|— Municipality —|
|Grote Kerk (Large Church) or Onze Lieve Vrouwe Kerk (Church of Our Lady)|
|• Total||129.15 km2 (49.87 sq mi)|
|• Land||126.87 km2 (48.98 sq mi)|
|• Water||2.28 km2 (0.88 sq mi)|
|Elevation||8 m (26 ft)|
|Population (31 December 2012)|
|• Density||1,376/km2 (3,560/sq mi)|
|Source: CBS, Statline.|
|Time zone||CET (UTC+1)|
|• Summer (DST)||CEST (UTC+2)|
Breda (Dutch pronunciation: [bre.ˈdaː] ( listen)) is a municipality and a city in the southern part of the Netherlands. The name Breda derived from brede Aa ('wide Aa') and refers to the confluence of the rivers Mark and Aa. As a fortified city, the city was of strategic military and political significance. Although a direct Fiefdom of the Holy Roman Emperor, the city obtained a municipal charter; the acquisition of Breda, through marriage, by the house of Nassau ensured that Breda would be at the center of political and social life in the Low Countries.
Breda's urban area is home to an estimated 316,000 people (2008).
In the 11th century, Breda was a direct fief of the Holy Roman Emperor, its earliest known lord being Henry of Brunesheim (1080–1125). The city of Breda obtained a municipal charter in 1252. After that Breda had the rights to build fortifications. The city constructed brick walls and Roman-style gates.
In 1327 Adelheid of Gaveren Breda sold Breda to John III, Duke of Brabant. In 1350, the fief was resold to John II of Wassenaar (d. 1377). In 1403 the heiress of his line, Johanna of Polanen (1392–1445), married Engelbert I of Nassau (1370–1442). Through her, the city came into the possession of the house of Nassau, where it remained until 1795, passing to William I of Orange (1533–1584), stadtholder of Holland, Zeeland and Utrecht and leader of the Dutch revolt. Thus the baron of Breda was also count of Nassau, Germany, Prince of Orange and stadtholder of the Dutch Republic (from 1572–1650, 1672–1702, 1747–1795). Breda remained part of the barony Breda until it was taken by French revolutionary forces in 1795.
Residence city 
The acquisition of the city by the House of Orange-Nassau marked its emergence as a residenzstadt (residence city). The presence of the Orange-Nassau family attracted other nobles, who built palatial residences in the old quarters of the city. The most impressive one, built by the Italian architect Thomas Vincidor de Bologna for the first Dutch prince, was the first renaissance-style palace built north of the Alps. In the 15th century the city's physical, economic and strategic importance expanded rapidly. A great church was built in Brabantine Gothic style with a gallant 97 metres (318 ft) high tower, called Grote Kerk (main church) or also Onze Lieve Vrouwe Kerk (Church of Our Lady). In 1534 Henry III of Nassau-Breda rebuilt the modest medieval fortifications in impressive style.
In 1534 a fire destroyed over 90 percent of the city, close to 1300 houses, churches and chapels and the town hall. Only 150 houses and the main church remained. In July of 1581, during the Eighty Years' War, Breda was captured by surprise by Spanish troops then under the command of Claudius van Barlaymont, whose sobriquet was Haultpenne (Siege of Breda (1581)). Although the city had surrendered upon the condition that it would not be plundered, the troops vented their fury upon the inhabitants. In the resulting mayhem, known as Haultpenne's Fury, over 500 citizens were killed. In March of 1590, Breda fell back into the hands of the Dutch and Maurice of Nassau, when a 68 men hand-picked force, concealed under the turf of a peat-boat, had contrived to enter the city in a daring plan devised by Adriaen van Bergen (Siege of Breda (1590)). The so-called Spaniards Hole marks the spot where the peat-boat allegedly lay, although this has not been historically proven.
After a ten-month siege in 1624–25, the city surrendered to the Spaniards under Spinola; the event was immortalized by Diego Velázquez. In 1637 Breda was recaptured by Frederick Henry of Orange after a four-month siege, and in 1648 it was finally ceded to the Dutch Republic by the Treaty of Westphalia.
