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My name is Adriaan Aerts, I am 38 years old and I have muscular atrophy.

I live in The Netherlands, in the South a small city called Tilburg. 

The Netherlands, Dutch: Nederland, is a constituent country of the Kingdom of the Netherlands, located in North-West Europe and with territories in the Caribbean. It is a parliamentary democratic constitutional monarchy. Mainland Netherlands borders the North Sea to the north and west, Belgium to the south, and Germany to the east, and share maritime borders with Belgium, Germany and the United Kingdom. The capital is Amsterdam and the seat of government is The Hague. 

The Netherlands in its entirety is often referred to as Holland, although North and South Holland are actually only two of its twelve provinces (see terminology of "the Netherlands"). The word Dutch is used to refer to the people, the language, and anything pertaining to the Netherlands. This lexical difference between the noun and the adjective is an attribute of the English language that does not exist in the Dutch language. The adjective 'Dutch' is derived from the language that was spoken in the area, called 'Diets', which equals Middle Dutch.



 Tilburg, the city where I live, has about 200.00 inhabitants and is the sixth largest city of the Netherlands. Little is known about the earliest history of Tilburg. Documents from the year 709 show the name Tilburg for the first time. After that, sources remain silent for some centuries. In the later Middle Ages, Tilburg was more of a local 'region' than a village or city, although a couple of small hamlets provided its population centers, one of which was known as 'Eastern Tilburg' (Oost-Tilburg), which was later reflected in the name of Oisterwijk ('Eastern Quarter'). This village centered around a small (probably wooden) castle or 'Motteburcht' on an equally small hill, which became derelict and was torn down after a few centuries at most. Of this first 'Tilburg Castle', nothing remained ca 2000, save a few remnants of its moat in the suburbs of Oisterwijk. In the 14th century, Tilburg was proclaimed a manor. Together with Goirle, it acquired the title of "The Manor of Tilburg and Goirle".

Successively, the manorial rights fell into the hands of several lords of noble lineage. They derived their income from taxes, fines and interest paid by the villagers.

In the 15th century, one of the lords of Tilburg, Jan van Haestrecht, built Tilburg Castle. "That stone chamber at Hasselt" is mentioned in several historical documents. In 1858, however, the castle had to make way for a factory. It lives on, however, in the city arms and logo. A replica of the foundations of the castle was restored in ca. 1995 on its original location, after the factory was demolished. In 1803, Goirle was separated from Tilburg and on April 18, 1809, Tilburg was granted city status. In that year, it had about 9,000 inhabitants. Tilburg hosted several festivities in 2009 in celebration of 200 years' status as a city.


The herd places

Tilburg grew around one of the so-called "herd places", three-cornered plots where a number of roads (usually sand roads) met. These herd places were collective pasturelands for flocks of sheep. Their triangular shape is still reflected in the layout of many places in Tilburg. Many districts – such as Korvel, Oerle, Broekhoven, Hasselt, Heikant, De Schans and Heuvel – bear the names of these old hamlets.


Tilburg as wool capital of the Netherlands

The poor farmers living in these hamlets soon decided to stop selling the wool of the sheep and to weave it themselves. For a long time a greater part of the space in their houses, which used to be very small, was occupied by a loom. In the 17th century the number of looms in Tilburg was about 300. Enterprising people saw their chance. As so-called drapers they supplied the weavers with the raw materials for their "home working". The first Tilburg "millhouses" had come into existence. From that point on, the wool- industry underwent rapid growth and in 1881 Tilburg had as many as 145 wool mills. Home weaving continued, however, until the early years of the 20th century. Woolen textiles from Tilburg were known far and wide. After the Second World War, Tilburg retained its place as wool capital of the Netherlands, but in the 1960s the industry collapsed and by the 1980s the number of wool mills could be counted on the fingers of one hand. Present-day Tilburg industry is characterized by a large variety of enterprises. The main economic sector has become transport & logistics, with a variety of industry as a good second.


King William II

King William II (1792–1849) always bore a warm heart towards Tilburg. "Here I can breathe freely and I feel happy", he once said about the town. And he acted accordingly. King William II always supported Tilburg, also in a financial way. He improved the sheep breeding, built new farms and founded a cavalry barracks on the St. Joseph Street, now the imposing building of the City Archives. Although the King was always received with open arms by several friendly manufacturers, he needed his own residence in Tilburg. The palace was built in the middle of the 19th century.

