28 sep 2019 - 10 nov 2019



The Month of History is the largest history event in the Netherlands. In October, the central theme is She/He. In times of #MeToo and #HeForShe, this Month looks back: how have gender differences been expressed over time? 

From 2018, Nieuwe VesteCity Archives of Breda and Stedelijk Museum Breda  will jointly showcase the Month of History in Breda. We aim to bring the rich history of the city to the attention of a wide audience in an appealing manner. With Breda in aktion! in 2018 we put an exclamation mark behind our translation of the national themeRevolution. We place a question mark behind this year’s theme: She/He?  With She/He? we ask the public and ourselves what that contrast means today. We do this with special stories that originate in our city and that connect history with current events. The addition of the question mark refers to the message that we are not creating a difference and that equality is still not a given.   

Discover yesterday, understand today
During the Month of History we highlight three topics that are closely linked to each other through the meaning of equality and diversity. We paint a picture of gender differences in local history, from long ago to more recent times, up to and including now.   

Maria van Antwerpen
The well-documented but almost unbelievable story of Maria van Antwerpen in the book Bredasche Heldinne (the Breda Heroine) started when she joined the army as a man: as Jan van Ant. She married a woman under that name. History repeated itself when she enlisted as a soldier in the Amsterdam Garrison and married again. She was prosecuted and convicted for both ‘crimes’.   

The female cadets at the KMA
For a long time, joining the army was out of the question for women. It was not until 1978 that the first female cadet was admitted to the KMA (Dutch Royal Military Academy). Since 1982, all positions in the armed forces in the Netherlands have been open to women. While Maria of Antwerpen was condemned for enlisting as a soldier more than two centuries ago, the first female general was appointed in 2005. In 2019, Defence in the Netherlands celebrated 75 years of women in the armed forces.   

The LGBTI community in our city
The stereotypical contrasts thought to exist between men and women do not mirror reality. In Breda, the city where the first gender-neutral passport was issued, you should be able to be who you are. That is why we are giving the Breda LGBTI community its own face in the Month of History.   

For the whole month of October, history will be in the spotlight at various locations in the city. For every age, there is a lot to see, discover and discuss during the Month – and also things to do! There are exhibitions, lectures and workshops. In NEXT, the project space of Stedelijk Museum Breda, you can visit the exhibition She/He? to find out more about the life of Maria van Antwerpen. Her career as a soldier builds a bridge to the special stories of twelve female cadets of the KMA.   

The Breda photographer Wiesje Peels made portraits of members of the LGBTI community which are shown in an outdoor exhibition at Nieuwe Veste. The expressive images invite the viewer to wonder what they think they see and – perhaps more importantly – whether the answer matters. After the exhibition, the Breda City Archives will add the portraits to its collection.   

Together with Blind Walls Gallery, we will be giving Maria van Antwerpen her own ‘blind wall’: a new mural in the city. We hold a spoken word event with the theme ‘All inclusive’ and we organise theatre, film and discussion evenings in collaboration with Stichting BO, the Breda interest group for the LGBTI community. All activities of The Month of History are free of charge. View the programme overview here. Detailed information about the programme can be found at  

You write history together. We are organising History Month with and for the city. This year we are proud of the partnerships with the Stichting BO, the KMA/Ministry of Defence, and the Blind Walls

Stay informed through our newsletter