The city of Breda has a deep connection to the Dutch Royal Family due to the marriage of the 11-year-old heiress Johanna van Polanen, the only child of John III, Lord of Polanen and the Lord of Breda, and Engelbert I, Count of Nassau. They were the great-great-grandparents of William I, Prince of Orange and thus ancestors of the Dutch Royal Family.
The Stedelijk Museum in Breda now has a new permanent exhibition about the Nassaus of Breda. As a visitor, you travel through three centuries of struggles, intrigue, love, marriage and loss.
Upon entry, you are greeted by this model of the Castle of Breda. The castle still exists and can be visited occasionally with a tour, but it is now in use by the Dutch Military Academy.
The exhibition holds some impressive items, such as Johanna and Engelbert’s Joyeus Entry charter, Cimburga of Baden’s (Johanna’s granddaughter-in-law) manuscript, an altar which includes Saint Elisabeth of Hungary and a portrait of Barbara of Nassau, an illegitimate daughter of Engelbert II, Count of Nassau and thus Johanna’s great-granddaughter.
I must say I was rather impressed with this exhibition. There was no annoying audio guide, a logical walking route, plenty of information in Dutch and English and some extras for children, which did not take away from the exhibition. The employees were all very involved and happy to see visitors.
If I had to name one thing I felt was missing, it would be an accompanying publication, but perhaps that will be forthcoming.
The Stedelijk Museum of Breda is within walking distance of the station. Plan your visit here.