A symbol for the story of the city
Breda is a city where people come and go. Students, commuters and tourists – they all leave something behind when they depart. In actual fact, nothing has changed throughout the years. The museum’s history is typical of that of the city of Breda as a whole: the many people who come and go make that history varied and multi-coloured. Breda worked towards diversity long before it became trendy. This makes our past more topical than ever – and that is reflected in our building.
Stedelijk Museum Breda is located in the Oudemannenhuis (old men's house), also known as De Beyerd. One of Breda’s oldest buildings, for many centuries it served as a guesthouse for old men, the homeless, the sick, and visitors to the city. The building symbolises Breda’s origins and how it grew to be a vital city that brings together a wide diversity of people and businesses.
Visitors, the homeless and the sick
Our completely refurbished museum is therefore also Breda’s oldest hotel. The building is mentioned as early as 1246 in a benefaction of Godfried van Schoten – Lord of Breda – to the ‘Hospitali de Breda’. It offered visitors to the city, pilgrims and the homeless a place to eat and sleep.
The current appearance of De Beyerd is much younger. In 1643, the building was given a new facade. The city’s two most famous old men – Thijs and Geert – were immortalised on the bluestone entrance. In the sixteenth and seventeenth centuries, De Beyerd housed people suffering from the plague. After that it became a home for the mentally ill.
Cultural centre and museum
Until 1954, the building was used as a home for old men. In the lively and genteel Boschstraat, the residents would lean against the fence, chatting and smoking. And wearing decent footwear, as it was not done for gentlemen to wear clogs in the city. Another interesting custom was that four of the old men would eat from the same plate of food.
After the residents had left, De Beyerd was turned into a cultural centre. From the beginning of this century, it first housed the Graphic Design Museum and after that the Museum of the Image (MOTI). Since 1 January 2017, it has been home to Stedelijk Museum Breda, a merger of MOTI and Breda’s Museum.