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Van Gogh in Brabant

With original works by Vincent van Gogh

You may not know this, but world-famous artist Vincent van Gogh (1853-1890) was a 'Brabander.' The painter was profoundly attached to his native province; he was born here, and spent half of his life here. Brabant made him who he was. Van Gogh in Brabant illustrates his love of the region – with twelve of his works, along with letters, personal documents, photos, animations, and other unique objects.

Brabant masterpiece

Vincent van Gogh was born on 30 March 1853 in Zundert, a little place close to the border with Belgian. He was the eldest son of the minister Theodorus van Gogh and his wife Anna van Gogh-Carbentus. For the first few years of his artistic career, Van Gogh lived mainly in this region: initially with his parents in Etten-Leur, followed by two years in The Hague and Drenthe, then back with his parents in Nuenen. It was there that Van Gogh produced much of his oeuvre. In the spring of 1885, he painted what he himself regarded as his masterpiece: The potato eaters.

Off to France

At the end of 1885, Van Gogh left his homeland. Although he planned to return, we now know that he would never come back. The painter swapped Nuenen for Antwerp, before moving to the artistic centre of Europe: Paris. It was to be a defining period in the artist's life. In Paris, Van Gogh befriended artists such as Paul Gauguin, Henri de Toulouse-Lautrec, and Paul Signac, and was introduced to impressionism. Nonetheless, Van Gogh spent much of his time in France feeling homesick for the region of his birth. He painted various images with Brabant in mind. Van Gogh died on 29 July 1890, in the French village of Auvers-sur-Oise.

"This is the real Brabant and I love it so very much..."

— Vincent van Gogh
Vincent van Gogh, Watermill at Kollen, 1884. Photo: Peter Cox. Het Noordbrabants Museum, ’s-Hertogenbosch

Van Gogh in 's-Hertogenbosch

Het Noordbrabants Museum is the only museum in the Southern Netherlands where you will find original works by Van Gogh. It is a wonderful overview, with famous Brabant paintings such as the Watermill at Kollen, Peasant woman digging, Still life with bottles and a cowrie shell, The garden of the vicarage at Nuenen and Head of a woman. We shed light on his development as a painter and immerse you in the main themes from his Brabant period: the rural environment, peasant life, and still life.


International Booker Prize winner Marieke Lucas Rijneveld wrote a poem about the Brabant master especially for this presentation. Marieke Lucas read his letters, studied his work, and really got a feel for what it was like to be Van Gogh. On entering Van Gogh in Brabant, you will hear the poem and see on big screens a film by Roel van Tour. The powerful images of the authentic landscapes that are still to be found in Brabant, and the beautifully chosen words of Marieke Lucas, instantly transport you to the Brabant farm life back then. Van Gogh's world.

Follow in his footsteps

Can't get enough of Van Gogh? Places like Zundert, Nuenen, Tilburg and Etten-Leur are a vivid reminder of his life and traces of the artist can still be found to this day. Pay a visit to the Vincent van GoghHuis in Zundert, on the site of the house where he was born; take a look at the church in Etten where Van Gogh's father preached; or experience the Nuenen of 1883 at Van Gogh Village Museum. Drive, cycle, or walk around our region of beautiful routes and discover the Brabant of Vincent van Gogh. For a full overview of all the places, visit the Van Gogh Brabant website.

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