Stuart exiles 
The exiled Stuart pretender Charles II of England resided in Breda during most of his exile during the Cromwellian Commonwealth and Protectorate, thanks to the proximity of Charles's sister Mary, Princess Royal, the widow of Prince William II of Orange.
Based mostly on suggestions by Parliamentarian General George Monck, Charles II's Declaration of Breda (1660) made known the conditions of his acceptance of the crown of England which he was to accept/resume later in the same year.
The Treaty of Breda was signed in the city, July 31, 1667, bringing to an end the Second Anglo-Dutch War in which the Dutch faced the same Charles II who had been their guest. Between 1746 and 1748 it was the site of the Congress of Breda a series of talks between Britain and France aimed at bringing an end to the War of the Austrian Succession, which ultimately led to the signing of the Treaty of Aix-la-Chapelle.
World War II 
During World War II the city was under German occupation. It was liberated following a successful outflanking manoeuvre planned and performed by forces of 1st Polish Armoured Division of Gen. Maczek on October 29, 1944. Each year during Liberation Day festivities, Breda is visited by a large Polish contingent and the city of Breda reserves a special portion of the festivities for the fallen Polish soldiers. A museum and a monument honoring General Stanisław Maczek and the Polish 1st Armoured Division stands at the city center. General Maczek and soldiers of his division are buried in a nearby Polish military cemetery.
Breda was the site of one of the first panopticon prison establishments. This prison housed the only German war criminals ever to be imprisoned in the Netherlands for their war crimes during the Second World War. They were known as the 'Breda Four (and later three)' or "Vier von Breda". They were Willy Paul Franz Lages who was released in 1966 due to serious illness, Joseph Johann Kotälla who died in prison in 1979, Ferdinand Hugo aus der Fünten and Franz Fischer who both were released in 1989.
Funten and Fischer died in 1989.
- Breda (city) (~170,000)
- Prinsenbeek (~11,500) (added at the municipal reorganization in 1997)
- Bavel (~7,000) (added at the municipal reorganization in 1997)
- Teteringen (~6,500) (added at the municipal reorganization in 1997)
- Ulvenhout (~4,700) (added at the municipal reorganization in 1997)
The city of Breda is divided in 7 city sectors:
- Breda Centrum (Centre)
- Breda West (West)
- Breda Noord-West (Haagse Beemden) (Northwest)
- Breda Noord ( North)
- Breda Oost (East)
- Breda Zuid-Oost (Southeast)
- Breda Zuid (South)
Topographic map image of Breda, 2011. Click to enlarge.
Economic activities were mainly industrial. Breda was a center of the food- and drinking industry. Companies like Hero (lemonade), Van Melle (Mentos), De Faam (liquorice) and Kwatta (chocolate) are famous throughout Western Europe. Breda also had a sugar factory, supplying its best-known products. BREDA beer is a world renowned drink that is made in this region.
Breda formerly housed the largest brewery in the Netherlands (Oranjeboom). Interbrew, the Belgian owner of the brewery, closed the brewery in 2004. On closing of Oranjeboom Brewery, Breda beer production was moved to both Bremen and Leuven. Until 2008 when Randalls Brewery (in Guernsey) acquired the licence. Guernsey is now the only place in the world where draught Breda is brewed.
The decline of industrial activity did not harm the city's economy. The main economic activities now are business and trade. With the new Central Station built in 2011, Breda is now connected by high-speed trains to the main European cities. After 2009, a high-speed shuttle connects Breda to Rotterdam – The Hague / Amsterdam and Antwerp – Brussels, on the HSL-Zuid line.
In the centre of the city are the shopping centres De Barones and 't Sas. Major shopping streets are the Ginnekenstraat, Wilhelminastraat and Ginnekenweg. A market is held on the Grote Markt every Tuesday and Friday from 9 AM to 1 PM. A book and antique market is held on Wednesday from 9 AM to 5 PM.
