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Tilburg is the sixth largest city (203.482 inhabitants) of the Netherlands, and behind Eindhoven the second largest in North Brabant. It became big during the industrial revolution. It used to be one of the big textile producing cities in the Netherlands, but with the disappearance of this kind of industry to cheap-labour countries, Tilburg needed to modernise it's industries. The last couple of years a lot of work has been done to clean up the city center, and to modernise this area.
Tilburg has one University and a couple of highschools within it's borders. including a conservatorium and dance-school, and houses the Rockacademy. In Tilburg is also the Dutch highschool for journalism. All these students give Tilburg the feel of a university city. And as a result of this there is a good nightlife, and there are a couple of good venues for music, of which 013 is the largest, attracting international artists.
Tilburg hosts a lot of good music festivals. Festival Mundial is the biggest of these, and it is a festival dedicated to worldmusic, although at some slots they programm popular rock music as well. It takes place in the Leypark onthe southern end of the city center. The festival takes two days, and is normaly held at the end of June.
A big independent festival takes place in the middle of september and it is called IncubateIt gathers all kinds of bands, acts, performances and artists from all over the independent music and art world. The festival which is still growing takes place all over the center of Tilburg in many venues and bars. It also includes a filmprogramm, and the hugely popular Heavy Metal bowling
Tilburg is also a center of other music genres, like Jazz, for which Paradox is the focalpoint. It organises the Stranger than Jazz festival. The Roadburn festival at the end of april in 013 focusses on metalfans, and the Optimus-Prime Festivals (no paticular dates) is for noise and take place at NS16.
Tilburg hosts the biggest Kermis (funfair) of the Netherlands. It lasts ten days and takes starts around the middle of july. There are all kind of themed days, but the most famous one is the 'Pink Monday' a day that grew into a meeting for the gays, lesbians and bisexuals.
In 2013, the Dutch throne was passed on to King Willem-Alexander and what used to be Koninginnedag (Queen's Day) will from 2014 become Koningsdag (King's Day). The date will be changed to the 27th of April, which is the king's birthday. In 2014 however it will be on the 26th of April because the 27th falls on a Sunday. On this day the streets of almost every sizable town in the country come alive with activity.
The (catholic) south of the Netherlands celebrates carnaval at the beginning of the year. (40 days before Easter). During the days of Carnaval, all the names of the cities and towns get another (a bit loony) name. The party starts at Saturday and ends the following Tuesday. It goes hand in hand with a lot of drinking and dressing up.
Tilburg does not have an airport, but connections from the airport in Eindhoven are not that bad. From Tilburg to this airport it should take you about an hour by public transport (first the train to Eindhoven, and from there the bus to the airport.)
Tilburg can be reached by train very easy. Due to the central position of Tilburg in a line of big cities in Noord-Brabant, connections to other cities are good.
Tilburg is located north of the A-58 highway that follows the route Eindhoven - Tilburg - Breda through the south of the province.
Tilburg is actually not that bad to drive around in, and to park your car. Only in the center most parking spaces are reserved for people with a permit, but there are enough parking lots, and there are some parking spaces just outside of the center, which only require a 10 minute walk to the center.
There are several city-busses connecting several neighbourhoods, all of them start at the Central Station. In the mornings during the week they can be very busy as there are a lot of students finding their way to the campus of the highschools and the university.
If you stay in the center of Tilburg, it is easy enough to find your way on foot.
As many other Dutch towns and cities Tilburg is a perfect city for using a bicycle.
Internet cafés are not as widespread as you would expect, but you can easily find one in the popular cities. Most hostels, hotels and camp sites have several computers, so you can keep connected with folk at home. Here is a list of internet cafés that could come in handy for travellers. Otherwise, most libraries have lots of computers and prices are around the €2-3 per hour range, although sometimes it can be even more expensive.
Wireless internet access using wifi is becoming more popular and is usually available at most hotels and increasingly at train stations. Also in trains (at least in most first class wagons, but also more and more in second class) and some buses you can use wifi. Finally, places like McDonald's and Starbucks have free wifi, and smaller individual business like cafés and restaurants are on the rise too offering these services. More often than not, these service tend to be free of charge, though there might be a limited time you can use the internet.
See also: International Telephone Calls
The country code for the Netherlands is 31. The outbound international prefix is 00. The general emergency number is 112, like many other countries.
0800 numbers are toll-free and for 09xx numbers are charged at premium rates. Mobile phones have numbers in the 06 range, and calls to cell phones are also priced at higher rates.
From internet cafés, it is also usually possible to make long distance international calls. Like in other countries, telephone booths have almost disappeared, though some are still found around public transport stations, where you can use a few coins to make calls. It is only recommended for local calls.
The cellular phone network in the Netherlands is GSM 900/1800. The main providers of cell phone networks are KPN (Dutch only), T-mobile and Vodafone, who cover the whole country. Other operators, like Hollandsnieuwe, Simyo or Tele2, use one of these 3 networks basically.
It is best to buy a SIM card when in the Netherlands for use in your cellphone, as this usually works out cheaper than using the one from home. If you are planning to study or work in the country and stay for several months, buying a cellphone is the best option. A simple one, sometimes with €10 worth on it, can be bought from around €25. The simplest smartphones are around €75.
The rate for sending a postcard or letter up to 20 grams within the Netherlands is €0.64 (2014). Since 2010 there are stamps available for domestic post which no longer include the value in €. Instead, there are stamps available with either a '1' or a '2' as a substitute for value. The '1' can be used for letters and postcards up to 20 grams, while 20-50 grams require you to use the '2'-valued stamps (or two '1'-valued stamps of course).
Sending items to other EU countries and the rest of the world (there is one price since 2014) will cost €1.05. Stamps are sold at post offices, supermarkets and smaller shops/kiosks; often the place where you buy your postcards can also supply you with stamps.
Sending parcels abroad is more costly. A standard-sized parcel between up to 2 kilograms will cost you €9 for destinations within the EU and €18 (both without Track & Trace) to the rest of the world. Prices with Track & Trace start at €13 and €24.30 respectively. Parcel service is available from major post offices only; standard-size boxes are on sale there as well. For sending parcels, it might be just as competitive and fast to use a company like TNT, UPS or DHL.
If you need to receive mail while moving around, you can have it sent poste restante (to be called for) to a post office of your choice, where it will be kept for a month. If you come to claim it, bring a valid ID, and make sure to have told the sender that the name on the envelope must be an exact match with that in your passport. For addresses of post offices, as well as more information, consult the TNT website.
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