If you’re looking for things to do in Noord (North)- Brabant, The Netherlands, then visiting the town of Megen has to be on your list. While Megen is a small place, there are plenty of things to do in this Dutch town and its surroundings. So, if you’re thinking of spending one day in Megen, then these things to do are perfect for you.
Whether you’re looking for fun activities to do in Megen, landmarks to see or beautiful streets to explore, there’s something to do for everyone. What I mainly love about Megen is that it’s one of the hidden gems in The Netherlands and has quite a few unusual places to visit. When you travel to Megen, I can guarantee you have found everything that there is to do and see in Megen in this travel blog.
Things to do in 24 hours in Megen, Noord (North)- Brabant, The Netherlands
The smallest fortified city in the province of Noord (North)- Brabant, is the small town, or village, or Megen. While it has had a rough past, nowadays it’s a peaceful historic Dutch town. There are plenty of must do’s in Megen that you have to add to your itinerary, and shopping local products are one of them.
If you’re thinking of spending a weekend in Megen, then I would definitely recommend you to to do so. There is plenty of sightseeing to do in Megen and its surroundings. Plus, if you ask me ‘Is Megen worth visiting?’, then I would say that it is. Tourism has found its way to Megen, but it’s not like this small town is overflown by people. During the warmer days some cyclists explore the city, but when I visited there were barely any people (and this was during high season in summer).
History and facts about Megen
Megen is officially a fortified city in the northeastern part of the province of Noord (North)- Brabant. Still, it only has a population of around 1660 people, which is why it’s often referred to as a village. Megen is located near the Meuse river which separates in this area of The Netherlands the provinces of Gelderland and Noord- Brabant from each other.
The area of Megen has been inhabited since at least 2000 B.C. The Celtics were the firsts to live here, and even the Romans have lived in Megen and its surrounding area for a bit. Some people suspect that the name ‘Megen’ refers to the Roman word of ‘Magus’, which means a city, field or place. But others think it comes from the Celtic word ‘Magos’, which means fordable place.
Megen is an old, historic city and was an independent earldom for a long time, and it was also the ‘capital’ of the earldom. Megen was first named as Meginum in 721. The earldom was first named in 1145. However, people think that it has existed for a lot longer. In the beginning, Megen was independent, as I’ve said before, however, after a while it became a little bit connected to the Duke of Brabant. The city obtained its city rights in 1357, and the town got fortifications in 1386. There were city walls, defence towers and four city gates. A few of the remains of that period are a prisoners tower that was part of the city wall of Megen and its Medieval street pattern.
But what you see now when you walk through this small Dutch town in the province of Noord- Brabant, is nothing compared to hundreds of years ago. Megen has had a hard time, very often. And the 16th century was a terrorising century for the town: There were significant fires and wars in 1507, 1512, 1528, 1573 and 1581.
The city of Megen also had its castle which was first built in 1137. The castle of Megen was then completely renewed in 1386. During the beginning of the 16th century, the city of Megen was destroyed twice by Geldersen (in 1512 and 1528), which also destroyed the castle. It was rebuilt again, and it became a fortified castle in 1580, but that didn’t help.
Because in 1581, the castle burned down yet again. This was also the year that the city walls of Megen were demolished and only the Gevangenpoort was left. There were several plans to rebuilt it again, but that eventually didn’t work out. In 1717, the area of land was bought by a man who assigned the building of the Clarissen monastery in Megen. Megen is a town where several monasteries were founded. The reason for that is that they were driven away from the meierij of ‘s-Hertogenbosch during the times of the Dutch Republic and the earldom of Megen had freedom of religion.
The city of Megen didn’t become independent straight away, nor was it easily kept that way. It became an earldom within the Duchy of Brabant, but the Duke of Gelre was very interested in occupying this earldom; however, he failed. After the treaty of Münster between the Dutch Republic and Spain, the earldom of Megen officially became a part of the meierij of ‘s-Hertogenbosch. This was one of the four quarters in the duchy of Brabant. And this meant that it became part of the Dutch Republic and was supposed to be reformed.
However, the dukes of Megen, the Spanish King and the German emperor didn’t like that idea. And it isn’t entirely sure whether the earldom was, or wasn’t, a part of the meierij after 1648. One thing that is for sure is that Megen was an independent earldom until 1795. In 1795, the French occupied The Netherlands, and the French sold the town of Megen to the Batavian Republic on the 5th of January 1800. And that’s when Megen became a part of Brabant and The Netherlands again.
Between 1806-1810, Megen also became a part of the Kingdom of The Netherlands, but the French arrived again, and Megen became part of the French empire from 1810-1813. Then finally, Megen combined with the rest of The Netherlands to the Kingdom of The Netherlands.
Fun fact: The Dutch movie ‘Oorlogswinter’, or a Winter at Wartime, is a film adaption of the book of Jan Terlouw. This movie was partly shot in Megen in 2008.
