Last year a very large tower has been erected in my home town. It's not much compared with some skyscrapers in the US, but it's extraordinary for Tilburg. It's 142 metres high and on top you can see the surrounding area. Don't know yet if that will be possible but it would be great for taking pics!
This building a few years ago was the first large tower to be seen when approaching Tilburg, the red, brown tower of 'Interpolis'. However recently another big tower can be seen as well, 'Westpoint' (see other tip)l. These buildings of Interpolis were built in 1998. The highest tower is ca. 98 metres high.
There's a large influx of migrants in Tilburg as in most European cities. The first gulf came from the Middle East, mainly Turkey and Marocco. With such large muslim communities eventually it only was a matter of time before a mosque was built. At first there were many protests in the area.
But tell me now, when you look at it doesn't it look beautiful? I always pass it by train when I'm going to work and I must say it looks just great. It gives a bit of an oriental atmosphere in the middle of Tilburg!
This neo-gothic church in the centre of Tilburg at the 'Heuvel' square is not as beautiful as the Gothic Cathedral in nearby 's-Hertogenbosch but it's something worth looking at for just a moment of your time. Built in between 1874 and 1889.
The Hasseltse Kapel ('chapel of Hasselt') is the oldest building in Tilburg. It dates from around 1530, but maybe even earlier 15th century. It's located in the very north of Tilburg. After its actual function was outlawed by Calvinist rule it has been a house and a pub and has been used for storage. In 1971-1972 the building was restored. The chapel is consecrated to the virgin Mary. In May there are some special activities around this chapel. Kids can come and buy some candy and people can light a candle for the Virgin Mary.
Originally the older and lower building was the Academy of Music. The two towers were finished in 1998 and are c. 60 metres and clearly to be seen when approaching Tilburg from the southeast, coming from Eindhoven. Before 9/11 these towers sometimes were called the Tilburg 'Twin Towers'.
The Church of Sint Dionysius is the central Tilburg church. This church is build on the remnants of the former midieval church. In 1823-1827 the old church was broken down except for the tower. Architects J. Backx and W.F. Conrad managed the construction of the new church from 1892 to 1895. The design was of C.F. van Hoof. The inventory partly stayed, for example the altar from 1700.
Look at the architecture. There are some wonderful buildings to be found all over the city, although the secret is often to look up to the second floor. I particularly like this one, a former office-building at the harbour, a nice example of Amsterdam School architecture.
They promised us high-quality architecture, we got this instead. Architecture of power. Welcome to the world of the big money, where all things are ruled by men who all want to have the biggest (pun intended just to indicate what level these people are on). This office-building of an insurance company has been casting shadows over its neighbourhood for a few years now. What a monster! Unfortunately the politicians have already decided that Tilburg needs more of these things. Bad news for local people, good news for untalented architects. And of course we don't get to do our democratic say to decide if we really want this sort of thing to happen 'cause that would hinder progress. That's democracy for you! You can build this sort of thing without any problem, but if you'd try to paint your house a different colour you would get in trouble.
Did you know Tilburg was a royal city once? King Willem II lived here for much of his life, finding the rest he needed so much. He even had himself built a palace. Unfortunately the good man died before it was finished. The palace became a school instead, one of its most famous students being Vincent van Gogh. It's now part of the town hall (I got married here!), and everything around it was destroyed in the 1960's. A big concrete fountain in front of it, a gift from a smelly factory that wasn't welcome anywhere else in the country, replaced a small park while the black building at the left is one of mayor Becht's biggest crimes against good taste. People call it "the black coffin". Sometimes there's no need to destroy history, you can also just humiliate it.
Tilburg's oldest building is the chapel of Hasselt (that's a neighbourhood in the north of the city), a small building from the 15th century in a very modest gothic style. It's dedicated to Mary, and every year during the whole month of May it's the centre of a well attended pilgrimage. If you want to pray for fertility and a happy love life, this is the time and place to go! You can also just buy some candy.
To get here take bus 1 to the north and get off at the hospital.
The picture shows the chapel in the snow in winter 2002/2003. I just had to take a picture that day so I could use it as a Christmascard.
I love churches! Even if they have been treated as badly as this one. Behind this neo-gothic mask a true gothic tower is hidden. This one used to belong to Tilburg's first church, but that one was replaced by a new one in the 19th century. There are often concerts here by students of the conservatory. The church recently received a baroque organ for this purpose.
You can visit the church quite often, especially on Saturdays. The interior is eeehmmm...interesting. Admire all the marble! And then touch it. You'll find that it's not real marble at all, but wood painted to resemble marble. Very convincing really. And typical for church interiors of the early-19th century.
More large buildings in Tilburg. Near the city centre and near the Central Train Station several new buildings are projected. The highest tower would have been 105 metres, so gradually one more tower giving Tilburg a skyline, ha.
At least that's what I thought when I wrote it last year. They have decided not to build it. So all what is left, is how it would have looked like ;) The buildings around the large tower however are standing now.
Another interesting old building is the synagogue in the Willem II-straat which recently became a synagogue again after decennia of other uses. This whole street is full of nice buildings.