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The people behind the Havenkwartier

  • Creativity
People make the place. That's why we spoke with the entrepreneurs who have been dedicated to a special part of Breda for some time: the Havenkwartier. A skate park, cultural hotspot, creative business park, brewery in an old factory building, and a city beach all within walking distance of each other. There's plenty to experience at the Havenkwartier! Follow the Red Thread and discover it all. Curious about the stories behind these places? Keep reading.

The city beach for young and old: Belcrum Beach

One of these entrepreneurs is Frank Zijlmans, the chairman of the Foundation Belcrum Beach, a city beach in Breda. Frank shares his belief: "It is important to do something for the city, to contribute - not always from a financial perspective." He believes that cities become more lively and vibrant by organising cultural activities. According to Frank, the Havenkwartier certainly plays a valuable role in this.

In 2013, Belcrum Beach was established with the aim of giving purpose to an unused piece of land. Now, a decade later, the city beach attracts a diverse group of visitors, ranging in age from 0 to 80 years. On Wednesday afternoons, parents with children are welcomed, while on Sunday afternoons, music lovers come together. A melting pot of people and activities.

Belcrum Beach is proud of its open and inviting character. The city beach organises a number of cultural events per year. Frank emphasises: "We do not strive for excessive ambitions, we keep it simple." At Belcrum Beach, you can relax with a drink in your hand, your feet in the sand, and a view of the water, in a cosy corner of Breda.

Sitting old man on Belcrum Beach


With roots in Brabant, a residence just across the border, and extensive experience within groups and organisations in the performing arts throughout the country, Monique van Beek started as director of Bloos in 2021. Bloos is (not) a theatre. This is the slogan of the building located on the striking Speelhuislaan. It functions as a production house, an incubator, and a presentation space. Monique says: “Bloos encompasses a wide range of activities, extending beyond the presentation of performing arts alone. We offer space where talent at different levels gets the freedom to create, and receives tailored guidance.”

And this creating, truly making, happens a lot. For example, there is the successful 39Graden programme, a community initiative focusing on developing creative talent for young people aged between 15 and 23. Additionally, Bloos acts as a production house where a new generation of (theatre) makers find support for aspects like research, production, and residencies. Of course, there is also an inspiring and dynamic programme.

What makes this area special? “In the Havenkwartier, you are constantly in contact with the creator themselves. This direct contact is a valuable experience for both the audience and the creator. After a performance, you can casually chat on the square or in the café. Makers easily connect for collaborations, thanks to the high concentration of talent in the same area.” You are welcome at BLOOS during the diverse programme, which can be found on Bloos' website.

Woman with blonde curls in front of a blue container at BLOOS

An area you must explore: STEK

STEK is a cultural business park located on Veilingkade in Breda. Maryon Keldermans explains: "Here you can find a record store, hospitality venues, many creative makers, a music studio, and even a company that recycles plastic into new building materials. The variety is enormous."

The charming premises are an experience to explore in themselves. There is plenty to discover and each corner has a different feel. STEK provides space for entrepreneurs who are not necessarily looking to become large, but rather want to explore new paths, experiment, and innovate. Sustainability and reuse are top priorities. Maryon emphasises the importance of keeping a place in the city for these people.

In the summer, markets are organised at STEK, and even in winter, there is a two-day Christmas market. Even without special events, it's worth taking a stroll around the premises. "It's different here. The atmosphere and people are relaxed. It is a unique part of Breda and a special piece of the Netherlands," concludes Maryon.

Woman on a dirt path in the woods on STEK

The urban skatepark and a meeting place: Pier15

"We missed something in the city, so we built it ourselves," begins Rinse Staal, team leader at Pier15. Over the past nine years, Pier15 has evolved into a free zone where culture, urban sports, and social interaction take centre stage.

"There is a lot of energy in the city, with many good ideas. On this site, young people and adults have the space to translate those ideas into concrete plans without hindrances. We adapt to their norms, values, and ideas and receive a nice dynamic in return. They really want to contribute to the city, and we are happy to give them a little push."

Pier15 is a vibrant place where you can visit the café or terrace almost daily. In addition to the skatepark, urban sports like basketball are available, along with numerous events and art projects. Furthermore, Pier15 facilitates a skate school and language development projects, as well as several festival concepts.

"Our idea has always been that you should discover this place. You never know exactly what will happen when you step inside. Suddenly you are face to face with the various initiatives, people, and interesting details - that stimulates and that is where our strength lies." Rinse concludes.

Seated man at PIER15, a skate park, with a tree and a bush

The cultural living room: Electron & MotMot Gallery

Electron, a cultural breeding ground with studios and workspaces as well as cultural living room MotMot gallery, serves as the canvas for Lisette Spee. Immediately after graduating from the art academy Sint Joost in Breda, she finds her place at Stichting Kop, with the associated studio in Electron. Soon her path was paved with connecting people and organising events and exhibitions. And this is a path she still walks, now as director of Electron.

“The Havenkwartier is like a small village. You walk out onto the street, meet each other and can do projects.” Electron is becoming more and more like a community centre. A location where projects and events are experimented with, an environment that invites experimentation and interaction. “By literally handing over the keys to the building to people, you create a sense of ownership. With more input and responsibility, a deeper commitment also arises.” Lisette experiences.

Lisette embraces the principle 'before you try to change the world, first walk three rounds around your own house'. A philosophy she also likes to convey. Her focus is on showcasing the existing talent in the city. She aims to inspire her environment and fellow citizens - from the neighbour's child who is exposed to art and theatre for the first time, to policymakers who in an unconventional way face different perspectives.

A woman leaning against a wall at MOTMOT Gallery