp (- Brussels - Paris), Roosendaal fulfilled an important international logistics function. Roosendaal is the last station on Dutch territory before the border with Belgium. The intercity Amsterdam - Brussels stopped here. Since the beginning of April 2018, this train has been running over the HSL South, via Breda, which already fulfills an important border function for car traffic (A16 / E19).



There are two explanations for the name Roosendaal:
The first explanation has to do with the medieval custom of giving monasteries the name: -dal: Agnetendal, Mariadal, Godsdal, etc. The 'valley of the roses' would then refer to the Holy Mary, to whom the first chapel in Roosendaal was originally dedicated. In the Middle Ages Mary was often symbolized by flowers. For example, the white lily stood for purity and the rose (rosa mystica) was the symbol of perfection.
The second explanation is the name Roosendaal as a reed valley: risse is another name for reed. Rose also stands for rus, also a marsh plant. The location was originally an almost dry swamp between the sand ridges or donks, which was covered with reeds in the summer.



The spelling distinguishes the name from Rozendaal near Arnhem, although Roosendaal was sometimes spelled that way in the past. Rozendaal (French: Rosendaël) was also a village near the French city of Dunkirk and is now a district of it. Finally, there are the Flemish Brabant Roosdaal and the British district Rossendale.



Roosendaal has a history that goes back to the thirteenth century. However, there was no settlement at that time, only a collection of hamlets. In 1266, the inhabitants of the hamlets Langdonk, Hulsdonk and Kalsdonk asked the abbot of Tongerlo Abbey to establish their own chapel, as the connection with the - then already existing - church in Nispen was difficult. The chapel was completed in 1268 and Arnoud van Leuven, then Lord of Breda, approved a donation of land to this chapel in loco dicto Rosendale. The relevant document is the first in which the name Roosendaal can be found. Incidentally, the village was also known as Haviksdonk at that time. It was not until 1510 that Roosendaal was elevated to an independent parish, dedicated to Saint John. In 1363 the Sint Anna Gasthuis was located in Roosendaal on the Raadhuisstraat.

In 1451 the Roosendaalse Vliet was made navigable. Roosendaal thus got a harbor and ships could sail to the Dintel or Steenbergse Vliet, and continue to the sea arms via these waters. The peat extraction in the wider area of ​​Roosendaal necessitated the digging of a network of peat canals, from which the Roosendaalse Vaart ran to Roosendaal. The peat was exported via the port of Roosendaal to Holland, Zeeland, Flanders and Antwerp. The Roosendaal skippers also regularly made trips overseas to England and France. The ships often brought back city manure as return cargo. The peak of peat extraction was in the 16th and 17th centuries.

Traditionally, Roosendaal was part of the Land van Breda, in which it formed one of the fifteen aldermen's banks together with Nispen. After the separation of Land van Bergen op Zoom in 1290, it formed a Breda enclave within the Bergse area. The place Roosendaal could be seen as a freedom.



The Eighty Years' War (1568–1648) ended progress. Roosendaal suffered greatly from the itinerant troops. After all, freedom was not protected by city walls or fortifications. In 1572, the church on the Markt, as well as the town hall, a hundred houses and a number of ships, were destroyed by violence. Looting also took place in 1576 and 1583, and the church burned down in 1590 and 1600. Only during the Twelve Years' Truce could reconstruction commence after Roosendaal had come into the hands of the States in 1605. There were still epidemics of the plague in 1622 and 1626. In addition, after 1648 the peat settlement gradually faded away. In 1687 a city fire raged and, apart from that, the place suffered from invasions by troops, such as the French in 1672.

In the ecclesiastical field the developments were as follows: In 1611 a small Protestant community was first established in Roosendaal, which in 1648 could make use of the Sint-Janskerk. The Catholics then had their church in a border church in Steenpaal, a hamlet just across the border, near Essen. After 1672 they were allowed to use a barn church. In 1762 a rectory was built next door on the Molenstraat. In 1807 the Catholics got their church back. However, this was in bad condition and had to be demolished - except for the tower. The current St. John's Church was consecrated in 1839. This was built against the old tower. The old barn church became a hospital. The Reformed got their own church building in 1810, a Napoleon church.

