A step-by-step guide to the urban scene of Tilburg

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 in 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 us take you through Tilburg step by step. Image: DutchReview/Supplied

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, we can get that.

So when we were asked to hop on an e-step and cruise through urban Tilburg, we were actually a bit surprised. After spending a beautiful day in the city, 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 feel kind of rebellious, because e-scooters are mostly illegal throughout the Netherlands. However, Tilburg is a pioneering town and they took it upon themselves to develop an e-step that actually got approved by Dutch road authorities.

It hits speeds of up to 25 kilometres per hour, which is speedy but not frightening, and brakes and steers extremely responsively. What a treat — especially with the many comfy bicycle paths around!

You can also grab an e-step at the Mercure Hotel in the city centre. All the stuff in this article can, of course, be done by bike or on foot (wouldn’t recommend that), but it’s the e-step that made our day unforgettable.

Before we fully get into our urban tour of Tilburg, we’d like to give a quick shout-out to our friends at Ticket to Tilburg who helped us show you all the different aspects of city life Tilburg has to offer!

Step one: the Spoorzone — Tilburg’s urban heart

Tilburg has its square with nice cafés and an old church, but it also has the Spoorzone: the city centre for the young and cool, which was redeveloped from what used to be the old train yard.

The tracks are still there. Image: DutchReview/Supplied

Everything an urbanite could wish for is present in the Spoorzone. Grab some grub at the artistic RAW bar or enjoy a beer at the funky square.

We’re sure that if you return here in the evening, there’s a party or two going on. Image: DutchReview/Supplied

The Spoorzone is also home to the LocHal, which, although it isn’t something quintessentially urban, is definitely a spot one cannot miss.

Step two: Ladybird Skatepark at the old wagon workshop

The epic Ladybird Skatepark is located in an old wagon workshop. It consists of two parts: a wooden competition park and a junior street park. Skateboarders and inline skaters are welcome here every Monday, Wednesday, Thursday, and Saturday.

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.

Right beside it is the Hall of Fame, a culture factory where you can experience more or less everything when it comes to urban sports and culture.

Let’s get stepping and enjoy the great outdoors at…

Step three: Spoorpark — Tilburg’s Central Park

The Spoorpark in Tilburg just opened in 2019, so it’s all brand new. Creating it was a massive undertaking that 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.

Climb up the Kempentoren to enjoy Spoorpark from above. Image: DutchReview/Supplied
Spoorpark is practically Tilburg’s Central Park. Image: DutchReview/Supplied

The park provides tons of opportunities for sports of all kinds (there’s even an urban sports park present). Especially the skate bowl and mountain bike range at the end are not to be missed! You can enjoy drinks and fancy food at the T-huis and even do some city camping.

Enjoy the skate park at Spoorpark. Image: DutchReview/Supplied

Step four: the many marvelous murals of Tilburg

We got our hands on a map with the best graffiti spots of Tilburg, which conveniently takes you through the entire city as well — not just the hotspots. One of the first areas we got to explore was the Piushaven, a spot one wouldn’t reach as quickly if they were to just venture into town on foot.

Just one of the many murals of Tilburg. Image: DutchReview
Summertime and the livin’ is easy…at least in Puishaven. Image: DutchReview/Supplied

These beautiful murals are sprinkled all around the town, sometimes nicely in the spotlights, sometimes in clever unexpected places. Here are two more, the rest you can discover yourself.

Another pretty mural. Image: DutchReview/Supplied
This last one can be found at the Spoorzone. Image: DutchReview/Supplied

Step five: 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.

Ollie’s: this one was awesome. Image: DutchReview/Supplied
One of the finest barbershops to come across. Image: DutchReview/Supplied

Speaking of eating in Tilburg, there are plenty of places with a funky character to eat out at in ‘013’. Our personal favourites include RAW in the Spoorzone, the Wagon — an awesome former train wagon where you can eat, and EVE, where you can enjoy a drink or two.

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.

The Cat’s Back has some of the best indoors grafitti. Image: DutchReview/Supplied

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.

You just have to try burgers at this place. Image: Ticket to Tilburg/Supplied

Step six: Doloris — the metamaze you just have to experience

The best way to describe Doloris would be to say that it’s, well, an experience. What they offer is something truly 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 want to, 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 our urban trip day — big surprise), having an indoor activity on your list of must-visit hidden gems in Tilburg is always a good thing.

If you need some more places to hide from the rain, Tilburg has an excellent selection of museums, such as the Natuurmuseum and the Textielmuseum.

Step seven: enjoy great music in Tilburg

With headliners like Kendrick Lamar and A$AP, the biggest hip-hop festival in the Netherlands, Woo Hah!, is one not to be missed. It started off as pretty small, but quickly grew to 30,000 visitors (completely sold out — ticket wise that is) within two years and as someone who attended two years ago, I am not surprised.

Watching five seconds of the aftermovie and I guarantee you’ll be scrambling to buy a ticket for next year’s edition.

Besides hip-hop, why not enjoy an evening at a concert hall in Tilburg? One of the most notable music venues is 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 famous 013 hall. Image: Ticket to Tilburg/Supplied

The list of great music doesn’t stop there! Also check out FactoriumTheaters TilburgParadox, and De Nieuwe Vorst — venues that always have something fun and exciting happening!

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. 

What’s your favourite place in Tilburg? Let us know in the comments below!

Feature Image: DutchReview/Supplied
Editor’s Note: This article was originally published in June 2020, and was fully updated in June 2021 for your reading pleasure.

Abuzer van Leeuwen 🇳🇱
Abuzer van Leeuwen 🇳🇱http://www.abuzervanleeuwen.nl
Abuzer founded DutchReview a decade ago because he thought expats needed it and wanted to make amends for the Dutch cuisine. He has a Masters in Political Science and IT but somewhere always wanted to study history or good old football. He also a mortgage in the Netherlands and will happily tell you too how to get one. Born and raised in Rotterdam, Abuzer now lives in Leiden but is always longing back to his own international year in Italy.

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