NB Please note that the end date for this permanent exhibition is subject to change. Please check the museum’s website for the latest information.
The permanent exhibition The Nassaus of Breda – Castle, City and Country tells story of the origins of today’s Dutch royal family: the House of Orange-Nassau. In this multimedia exhibition, the Stedelijk Museum Breda offers a surprising look at the story of the Nassaus of Breda through historical objects, paintings, images and documents.
It is a well-kept secret that that the career of William the Silent was built on the prestige and property of the Breda Nassaus. In addition to the title “Prince of Orange”, he inherited palaces in Brussels and Breda, an extensive library and an art collection. The palace in Breda is one of the first Renaissance palaces outside Italy, designed by a pupil of the Italian artist Raphael.
The exhibition took four years to prepare, during which the art collections, archives and archeological objects were examined in order to tell a new coherent narrative. Many objects were restored, including medallion portraits from the Nassau Palace and a coat of arms, both from the sixteenth century, as well as a four and half meter high model of the tower of Breda’s Great Church.
The exhibition is composed of three scenes and an epilogue, during which the visitor zooms out, as it were, from Breda Castle to the city of Brabant. The first part revolves around the main characters and the court. Then the daily life in the city is discussed, with attention to religion, trade and administration. Finally, the visitor ends up in the turmoil of the Eighty Years’ War, in which the ‘Turfschip of Breda’ plays a central role. The epilogue shows the excavated ornaments of the Renaissance palace that were removed at the beginning of the nineteenth century.