Hello world, it’s Tilburg!

May 31, 2017

Hi! Ever heard of Tilburg? Chances are, if you are not a citizen from the Netherlands or Belgium … you haven’t yet! Yes fellow Tilburgers, you have to be strong here … you’re not exactly living in the most famous place of the world … but maybe I can make a slight contribution to change that for the future πŸ™‚

Tilburg, December 2016.
Tilburg, December 2016.

Ok let me start with facts. (Please read the following paragraphs in double speed to make it sound more exiting.) Tilburg is the sixth biggest city of the Netherlands and it has around 210,000 inhabitants. It’s located in the heart of Noord-Brabant which is one of the most southern (ha!) Dutch provinces and borders directly to Belgium (where, by the way, you’ll encounter a province called Brabant).

Tilburg emerged in the 11th century from eight villages, one of them – de Heuvel – has evolved into the main place in the city center. It was the wool capital of the Netherlands, for several centuries – right into the 1960s. The legend says that Tilburg inhabitants collected their own urine as it was needed for wool production, leading to the name of “de kruikezeiker” (the jar pissers). Well that’s the kind of fun facts you’ll always encounter all over the Netherlands! Yet if the legend of the kruikezeiker really is true, still is a matter of debate. You can read so many more facts about Tilburg at Wikipedia if you want.

In the 2010s, many logistics businesses and even the European headquarters of Elon Musk’s Tesla electric car company are located here, andΒ Tilburg now’s a really emerging place: It’s full of street live, great festivals, good restaurants, and all kind of funny and weird Dutch happenings like the biggest kirmes and the biggest flea market. What Tilburg is not: a really typical pittoresque Dutch brickstone galore town crammed with tiny canals. Of course it is a Dutch town so there are canals and brickstone buildings, but it has it’s fair share of more ugly, harsh, “urban” places.

And that’s actually what I love: Maybe it’s not made for an overwhelming love-at-first-sight experience such as Amsterdam or Maastricht, but hey … if you want a change from Amsterdam superhipstermania or Maastricht megaloveliness, give Tilburg a try and you’ll be impressed!

Villa Dennenhoef, Morgestel (just outside the town borders of Tilburg)
Villa Dennenhoef, Morgestel (just outside the town borders of Tilburg), April 2017.

This … erm … once beautiful villa, lately owned by a somewhat obscure local celebrity (or maybe more a criminal) named Antonio Brizzi, was the victim of flames in September 2015. Here’s the story of that night (sorry, in Dutch only).

At this point let’s maybe explain who I am. And maybe why I love somewhat more hard-edged places. My name is Thomas, my last name is John – try to pronounce that German, more “Joan” than “John” – that’s where I come from. As my parents worked abroad a lot, I had the exciting privilege to live in Lagos, Nigeria, for three years in elementary school. OK so I guess that’s where my love for hard-edged places was started πŸ™‚ In my university years I moved to Cologne and that’s where I still reside, designing media, catalogues, websites and being a freelance photographer.

That's me!
That’s me!

So how did I end up with writing a blog about Tilburg? There are exactly three reasons why a German would ever come to that city. (1) work (2) love (3) de Efteling. Yes de Efteling is the only place around Tilburg that Germans will know. But I am not the biggest amusement park guy ever, so I ended up the first time in Tilburg, in January 2015, it was a cold, dark, intense winter evening, cause of reason #2. And, as they say, the rest is history.

Queen Maxima's 2017 dress. It was made by Jan Taminiau, he comes from Tilburg.
Queen Maxima’s 2017 dress. It was made by Jan Taminiau, he comes from Tilburg.

This royal blue Queen’s dress was on display at the Tilburg Textiel Museum (hooray, an English website!) already the day after the Royals had visited Tilburg at King’s Day, April 27, 2017.

So I hope you’ll enjoy this emerging blog with pics and impressions from Tilburg. And you’re of course more than welcome to always drop me a line, or just leave a comment below!

Thomas

PS. In some blog posts – like this one, which is the chronologically first entry in my blog – I am going to show pictures that I took long before I started this blog. To keep the timeline correct, the dates of the blog posts reflect the actual time when those pics were taken.

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