Canals and windmills might be one of the reasons why you came to the Netherlands, but it probably won’t be the reason you’re spending a day in Tilburg. And while we love Tilburg because it has the best library of the Netherlands, lush natural scenery and an excellent shopping and foodie scene, this time around we’re taking you on a step-by-step (literally) tour through the urban culture hotspots of Tilburg.
Let’s be honest, Tilburg isn’t exactly what you’ve got in mind when it comes to a buzzing urban scene. Brooklyn and Berlin sure! Rotterdam and Eindhoven, you can get with that. But when we were asked to hop on an e-step and cruise through urban Tilburg and gaze at some awesome murals we were actually a bit surprised. After a beautiful day we were still surprised, but this time just pleasantly.
So settle in, pop-in some lo-fi-hip-hop tunes and get stepping with us through Tilburg.
A day on an electric-step
We actually feel kind of like a rebel, because e-steps are mostly not legal throughout the Netherlands. But Tilburg is a pioneering town and they’ve taken it upon themselves to develop an E-step that actually got approved by road authorities. It shows as well, you’ll hit speeds of up to 25 kilometres per hour, which is speedy but not frightening — and it brakes and steers extremely responsively. What a treat! Especially with the many comfy bicycle paths around.
You can also grab one at the Mercure Hotel for 20 euros per day. All the stuff in this article can, of course, be done by bike or on foot as well (wouldn’t recommend that), but it’s the e-step that made the day unforgettable.
|Before we get fully into our urban tour of Tilburg, we just wanted to give a quick shout out to our friends at Ticket to Tilburg! We love working with them and showing you all the different aspects of city life Tilburg has to offer.|
The many marvelous murals of Tilburg
We’ve got our hands on a map to the best graffiti spots of Tilburg, which conveniently takes you nicely through Tilburg as well — not just the hotspots. One of these first areas is the Piushaven, a spot one wouldn’t visit as quickly when you’ve just ventured into town on foot, glad we did though:
These beautiful murals are sprinkled throughout the town, sometimes nicely in the spotlights — sometimes at clever unexpected places. Here are two more, the rest you can discover yourself.
You can find that last one at the Spoorzone, which is where we’re stepping to right now anyway.
The Spoorzone – Tilburg’s urban heart
Tilburg has its square with cafes and a church, but it also has the Spoorzone — which in a way is the city centre for the young and cool. It’s all, of course, redeveloped from what used to be the old train yard.
Everything an urbanite could want is present in the Spoorzone; grab some grub at the artistic RAW bar or grab a beer at the funky square. I’m sure that when you return at nighttime there’s also a party or two going on.
The Spoorzone is also home to the LocHal, which, although it isn’t something quintessentially urban, is definitely a spot can not miss. Here’s some more information about the grooviest zone of Tilburg
Ladybird Skatepark at the Hall of Fame
The epic Ladybird Skatepark is located in the Hall of Fame, a culture factory where you can experience more or less everything when it comes to urban sports and culture. The skate park consists of two parts: a wooden competition park and a junior street park. Skateboarders and inline skaters are welcome here every day. Various ramps and obstacles that are organically designed create a unique skateable landscape — it’s all pretty edgy and big and one of the nicest skateparks of the Netherlands.
* Coronavirus is nasty and cancelling all our pretty plans sometimes, better check the website and see if the skatepark is open before you visit.
Let’s get stepping and enjoy the great outdoors at…
Spoorpark — Tilburg’s Central Park
The Spoorpark in Tilburg just opened last year, so it’s all brand new. It’s been a massive undertaking which took more than a couple of years and it’s safe to say that it’s more than just your regular run-the-mill park.
The park provides tons of opportunities for sports of all kinds (there’s an urban sports park present!). You can enjoy drinks and fancy food at the T-huis (the restaurant at the Spoorpark, opening up in the very near future) and even camp in the park at the ‘citycamping’ .