William II died a few months before the completion of his palace. It is now part of the city hall. In 1987, close to the palace, an obelisk was erected, in remembrance of King William II. It replaced the old needle from 1874, which disappeared from the street scene in 1968. After being restored, William II's statue has got a place again in the heart of the city, where he felt happy among its inhabitants. The local football club Willem II Tilburg was named after him.


Present days

Tilburg is an interesting, vivid and warm city, surrounded by beautiful nature areas like Moerenburg, De Loonse and Drunense Duinen, Campina and De Utrecht. There's a lively city centre, offering well-known brands and small, speciality shops as well. And of course there are large companies like Fuji, Goodyear, Bjorn Borg, Interpolis. More on present-day Tilburg and the corporate line followed by the Tilburg city council is to be found in the article on Tilburg, on the Tilburg City site. Higher Education is of significant importance, with Tilburg University attracting scholars from all over the world. Tilburg University was founded in 1927 and Tilburg is a fully accredited government financed university with almost 12,000 students. Tilburg University (motto: "Understanding Society") specializes in the social sciences and humanities and has five faculties. De Koningshoeven Brewery is in Berkel-Enshot, which is part of Tilburg.




Festival city, music

The city of Tilburg hosts many festivals, such as the Festival Mundial (world culture), Stranger Than Paranoia (jazz), Incubate (formerly known as ZXZW), Tilburg Students Festival, and Roadburn Festival. 013 is a modern pop centre, in a specially designed building by Mels Crouwel, where artists like Nick Cave, Jerry Lee Lewis, Blasters and Salif Keita have performed. Also Paradox is an interesting place, for experimental jazz and improvised music. Fontys University of Applied Sciences started a pop academy in the beginning of the 21st century, students often perform on local stages.



Tilburg has an outstanding museum of Modern Art, De Pont Foundation. Also there's a large textile museum, offering not only a historical view in its former factory, but also a laboratory for design, production and development of textile as a material. Other museums are Noordbrabants Natuurmuseum and Scyption, specialized in communication.



The local football team, Willem II play in the Eredivisie (Dutch Premier League), and are themselves named in remembrance of King William II.

Tilburg Ten Miles is an annual road running competition held in Tilburg.

The Hockey team Tilburg Trappers also does well in the Dutch eredivisie (Dutch Premier League). Student’s sports like rowing and hockey are popular as well. Tilburg hosts three field hockey clubs that play in top national leagues.


Accessibility for disabled people

Like most Dutch cities Tilburg is very accesible for disabled people. All public buildings are easy to go for wheelchair-uers and even public transport is possible. Most of the hotels in Tilburg have one or more adapted special rooms for disabled people.


Feel free to visit Tilburg and I will guide you!


I am planning a trip to America. It is going to be known as “Once in a lifetime trip “Because George Washington was the first president of the united states of America I am starting my journey in Washington DC .


Not that I am planning a historical trip, I just think it would be nice start. In the 28days we are in America we will be travelling 2200 kilometers with our last destination being New York city. With the car we we’ll travel along the east coast of America and Canada visiting the most beautiful sights from Washington DC we will go to Gettysburg, then onto Niagara Falls crossing over to Boston and ending at the Big Apple (New York.)

At the places I have mentioned we will be staying in hotels that are worthy of the once in a lifetime trip.


The idea for this trip has been in my head for a long time, now it is time to take the bull by the horns and go for it!! In normal circumstances this trip is just a question of getting on a plane and THERE YOU GO....(in The Netherland we call this: HUPSUHKEEE…)

For me however it’s not so easy but that does not matter I am up for the challenge!

There is a lot to organize:

•My electrical wheelchair has to go with me

•There is a lot of extra baggages e.g. transfer lift

•Breathing equipment diverse aids

•and of course my clothes and my laptop...hahaha

In America I need transport, so I can travel and go sightseeing, and a hotel  that can cater for my needs. There needs to be a good program for everything. I want to see and experience everything.

I need two carers who are good all rounder’s with a positive attitude and a sense of humor. As you can see a lot to organize.

You can follow the preparations of my trip on my special website:

Feel free to contact me and maybe we can meet when I am in the USA.

Hope to hear or even meet you,


Adriaan Aerts

Tuinstraat 47-12

5038 DA Tilburg, The Netherlands


T: +31 (0)13 – 5441151

M: +31 (0)6 – 22417079