Where to stay in Megen
There are not a lot of places to stay in Megen, but if you’re looking for accommodation in Megen, then there are three B&B’s (as far as I know). You have to reserve via their websites.
Best restaurants in Megen
There is currently one place to go for drinks and a nice meal in Megen, so if you’re looking for good food in Megen, then you will want to make your way to Restaurant Op de Poort.
What to do in Megen
This travel guide for Megen will show you everything from museums to cheap things to do in Megen. And from interesting sights to other must-see landmarks in Megen. This small village in the province of Noord (North)- Brabant has so much to offer, and I hope you will love visiting this unusual place in The Netherlands.
Free walking tour Megen, Noord (North) – Brabant
As Megen is not the biggest place that you can visit in The Netherlands, the walking tour is only a bit over 3 kilometres. This includes seeing a beautiful view of the Meuse river, which is located just outside the village of Megen.
We start our tour through Megen at Broeder Everardusplein 1. This is the former Latin school and town hall in Megen. The Latin school was founded by Franciscan monks in 1645. These monks were forced to leave the city of ‘s-Hertogenbosch after it was occupied during the siege of ‘s-Hertogenbosch. The Franciscan monks were allowed to settle in Megen, on one condition: They had to establish a Latin school in Megen. In the beginning, the school was located in an old building in Megen, but another building to make space for both a city hall and school in Megen was created in 1776.
During the centuries that followed, this Latin school attracted students from the entire Dutch Republic, as they were unable to get higher education due to their faith elsewhere. After the 1800s, the school wasn’t gaining a lot of new students. And when the laws and society continued to change, a school in Megen wasn’t feasible anymore. It was closed on the 3rd of July 1967. The town hall in Megen was located on the part of the ground floor of this building until 1942. Since 1971, this building has been used as a communal area, with a gym, exhibition rooms, a cafe and more.
Now continue walking to Doctor Baptiststraat 9, here you will see an old house from 1742. Then you will walk to Schoolstraat 1. Here you will see the Sint- Servatiuskerk in Megen, which is dedicated to Saint Gervase. After a decision by Pope Innocent III Megen is a part of the Sint-Servaasbasilica of Maastricht. They also choose, together with the earl of Megen, the priest of Megen. The first church that was named after Saint Gervase was destroyed during the 80-year-war between the Dutch and the Spanish. From 1581 until 1872, a chapel was used as the church of Megen. Then in 1872, the current Sint- Servatiuskerk was built.
Then at Clarastraat 2, you will find a monastery called Sint- Josephsberg, which is the oldest monastery of the Clarissen nuns. It has been in use since 1721. At that time the Clarissen had to leave the town of Boxtel and the Meierij of ‘s-Hertogenbosch because there was no freedom of religion there. Megen, however, had a special status within the Dutch Republic and did have freedom of faith. The monastery was built on the same place where the remains of the castle of Megen were located. In 1727, the Dutch Republic took the earnings of the monastery, which meant that they had to search for different ways to make money. And they found several ways. One of them is the wafer bakery in Megen that has existed since 1766.
When the French arrived in The Netherlands, the nuns were displaced. But when the earldom of Megen was sold to the Republic, the monastery was allowed to function again in 1800. Then in 1810, Napoleon arrived and messed things up once again, and he ordered the restriction of monasteries.
In 1814, when King Willem I was ruling the country, the monastery still had a lot of restrictions. And only in 1840, under the rule of King Willem II, this disappeared, and they were given full rights. In 1896, the Clarissen repurchased their monastery from the Dutch state. You can walk into the monastery garden when its gates are opened. Now continue your walk through Megen to the outside of the town via Nonnenstraat, Maasdijk, Maasbommelsestraat, to end up inside the village again at Molenstraat 2A.
Here you will see the only windmill in Megen, which is found at the edge of the historic Dutch town in Noord (North)- Brabant. This windmill dates back to 1865 and was last restored in 1972. The mill is used to grind grain and is still in use today. You can usually visit the windmill every Saturday between 14:00- 17:00, plus they have a small local shop where you can buy grain and more local products. They can also give you some more information about this mill and, if you ask very nicely and they have the time, they are usually more than happy to show you a bit more of the mill.
After that, you will walk to the final remaining piece of the city wall and fortifications of Megen at Torenstraat 27. This defence tower in Megen was built in the 14th century. It was a part of one of the city gates in Megen, as well as a prison. Which is also the reason why it’s called ‘Gevangenpoort’, or prison gate. Don’t forget to have a look at the shooting holes in the tower. Then, make your way to Torenstraat, Wilhelminastraat and Kloosterstraat 6.
This is where you can find, yet another, monastery in Megen. These Franciscan monks also left the city of ‘s-Hertogenbosch after the siege in 1629. This monastery was built between 1648 and 1653; the church was completed in 1670. There’s a chapel next to the church where a funeral monument for one of the monks of this monastery who died in 1950.