Especially the skate bowl and mountain bike range at the end are not to be missed! Want to know more? We’ve got a whole article on the Spoorpark right here for ya.
|Need more nature? This Northern-Brabant city is surrounded by some gorgeous natural scenery. There are national parks, the beautiful Koningshoeve and even sand dunes! What are you waiting for? Grab that bike or step again and get exploring!|
Cool shops and bars
Time to step back into town and discover some of the unique shops that Tilburg has to offer (not talking about coffeeshops, but those are there too, not gonna deny that in an article about the urban scene). We’ve stepped past all kinds of interesting stores, too many to mention actually.
|Check out (more than) a few other nice places in our guide to shopping and eating in Tilburg. You will get very hungry and very jealous of us, but all that means is that you should come and try these spots out as soon as possible.|
Speaking of eating in Tilburg. Plenty of places with a funky character to eat out at in ‘013’. Already mentioned RAW in the Spoorzone, there’s the ‘Wagon’ – an old-timey train wagon where you can eat (and is awesome) and you can enjoy a drink or two at EVE.
This time around we had burgers and beers at ‘The Cat’s Back’, and it’s not just the beers and burgers that we’re raving about. The Cat’s Back features some great hip-hop tunes, classic games and some of the best indoor graffiti we saw that day.
But of course, the reason why we were there was the burgers and beers. This place has a reputation of megalomanic burgers to uphold and they did just that. Throw in that they offer more than 35 imported beers and you’ve got one happy DutchReviewer.
Like we said, plenty of delicious options in Tilburg to check out. Head on over to our friends of Tickets to Tilburg for more info on all that good stuff.
|We love a good museum, and we’ve got a soft spot for Tilburg’s excellent selection of them. If you want some help choosing between all these cultural hotspots, then we have an overview of Tilburg’s museums. We’ve also got an in-depth guide to the Natuurmuseum and the Textielmuseum.|
Doloris – the metamaze you just have to experience
I finally got around to experiencing Doloris. The best way to describe Doloris would be to say it is, well, an experience. What they offer you is something really special. They have 2200 square meters of art and 40 ‘experience’ rooms which are designed to be a maze for you to find your way through. It was originally inspired by Peristal Singum Berlin, which is now permanently closed. Here’s an impression of it:
So this is really not something you could, in good conscience, miss, given that the original version of it is no longer in existence. Plus, given how often it rains in the Netherlands (and it did at the end of the urban trip day) having an indoor activity on your list of must-visit hidden gems in Tilburg is always a good thing.
Enjoy great music in Tilburg
Woo Hah! is the biggest hip-hop festival in the Netherlands and with headliners like Kendrick Lamar and A$AP, this is not a festival to be missed. It started off as pretty small scale but quickly grew to 30,000 (completely sold out — ticket wise that is) within two years and as someone who attended last year, I am not surprised. Watching five seconds of the after movie and I guarantee you’ll be scrambling to buy a ticket for next year’s edition: (corona permitting!)
Normally, when corona isn’t around, there are tons of events in Tilburg to check out. Why not enjoy an evening at a concert hall in Tilburg? Tilburg also has a groovy music scene. One of the most notable locations would be Poppodium 013. If you’re interested in exploring the vibrant and burgeoning music scene in Tilburg, you’ll definitely not be a stranger to this place.
The famed 013 hall (Image: merktilburg.nl)
The list of great music doesn’t stop there! Also check out Factorium, Theaters Tilburg, Paradox, and De Nieuwe Vorst — venues that always have something fun and exciting happening! As I said, music in Tilburg is burgeoning.
Now, just before we come to an end, we just want to say that coronavirus makes everything more unpredictable than usual. We had a great time exploring Tilburg during the corona times, but of course, be cautious and check the websites of cafes and museums before assuming they will be open as normal.
|Big thanks to Ticket to Tilburg for setting us up for a wonderful day exploring the street art and urban vibes of Tilburg! We loved getting to see yet another side of this awesome city- plus getting to sample even more of its delicious food.|
Feature Image: DutchReview.