Dutch Provinces: North Brabant

Figure 1.-- Unlike most of the Netherlands, North Brabant was predominatly Caztholic. Here is a group of altar boys with the parish priest in the village of Zijtaart. The portrait seems to have been taken about 1944. The caption reas, "Een groep misdienaars met pastoor A. van de Bult. Helemaal links is achter is mogelijk Harrie van de Ven (later priester gewijd, geboren in 1935). tweede van links is Frits van de Biggelaar, derde van links is Jan Munsters (later priester gewijd). Vijfde van links (kleine jongen vooraan) is Bert Kanters. Wie staan er nog meer op deze foto?" This translates as, "A group of altar boys with parish priest A. van de Bult. Far left behind presumably is Harrie van de Ven was born in 1935. (He later became a priest.) Second from left is Frits van de Biggelaar, third from left is Jan Munsters (later ordained as priest). Fifth from left (small boy in front) is Bert Kanters. Who else is in the picture?"

There are two southern provinces, North Brabant and Limburg, bordering on Belgium, where the population speaks a dialect similar to Flemish and where the majority is Catholic. Barbant was a medieval duchy. That duchy today is divided between the Netherlands and Belgium which is why the Dutch portion is called Noord Brabant. Barbant was extremely prosperous in the lare medieval period (14th and 15th centuries). The major cities were Leuven (Louvain), Antwerp (both now in Belgium), Breda and 's-Hertogenbosch. After the Union of Utrecht (1579), Brabant became a battlefield in the Dutch War for Independence against Catholic Spain (1588-1648). Spain prevailed in the southern Netherlands which is basically modern Belgium. The War was ended by the Peace of Westphalia, the northern part of Brabant became a part of the Netherlands. It was referred to as Staats-Brabant (State Brabant) which was placed under federal rule. The founding provinces of the Dutch Republic which were self-governing. The Dutch Government promoted efforts to preach Protestantism in Brabant, but did not impose it by force. (In contrast to Spanish policies in the south.) The Dutch efforts to convert the population failed, and Brabant remained as a largely Catholic military buffer zone. Gradually the name Noord Brababt became recognized. The people in North Brabant while Catholic, consider themselves Dutch and not Flemish. The Belgians have a province with the same name, Brabant, which actually is South Brabant. We notice a rural scene fron the province about 1910. A typical rural village in North Brabant is Zijtaart.


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Created: 5:48 PM 11/25/2008
Last updated: 5:52 PM 12/2/2009