The Basilica of Oudenbosch was build on the initiative of father Willem Hellmons between 1865 and 1892. The Basilica is a small copy of the St. Peter's Basilica in Rome. The Basilica has been renovated and is really worth a visit.
The Institute of St. Louis, a boarding school, was one of many catholic institutions in this small town. The chapel is itself a copy of the basilica, only smaller and much more subtle. The interior is worth a look if it's open. I was lucky to get there shortly before a mass was held, and the priest invited me in.
When Garibaldi's army, in an attempt to unite Italy, threathened the Vatican state, Father Hellemons gathered an army of Dutch volunteers, the zouaves, to fight for the pope. A hopeless cause, perhaps not even a just cause, but I think the volunteers do deserve some respect. A statue and a museum keep their memory alive.
Oudenbosch is situated within the triangular shape of three highways in Western Brabant running from Breda to Dordrecht, from Dordrecht to Roosendaal and from Roosendaal to Breda. I accidently reached it by car, taking a wrong turn off the freeway and starting to work my way in the direction of Breda. From far away the dome will be a guiding "light" to Oudenbosch.
To be honest, Oudenbosch itself is one of many villages within the province of North Brabant. On itself it holds not that many special things, but with the basilica of Saint Agatha and Barbara it has a highlight that doesn't know it's equal within The Netherlands. The more the surprise for an unexpected visit here by me. A surprise that I of course want to share with all of you.
To say that Oudenbosch does not have anything else to offer, would be incorrect. I have seen some nice picture about the old boradingschool of Saint Louis as well, which must be also a pretty sight. It again has a part that is a scale-model from the basilica. So, one can say that Oudenbosch eventually has two of them.
Fondest memory: The surprise in a moment of loosing my way and finding accidently this amazing building.