Brielle is a small town located about 30 kilometres (20 miles) west of Rotterdam. It is historically important being the first town in the Netherlands to liberate themselves from the Spanish during the 80 year war in the 16th century. There is a saying in Dutch which goes "Op 1 April verloor Alva zijn bril" (on the 1st of April, Alva lost his spectacles), but the word "bril" is actually a play on words for "Brielle", the name of the town. As a result of the liberation many Catholics were chased out of the old centre and some were even martyred for their faith. In fact, there is a pilgrim church located outside of the city centre dedicated to the martyrs of that war. Brielle is easily accessible by either car or public transportation. By car you need to take the A15 motorway from Rotterdam going towards Europoort and get off at exit number 12, follow the signs to Brielle.
The bus you can catch at Spijkenisse metro centrum station. The 103 takes you directly to Brielle. Busses leave every 7 to 8 minutes during rush hour, and every 15 minutes off peak during the weekdays; every 15 minutes on Saturdays and every 30 minutes on Sundays and evenings.
As far as tourist attractions is concerned there are a few places of interest worth seeing. Firstly the main point of interest is the St Catherine's church, which can be seen upon driving to the town. It was originally a Catholic church, but when the town became Protestant the church was handed over to them. The church was going to be the largest cathedral in the country, but due to shortage of money it was never completed. In fact, many of the townspeople donated bricks to close up the gaping hole in the side of the church.|
The church is also the only of its kind in the Netherlands which has a flat ceiling. This comes from the boards used to finish the ceiling.
Another part of the church worth seeing and doing is climbing up the 320 winding steps to the tower where you have a 360 degree panoramic view of the town, the region and on a good day you can see as far as the Euromast in Rotterdam and the pier in Scheveningen (near The Hague).
The city centre is worth walking through as all the buildings are in their original state. Many of the houses date back to the 15th or 16th century, and by looking at the roofs you can see how they differ. Whenever an addition to the family was made, homeowners in that time would build onto their homes. The bigger additions came from richer family; the smaller from less well-to-do families.
Another thing worth doing in Brielle is walking along the old city walls. Here you get a view of how things were at the time the city was founded and defended. The walk can take as long as 45 minutes, but it is well worth it.
If you're looking for somewhere quite and pleasant to do on a warm sunny day, you could also take a walk or cycle to the lakes located just outside of Brielle. Here you can sit down, soak up the air, watch boating enthousiasts float by or even see if you can hire a rowboat for the day. You can also cycle around the lake taking in the green trees and breathtaking views.
Should you like more information or a guided tour, contact the local tourist information office in the centre of town. They provide tours in Dutch, English, German and French, however the last two are subject to the number of people who ask for it. There may be a fee involved, but it would be best to inform beforehand.
As far as eating and drinking is concerned, Brielle is not lacking in restaurants and bars. In the centre alone there are many places to eat and sit down for a drink. The Hoofdwacht in the centre has the largest outdoor café in town, and on sunny days it is worth sitting outside enjoying a drink in the sun.
There is only one nightclub in Brielle: Lumey. This opened in May 2007 after being converted from the original nightclub: Copacabana. The club is open to those 21 years old and older, has a strict dresscode concerning shoes and bouncers standing outside making certain that those entering the club keep to the rules (21 rules are listed on the outside of the main entrance). The entry fee is €5.00 and this includes use of the cloakroom. Once inside there are two ways in which you could go: right to the main bar with seating at both the bar or on many of the sofas; or you could go left to the other bar and main stage where djs and other artists perform on Friday or Saturday nights. Whatever you do, Lumey will provide good entertainment. The club is opened from 22.00 to 05.00 on Fridays and Saturdays.
When not used as a club, Lumey is also a good restaurant where you can enjoy either lunch or supper. The restaurant is open from 11.00 on Mondays to Saturdays and 15.00 on Sundays for lunch and supper.
If you wish to stay overnight in Brielle, there are three hotels in the area. Two of them are located in the centre of town and one just outside the centre on the main road entering Brielle.
For budget stays, the Bastion Hotel is your best bet with rooms starting at around €80 per person per night. It is a comfortable hotel to stay in, especially if you want a peaceful night's sleep. Look for the hotel located in Rotterdam/Europoort/Brielle on their website.
The second hotel is the Atlas. Rooms start at just over €80 for a one person room. There is a restaurant and bar on the premises. One thing which may keep anyone from staying here is the bar located across the hotel. It can get crowded on the weekends, so beware if you want a good night's sleep.
Finally De Zalm, also located in the centre, is the most expensive option in Brielle, but the classiest as far as anemities is concerned. The rooms are comfortable and each has its own ensuite toilet with either a shower or bath. Prices start at around €100 per night but it is well worth the stay. The restaurant on the premises is worth eating in with good quality food at reasonable prices.
The last option you could take is hiring a caravan or even bringing your own tent as Brielle has two camping sites. You may need to enquire about prices and availability.
Whatever you choose to do in Brielle, you won't be disappointed.