Travelling through the province of Brabant after the strokes of the Dutch painter.
The love of the countryside and farmers determine the work of Vincent Van Gogh in its infancy. He painted with his heart many landscapes of North Brabant, the southern province of the Netherlands where he was born and lived his youth. In it his became a artist, was impregnated environmental and recreational binge with his personal palette of colours, so that in just ten years his performed 800 paintings and 1,000 drawings. In 2015 are met 125 years of his death, in addition to other proposals launched in the Netherlands, the province of Brabante has released the Route of Van Gogh, suitable to continue cycling and step by step to discover its early scenarios.
The journey begins in Zundert, at 138 km south of Amsterdam, where the artist was born in 1853. The town preserves its rural physiognomy, drawn by mills, forest trees and languid strawberry fields aligned along the trails. The house where Van Gogh was born, no longer exists, but, instead, a building of Dutch architecture recreates, memorable photographs and documents. The garden at the rear, in which was installed a restaurant, is a replica of that had the family home.
The visit to the village passes by the church first, where his father exerted like a Protestant pastor, the sacristy is today a workshop for young artists and the cemetery where lies his older brother which died at birth and was named as Vicent, a fact that framework his childhood. After you can make a tour of 8 km which, through the forests, leading to some places that inspired his first paintings.
Road to Tilburg
Following a chronological order, you must travel 41 km to Tilburg, a textile town with long tradition like shows its museum, where Van Gogh took his first drawing lessons. There, the modern center of Vincent’s Art Room reproduce the classroom where Van Gogh discovered his vocation and makes available to everyone the opportunity to paint like the painter, by using digital displays that teach his technique.
Looking for inspiration
We can stop at Brenda, whose center recalls that in the sixteenth century was one of the strongholds of the Netherlands, before following the path of Van Gogh in Eitten-Leur, at 42 km from Tilburg. Aware that wanted to become a painter, the young Vicent settled in this picturesque village of Brabant, where had moved his family to find the inspiration in its people and landscapes.
The next step is Den Bosch, or s’-Hertogenbosch also. In its Noord-Brabant Museum, housed in a palace of the eighteenth, you can see early works and sketches of the characters in one of his masterpieces: The Potato Eaters (1885). Den Bosch is a lovely place to stroll through the old walled town, sail by boat on the canals and enjoy a coffee with the typical Boshe ball (ball cream bathed in chocolate). With the option of taking the detour to the Heeswijk Castle, we arrive at Nuenen (at 38 km from Den Bosch), where Van Gogh lived his artistic eclosion: here he painted thousands of sketches and a quarter part of all his works.
All Nuenen is Van Gogh, like a open air museum. Its streets and surroundings reminiscent of the painter and there are panels of inconicos places that show the actual scenery along the pictorial works: Congregation leaving the Reformed Church in Nuenen (1884), The Old Tower of Nuenen with a Labrador (1884), (1885)
His favorite landscapes
The genius, painted at all hours; he stops along the farmers to get his tired expression; sought the mournful light of that oppressive reality. His obsession caused the refusal of the authorities, who saw in his paintings a social critique. At finally he had to leave Brabant, beginning a journey that took him to London, The Hague, Paris, Provence and more than 30 locations in 38 years. The Vicentre which Nuenen dedicated to the artist, shows a detailed chronology of his life and work in the province, and images of the 21 places that served as models. One of the most photographed is the Windmill of Roosdonck (1884), located in the suburbs and converted into a restaurant. In your visit you can see the sights that attracted the painter and taste the Brabant gastronomy, based in soups and stews with the famous potatoes of the area, accompanied by gingerbread and the peculiar local beer with sweet taste.
The last step is Eindhoven, where the painter teach class. His contribution to the route is a bike trail that is illuminated at night, remembering sky Starry Night (1889). These scintillating 600 meters put the finish of the trip on the stages of the Dutch genius.