Vincent Van Gogh at Zundert


On the way which led from Breda to Anvers ( three hours away from Breda on foot), Zundert is a small village with 4000 predominantly Catholic inhabitants. Peopled with small farmers, with daily workers who were cultivating oats, wheat, rye and potatoes, it was a remote country village.

The community is also made up of Protestants who have fled Belgium, victims of persecution from the Spanish authorities, and who settled in Zundert. Thanks to its proximity to the border and its location on the main Amsterdam-Anvers road, the village was a busy thoroughfare attracting many merchants. Zundert market enjoyed a heavy traffic of carts, stagecoaches, travellers on horse or on foot...

The relationships with Belgium were significant. Many peasants owned properties on both sides of the border despite the Dutch authorities who did their best to prevent too close contacts with Belgium.

During the Belgian revolution, the Brabant Protestants feared that the Catholics rejoined Belgium and seceded. The tension was high and troops kept camping in the South Brabant.

The market was the economic core of the village with its Town Hall dating from 1830. Around the square, there were the tax office, the post office, the school and the inns to greet travellers.

The place was bustling with activity until 1854, when the railway Breda-Anvers led to a significant decrease of exchanges and trade.