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Drunen is a town with a population of 18,216 (1 January 2017) in the municipality of Heusden in the southern Netherlands. Drunen is part of a region called the Langstraat ('long road') which is historically known for its leather and shoe industry. Since 1813, Drunen was a separate municipality, consisting of the towns Drunen, Elshout, and Giersbergen.
The center of Drunen is a plaza surrounded by the Sint-Lambertuskerk and city hall. Furthermore, there are some pubs and stores in the middle of town. Drunen was heavily shelled by British Forces in late 1944 in the days prior to liberation and its main buildings were heavily damaged or destroyed outright. In consequence, there are few historic buildings. Recently the downtown area, including the plaza, has been modernized.
On 01, it was incorporated along with the municipalities of Heusden and Vlijmen into the new, enlarged municipality of Heusden, containing the towns Drunen, Elshout, Giersbergen, Heesbeen, Doeveren, Hedikhuizen, Herpt, Oud-Heusden, Heusden, Vlijmen, Nieuwkuijk and Haarsteeg. Some argued that this enlarged municipality should have been called the municipality of Drunen, being the biggest of the three towns. However due to the historical importance of Heusden, and possibly to avoid ill will in the almost equally large town of Vlijmen, the municipal was named after Heusden.
1813: Drunen becomes a municipality in the Kingdom of the Netherlands.
1935: Elshout (previously part of the municipality Oud-Heusden) is added to Drunen.
1944: Liberation of Drunen in World War II at which the church tower and many of the historic buildings are destroyed.
1997: The municipality of Drunen is incorporated into the enlarged municipality of Heusden.
2007: The modernized centre of Drunen is officially opened.
Drunen is internationally known of the Loon and Drunen Dunes in Dutch: Loonse en Drunense Duinen, a National Park consisting of dunes and forests that attracts many tourists. To emphasize the link between Drunen and the Dunes, along with the opening of the modernized centre a piece of art was uncovered, that contains fragments of a poem about the dunes.
In the past an oldtimer museum (Autotron) was located in Drunen, but this was moved to another town called Rosmalen. The museum, designed by architect Anton Pieck (known from the Efteling) is currently used as a theatre. The building also harvests different music, dance and art groups.
A theme park called Land van Ooit was located in Drunen as well. However, on 22 November 2007 the park closed. Subsequently, the property (44 acres (180,000 m2)) was purchased by the local government for recreational and infrastructional purposes.
Famous inhabitants of Drunen include:
- Paul van Loon, children horror novelist
- Jolijn van de Wiel, child actress
- Michiel van der Heijden, Mountainbiker and Cyclo Cross Rider
- Jay Hardway (Jobke Heiblom), DJ/Producer and drummer.
- Jacqueline Steenbeek, miss Holland 2012
- Draaiorgel de Vijf Beelden — Dutch street organ of the Five Figures, previously exhibited at Autotron in Drunen, until its closing.