Discover Benelux, Issue 62, February 2019

Page 46

Discover Benelux  |  Top Places to Visit in the Netherlands in 2019  |  The Ultimate Destination

Fort Isabella.


A real-life treasure hunt TEXT: EVA MENGER  |  PHOTOS: GEMEENTE VUGHT

In the South of the Netherlands, not far from atmospheric city ‘s Hertogenbosch (Den Bosch for locals), lies Vught, a small village surrounded by greenery and cultural highlights. With local programme Treasures of Vught, authorities have put the area’s most valuable, often hidden, sights back on the map. The origins of Vught go way back. The village was first mentioned in 1006, and those centuries of history are still highly visible throughout the area – whether it is Maurick Castle, a medieval castle built in 1400, or Fort Isabella, an impressive renovation of a 1617 fortification. Other treasures are 20th-century manor Landgoed Huize Bergen, Brabant’s longest beach De IJzeren Man (The Iron Man), and 46  |  Issue 62  |  February 2019

Nationaal Monument Kamp Vught, a memorial of what, during World War II, used to be the only SS concentration camp located outside of German annexation.

DePetrus “These are all beautiful and historical sights, but the treasure that we’re perhaps most proud of is DePetrus,” alderman Pennings tells us. “This 1884 church, located in the heart of the village, was saved from demolition and instead rebuilt into a meeting centre, including a library, museum and fairtrade shop. Now it’s a place where visitors can explore new ways of storytelling and information sharing.” Upon its opening in 2018, the centre was praised worldwide, with positive reviews coming from media outlets including CNN and Forbes.

DePetrus’ biggest attraction is the library, which, next to a host of modern and classic literature, offers facilities where self-development is encouraged by way of meaning, interpretation and context. There is also a comfortable reading café for hungry and thirsty visitors to settle down in, and a meeting centre for daily activities aimed at improving the quality of life amongst local citizens. Last but not least, DePetrus is home to The Vught Museum, which exhibits a large and diverse collection of work by local painters, as well as a visual telling of the village’s fascinating history. In addition to this permanent display, it curates temporary, often local exhibitions. This month, for example, visitors can view work by town local and photographer Wim van