North Brabant (brəbăntˈ) [key], Du. Noordbrabant, province (1994 pop. 2,259,800), c.1,920 sq mi (4,970 sq km), S Netherlands, bordering on Belgium in the south and on Germany in the east. The capital is 's Hertogenbosch (Den Bosch); other cities include Tilburg, Eindhoven, and Breda. The province has fertile soil near the Maas (Meuse), which is its northern boundary, but elsewhere is comprised mainly of sandy heathland. Wheat and sugar beets are grown, cattle are raised, and dairying is pursued. Among the chief manufactures of the province are textiles, motor vehicles, electrical appliances, shoes, and pharmaceuticals. The history of the province was that of Brabant (see Brabant, duchy of) until the late 16th cent., when the Dutch revolted against the harsh Spanish rule. As a result of the Spanish reconquest of the larger part of the duchy, Brabant was divided by the Peace of Westphalia (1648) between the Spanish (later Austrian) Netherlands and the United Provinces of the Netherlands. North Brabant, the smaller part occupied by the United Provinces, remained Catholic. It was administered by the United Provinces as a territory and was not granted a seat in the States-General. In 1795, North Brabant became a province of the Netherlands. During the 19th cent. certain heathlands were reclaimed and settled; after 1900, settlement subsided. Nearly 50% of the population has since become urban.
The Columbia Electronic Encyclopedia, 6th ed. Copyright © 2012, Columbia University Press. All rights reserved.