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Noord Brabant

Noord-Brabant is one of the 12 provinces of the Netherlands. The region is centrally located between the cities of Rotterdam and Antwerp and the German Ruhr area. The roads and railways between the north (Amsterdam) and south (Paris, Maastricht, Luxembourg) and between the west (Rotterdam, Vlissingen, and Antwerp) and east (Venlo, Düsseldorf) run through the province. The region has a main seaport (Moerdijk), an airport (Eindhoven Airport) and is connected to the High Speed Rail link between Amsterdam and Paris. The many logistic companies in Noord-Brabant provide shipping services on international routes. The local processing and food industries profit from this.




Like most of the Netherlands, Noord-Brabant is mostly flat. Brook systems cross the province, running from Belgium in the south to the river Meuse in the north. The landscape is a patchwork of agriculture, nature and urbanised areas. The province has well preserved scenic values in both national parks and other protected areas such as Loonse en Drunense Duinen (woodland and land dunes), Biesbosch (wetland), De Groote Peel (peat land) and the Kampina (heath land and fens).

With 2.4 million inhabitants, the population density is 497 people per km². This is well above the average of the Netherlands. Main cities are 's-Hertogenbosch (provincial capital), Eindhoven, Tilburg and Breda.


Ganzen. Photo: Marcel Bekken


Traditions and customs


The People of Brabant cherish their Burgundian lifestyle, which goes back to the brief heyday Noord-Brabant has known in the late 15th century. Obviously the Noord-Brabant 'coffee table' and local deli like the "Bossche bol" and the "Brabant sausage roll" play a role in this. Part of its Catholic heritage, Brabant is also well know for its carnival, the festive season before Lent. Large parades are organised in almost every village and town.




From about 1900 and especially after the First World War Noord-Brabant compartmentalized strongly (like the rest of the Netherlands). Almost the entire public life such as education, health and leisure activities was driven by church groups, unions, and so controlled. In 2006 more than half of the province was Catholic, especially in the east in the region bordering the province of Limburg. Nowadays, secularization is as strong in Brabant as it is in the rest of the Netherlands. The catholic heritage in both culture and lifestyle however remains both visible and tangible.


St. John's Cathedral in 's-Hertogenbosch. Photo: Joep Lennarts





Guide 5.5. Photo: Hollandse Hoogte - Tineke Dijkstra

The main part of the Noord-Brabant lies in the Meuse basin. The river Meuse marks the provincial border in the north and east. Smaller parts of the province belong to the Scheldt basin (west) and the Rhine basin (north-west). The Brabant landscape is intersected by brook systems (Dommel, Aa, Mark) and canals (Zuid- Willemsvaart, Wilhelminakanaal). Most of the brook systems have been heavily modified for agricultural purposes. Under the Water Framework Directive, large parts are restored into a more or less natural state.


Groundwater use


Groundwater is the main source for drinking water, irrigation and industrial production. The province of Noord-Brabant aims to save groundwater, which means that use by agriculture and industry must be reduced. In the future groundwater will be mainly for human consumption. The province of Noord-Brabant provides guidance to this process by giving less or no licences for the extraction of groundwater and stimulating projects for water conservation and water saving.


However, with demand rising and supply (due to climate change) declining, a new challenge is arising for the preservation and distribution.




The province of Noord-Brabant is one of the most productive regions of the Netherlands. Many large companies of Noord-Brabant have their roots in the cooperation between small producers. Agro food, logistics and technology are the main sectors. The region is rated the third top technological region of Europe.


Noord-Brabant has around 1.000 international companies with foreign or Dutch managers fronting them (Philips, Ericsson, General Electric Plastics, ASML, DAF Trucks, Siemens VDO, Bosch VDT, Organon/Akzo Nobel, Fuji Photo Film).








This project is cofinanced by the ERDF and made possible by the INTERREG IVC programme


The Interregional Cooperation Programme INTERREG IVC, financed by the European Union’s Regional Development Fund, helps Regions of Europe work together to share experience and good practice in the areas of innovation, the knowledge economy, the environment and risk prevention. EUR 302 million is available for project funding but, more than that, a wealth of knowledge and potential solutions are also on hand for regional policy-makers.