• Map


Breda originated at the point where the rivers Mark and Aa or Weerijs converged into the brede Aa ('wide Aa' or 'broad Aa').

Historical landscape

Just like other historical cities, Breda is situated at the transition between different types of soil and in proximity to waterways. Settlements emerged in such places, including Breda in 1125. Some of the old landscapes still exist, sometimes surrounded by the new city. Others have completely disappeared.

Breda originated at the point where the rivers Mark and AA or Weerijs converged into a wide Aa.

The nature and history of the city are intertwined. The outlines of the Spinolaschans, constructed in 1924 (between Breda and Terheijden), are only visible from the air. The defensive structure can still be found in Breda, hidden amongst the trees. The Kleine Schans near Terheijden is a bit more visible.

Cradle of our royal house

Once upon a time... there was a girl from Breda, and her name was Johanna van Polanen...

This could very well be the beginning of a royal fairy tale about our Dutch royal family. Because this eleven-year-old Johanna married the German count Engelbrecht of Nassau over six hundred years ago, laying the foundation for the House of Orange-Nassau, the Dutch Royal Family.

For more than 150 years, Breda was the base of the increasingly powerful Nassau family. The Nassaus have meant a lot to Breda. Below are the places where you can still see the royal roots of Breda in our city.

Royal Roots

Royal Roots is the organisation that connects Breda's royal history with the present and the future. This is done through podcasts, special events, projects and a brand-new route: Explore Royal Breda.
With this walking route, you will discover all Nassau hotspots in the city centre of Breda, while also linking surprising new places with history.

The liberation of Breda

On 29 October 1944, the Second World War ended for Breda. Breda was liberated by the 1st Polish Armoured Division, founded in England in 1942. It consisted of Polish soldiers who had fled their own country and arrived there after many wanderings from all over the world. Their unit was led by General Stanislaw Maczek. Their intention was to liberate Poland via France, Belgium and the Netherlands. But things turned out differently. Read in our blog Breda and the Poles why many Poles returned to Breda after the war.

Breda still has many places that remind us of the war, especially our Polish liberators. Discover them below.


The former Koepelgevangenis (prison) is a unique place and certainly an eyecatcher. It is one of the three Koepelgevangenissen in our country. The other two can be found in Haarlem and Arnhem. The one in Breda was built between 1882 and 1886 and remained in use as a prison until 2016.
The three most famous prisoners were undoubtedly the Three of Breda: Joseph Kotälla, Franz Fischer and Ferdinand aus der Fünten, war criminals from the Second World War. Prisoner Hulda Kiel became famous in a different way. In 2019, she managed to escape with the help of a spoon through a self-dug tunnel.

Lookout Posts in the Lage Vuchtpolder

Breda is part of the Zuiderwaterlinie, a long defensive line that runs between Bergen op Zoom and Heusden. The Lage Vuchtpolder, on the north side of Breda, was part of this line and was regularly flooded to stop the enemy. In the Vuchtpolder, various defensive works were constructed, such as the Spinolaschans and several redoutes (lookout posts). Three redoutes have been redesigned as part of the Zuiderwaterlinie by spatial designer Merel van de Linden. 

Discover more culture and history in Breda.