The most unique part of this monastery in Megen is the monastery garden, called ‘De Hof van Lof’. You are allowed to visit this garden in Megen from 14:00- 16:00 on Friday and Saturday during the summer months via the garden gate. Honestly, this has been the most beautiful monastery garden I’ve visited in The Netherlands. Then walk to Kloosterstraat to end this Megen self-guided walking tour.
Buy local and regional products in Megen
When you’re visiting Megen, one of the things you need to do is to buy local products. Whether you’re looking for homemade jams, teas, flour, honey or something else, you will happily spend your shopping money in Megen. There are not a lot of places to buy something, but the shops and buildings that you can buy them in Megen are perfect. You can get local products and interesting things to buy at the following places in Megen:
- Bakkerij Antoon & Frans, Broeder Everardusplein 1C, 5366 BE Megen
- Megense Molen, Molenstraat, 5366 BX Megen
- ‘t Megense Winkeltje
Visit a museum in Megen
There is a small museum in Megen which is dedicated to monk Evarardus Witte, which is for the same men as the funeral monument next to the monastery. It can be visited for free, but only if you make an appointment.
Go for drinks in Megen
If you’re searching for a cosy pub and bar in Megen, then I’ve got the one for you. Royal Pub is the place to be for a nice beer in the town of Megen. In Dutch we say ‘klein, maar fijn’, or small but great. And that’s precisely what this pub in Megen is.
Things to do in the surroundings of Megen
As Megen is not the biggest town, it’s not easy to spend one day in the old village of Megen itself. That’s why, with these tips for things to do in the area of Megen, you can definitely spend one day in Megen and its surroundings. This way, you will discover the region around Megen and will explore it in a completely different way.
Cycle a long-distance route in The Netherlands
The Zuiderwaterlinie is one of The Netherlands most extended defence lines and the only one that has been used. It’s found almost entirely in the province of Noord (North)- Brabant, and they are great to cycle to. If you want to cycle along this Dutch defence line, then you do have to reserve quite a few days because it’s not a short bike ride. This route originally stretches from Bergen op Zoom – Steenbergen – Willemstad – Klundert – Zevenbergen – Breda – Oosterhout – Raamsdonksveer – Geertruidenberg – Den Bosch – Heusden – Drunen – Megen – Ravenstein – Grave.
So, choose a small part of this route, or cycle this long-distance route in The Netherlands completely. Whatever you end up picking, I can guarantee that you will love the places that you will be seeing.
Visit the lakes near Megen
De Gouden Ham, is a lake area near the town of Megen in Brabant, The Netherlands. And what’s something that is fun to do in a lake, besides swimming? Exactly! Renting a boat or canoeing. Luckily, there are several places where you can rent these near Megen (website in Dutch). I would definitely recommend you to check out this area, especially when the weather is warmer.
Explore the gardens of Appeltern
The Netherlands largest garden idea park is right around the corner of Megen. You only need to take the small boat from Megen to Appeltern, and you’re almost there. If you’re a fan of gardens, and always in need of inspiration, then these are great for you.
Discover nature reserve De Maashorst
At around 45 minutes cycling or 15 kilometres, from Megen, you will find Natuurgebied De Maashorst. Here you can walk through one of the most beautiful nature reserves in The Netherlands, and see the European bison, as well as wild horses and the taurus. You can cycle or walk through this nature reserve, but keep in mind to always keep your distance from animals, at all times. Do not think it’s ‘fun’ or ‘would make a great insta photo’ to walk through a herd of wild animals. They will see you as a threat, obviously, so please be smart and mindful of nature at all times. At Natuurcentrum De Maashorst, they can give you tips for cycling and walking routes in the area.
Walk in the surroundings of Megen
Several great walking routes start from Megen. The ones I’ve chosen to show you are 10 and 25 kilometres. The maps are in Dutch, but it shows the exact places that you will walk to, so you will be able to follow it easily.
Cycle and discover the region around Megen
There is a great cycling route that starts and ends in Megen, from where you can explore this region. You do have to take a small ferry a couple of times, but it’s worth it. You cannot rent a bike in the town of Megen, but if you take the boat from Megen to Appeltern, you can rent a bike at Riverside.
How to get to Megen
There are several ways to get to the town of Megen. One way if to cross with the ferry from the city of Appeltern to Megen. There are also options to take a bus via the train station of Oss. I would recommend you to visit 9292.nl/en for the current fastest routes on how to visit Megen.
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Other Noord (North)- Brabant travel blogs and guides you’ll love
I hope you enjoyed this article on one of the destinations you need to visit in Noord (North)- Brabant. Spending 24 hours in Megen is always a good idea, whether you’re planning on visiting one of the places to visit in The Netherlands during spring or autumn.
I also hope I’ve answered your question on ‘Where is Megen, The Netherlands’, and hopefully, you are aware that Megen is not located in Holland. I’ve combined everything from what to do and see in Megen, to its best attractions in this city guide for the ultimate day trip to Megen, so I hope you liked it. Share this post!!