Tiel is the largest town in the Betuwe area, which is famous for being one of the centres of Dutch fruit production. Orchards in the area produce apples, pears, plums and cherries. Tiel once housed the famous jam factory De Betuwe. After production was moved to Breda in 1993, the entire complex was demolished, although a part was reconstructed later. Reminding of this industry is a jam manufacturing museum and a statue of Flipje, the raspberry-based comic figure who starred in De Betuwe's, jam factory advertisements since the 1930s.
Tiel is one of the oldest towns in the Netherlands. Originally located on the Linge river it became an important centre of trade in the early Middle Ages, especially after the demise of Dorestad in the 9th century. Later in the Middle Ages Tiel was associated with the Hanseatic League. At the height of its glory Tiel had two big churches, one of which, the St. Walburg, was a collegiate church that belonged to the Teutonic Knights and vanished after the Reformation while the other church, the St. Maarten, became Protestant. Much of the historic centre was destroyed during the Second World War.
Every year on the second Saturday in September, a festival known as Fruitcorso' is held, to celebrate the harvest of the fruit produced in the Betuwe area. It includes a parade of vehicles decorated with fruit. In the same weekend there's Appelpop on the Waalkade, which is one of the biggest free pop festivals of the Netherlands.
Tiel has also been known for its pewter industry. The last pewter factory cum museum, which mainly produced collectibles for tourists, went bankrupt in early 2004, but has since been revived. Tiel can be a good starting point to explore the rest of the scenic Betuwe area, particularly in May when all the fruit trees in the surrounding areas are in bloom.
The Dutch author and polemicist Menno ter Braak (1902–1940) grew up in Tiel.