Living in a somewhat bigger European city like Cologne, one thing I immediately noticed about Tilburg is how fast you can escape the lively city center and indulge in the surrounding landscape that is open, quiet and very green. Heading east alongside the Piushaven, you’ll be crossing the Wilheminakanaal maybe after one kilometer, and then you are already within vast open fields. All this is still inside the autobahn ring that surrounds Tilburg but you’ll barely notice. This area, framed by the canal to the West, the motorways to the East and South, and the train line towards Eindhoven in the North, is called Moerenburg.
Apparently, people lived here already as far back as the Bronze Age, which means like 2000–800 years b.C. Much later, around 1310, one of the three oldest stone buildings of the Tilburg area was built – the name-giving Moerenburg. It vanished many, many years ago, traces of it to be found only very recently. Want to read more? There’s a comprehensive website about Moerenburg. But haha, you guessed it, in Dutch only!
Okay. Here I showed you some pics of New Jeruzalem, a brand-new housing area that, as of 2017, still is not 100% finished. Here’s a few more shots. Dutch citicens may yawn but for me the differences in style and architecture compared to similar new houses in Germany are quite striking. As a start, the Dutch guys still use Brickstone, thus every building gets that trademark reddish appearance, perfectly blending in with houses that were built over 100 years ago. Now that we have 2017, they apparently try to introduce some different color hues to make it look more modern or more progressive … or whatever:
If you have passed New Jeruzalem, you’ll cross a somewhat weird bridge over the Wilhelminakanaal – called de Meierijbaan – that once surely was a fairly big road bridge, but today sports a bike lane, a pedestrian lane and then some huge and very rusty flower pots. It’s one of those places a true Dutch person surely must hate – nothing pittoresque here! – but coming from Cologne, I immediately felt at home here and would love to update the exterior of my Cologne city apartment with one of those funky rusty flower pots. 🙂
On the other side of the bridge, you’ll come through a small forest where some really beautiful small paths unfold to the left, and the miracle of Moerenburg opens in front of your eyes. Hey, doesn’t that sound pathetic? But really, it’s a beautiful little landscape. Full of small ponds and waters. Yes, I know, this is how the Netherlands are. But after many frequent stays over the last two years, I still find this very special. It’s just that bit different to where I spent my entire earlier life!
The fun fact is that this southern part of Moerenburg, where you actually are maybe less than 300 metres from the motorway (and you won’t notice!) is really crammed with really small, hidden paths. Depending on the season, there’s an abundance of birds, butterflies and damselflies, and flowers. It feels much more “nature reservat” than the small dimensions and the close proximity to the city and streets would make you guess. Really cool for a relaxing evening walk!