Under Louis Napoleon, Roosendaal was elevated to a city in 1809, motivated by the vastness and population. However, the city rights were revoked in 1815, after the Kingdom of the Netherlands was established.


New time

In the first decades of the 19th century there was great poverty. In 1816, Roosendaal had a beer vinegar brewery, two beer breweries, a hat factory, seven tanneries, two cutlery shops, an oil butcher, two wind-flour mills and a water-flour mill. It was not yet an industry of any significance.

Political modernization started with the introduction of the municipal law of 1851. In the beginning, however, little changed. A small group of notables determined the conservative Catholic course. The Van Gilse family played an important role within this group. The universal suffrage of 1919 brought about a small breakthrough. But it would take until 1970 before the traditional patterns were really broken and the depollution took hold of Roosendaal. National parties made more appearance.

When the railway connection with Breda, Antwerp and Lage Zwaluwe was established in 1854, and Roosendaal Station was also opened, Roosendaal acquired an international transport function. Later there were also direct rail connections with Rotterdam and Vlissingen. Thus industry also came.

Gas lighting was introduced in 1859 and water mains in 1887. Industrialization took place from 1865. Many of the factories founded in the past have disappeared from the townscape, but nowadays Roosendaal also has extensive industrial estates. Industrialization doubled the population from 6,501 in 1851 to 13,720 in 1899. In 1935, 24,422 people already lived in the municipality of Roosendaal and Nispen.

In 1939 the Engelbrecht van Nassau barracks was built, but on May 11, 1940, the center of Roosendaal was bombed, causing major damage. Roosendaal was occupied on 14 May 1940. A NSB mayor arrived. On May 31, 1944, another bombardment took place, this time on the area surrounding the station. Roosendaal was liberated on October 30, 1944.


Ecclesiastical Development

Ecclesiastical developments concerned on the one hand the establishment of monasteries and on the other hand the construction of new churches.



The monasteries include:
Franciscans of Roosendaal, who provided girls' education and health care. Founded in 1832. In 1907 they founded the Charitas hospital on Kalsdonkstraat, a predecessor of the Sint-Franciscus hospital, which was completed in 1968. In 1934 it became
Brothers van Oudenbosch, provided boys' education. They settled in Roosendaal in 1865.
Redemptorist Fathers, on the Kade, practiced pastoral care. They settled in Roosendaal in 1868. The monastery was closed in 2003. Their monastery church now serves as a parish church.
Fathers of the Mill Hill Congregation were active in the mission. They settled in Roosendaal in 1890.


Protestant church buildings

Some of the Protestants, who already owned the Reformed Church from 1810, founded a Reformed church on Sophiastraat in 1903. In 2003, the Reformed Church was withdrawn from worship, and since then Protestants have used the former Catholic Church of the Holy Cross on Sint-Lucasplein, which was now called the Cross Church.


Catholic church buildings

Until 1903, Roosendaal only had one parish church, namely the Sint-Janskerk. After that, the following Catholic churches were built:

The Antonius van Padua Church on Brugstraat, built in 1903, withdrawn from worship in 1970 and demolished in 1977. The associated chapel on Brugstraat still exists.
The Sint-Corneliuskerk on the Wouwseweg, built in 1916, decommissioned in 1971 and demolished in 1973. There is now an apartment complex.
The Sint-Josephkerk, on the Sint-Josephstraat, built in 1924.
The Heilig-Hartkerk on the Heilig Hartplein, built in 1935. Meanwhile, this church has been converted into a health center and the "extension" is being converted into apartments.
The Onze Lieve Vrouw van Fatima church on the Dr. Schaepmanlaan, built in 1952, out of use in 2005, in 2011 the church was to be demolished for the construction of a flat.
The Christ King Church on Ommegangstraat, built in 1957, decommissioned in 2003 and demolished. There has been an apartment complex since 2012.
The Heilig-Kruiskerk at Sint-Lucasplein, built in 1964, out of use as a Catholic church in 2003, and now a Protestant church (PKN) with the name Kruiskerk.
The Mother God Church on President Kennedylaan, from 1967. The last service here was held on October 13, 2019.
The Saint Francis Church on the Azurietdijk, a converted farm, in use from 1975–2001 and now a chapel.
The Goede Herderkerk on the Lindenburg, inaugurated in 1981, but no longer used as a church.