Main sights 
The city center contains old buildings and portions of the singels (moats) and the harbour. Focal point is the Grote Markt, the main square with pubs and sidewalk cafes.
Park Valkenberg is a major public park, halfway between the main railway station Breda and the Grote Markt.
major historic buildings include:
- The Grote Kerk (Large Church) or Onze Lieve Vrouwe Kerk (Church of Our Lady), a major example of the Brabant style of Gothic Architecture.
- The Castle of Breda.
- The Begijnhof, a Beguinage.
- Saint Anthony's Cathedral (Sint-Antoniuskathedraal), the cathedral church of the Roman Catholic Diocese of Breda.
- City hall.
- The Spanjaardsgat, a 16th-century water gate.
For the numerous music events is the Chasse Theater.
Redheadday is a festival that takes place each first weekend of September. The two-day festival is a gathering of people with natural red hair, but is also focused on art related to the colour red. Activities during the festival are lectures, workshops and demonstrations. The festival attracts attendance from 20 countries and is free due to sponsorship of the local government.
Breda hosts the following museums:
- Breda's Museum
- Begijnhof Breda Museum
- Generaal Maczek Museum
- Bier Reclame Museum
- MOTI (Museum of the Image) before the Graphic Design Museum
- NAC Museum
- Heemkundig Museum Paulus van Daesdonck
- Museum Oorlog & Vrede [War and Peace Museum]
- Stichting Princenhaags Museum
- Breda Jazz Festival
- Breda Photo
- Singelloop Breda
Notable residents 
- "Colonel" Thomas Parker, the manager of Elvis Presley, was born and grew up in Breda as Andreas Cornelius van Kuijk.
- Breda is also home to Tiësto, an international electronic dance music artist. The title of his track 'Zero 76' featuring Hardwell (also a native of Breda) is derived from the dialing code of Breda.
- Breda is the birthplace of former Olympic swimmer Karin Brienesse and former field hockey player Remco van Wijk, who twice won the gold medal at the Summer Olympics with the Dutch National Team: 1996 and 2000.
- Breda is the city where the Dutch composers Daan Manneke and Kristoffer Zegers live.
- The Dutch football international Pierre van Hooijdonk played in Breda. Other formerly international Dutch football players from NAC Breda were Antoon (Rat) Verlegh, Kees Rijvers, Kees Kuijs, Leo Canjels, Daan Schrijvers, Frans Bouwmeester, Nico Rijnders, Ad Brouwers, Bertus Quaars, Martin Vreysen and Ton Lokhoff.
- Ramon Dekkers (dec) A world Muay Thai and Kickboxing Champian Was born, Grew up and died in Breda.
Breda has two railway stations, Breda and Breda-Prinsenbeek, providing connections with Zuid-Holland (Dordrecht – Rotterdam – Den Haag) and Tilburg – Eindhoven, and from station Breda also to Roosendaal with connection to Vlissingen and Antwerp. In addition, trains also head north from Breda to Amsterdam and east to Den Bosch – Nijmegen.
Twin towns – Sister cities 
Breda is twinned with:
- The Prince of Orange and subsequently King or Queen of the Netherlands continued to use the title; today Queen Beatrix claims the title Baron of Breda.
- CBS 2008 Wijkinformatie Breda
- "Brew coup as Breda is made in Guernsey « This Is Guernsey". Thisisguernsey.com. Retrieved 2013-03-12.
- "Breda". Randalls Brewery. 2012-11-22. Retrieved 2013-03-12.
- "Graphic Design Museum Breda is niet meer". BredaVandaag.nl. 2011-11-28. Retrieved 2012-02-14.
- "Wrocław Official Website – Partnership Cities of Wrocław". (in English, German, French and Polish) © 2007 Wrocław Municipality. Retrieved 2008-10-23.
|Wikimedia Commons has media related to: Breda|
|Etten-Leur||Gilze en Rijen|