Oude Warande


On the west side of Tilburg, right next to the University of Tilburg Campus, lies this special park. De Oude Warande is an 18th century park, located south ofthe railway line Tilburg-Breda, between Tilburg University station and the Reeshof district. The park was commissioned by Willem van Hessen-Kassel in 1712 and is one of the few intact star forests in the Netherlands. The Oude Warande is a so called “sterrenbos” of 103.8 hectares.

“Star forests” are an expression of French garden architecture. A star forest is a forest with an avenue structure that was originally laid out as a park or hunting forest for relaxation. The current Dutch word ‘star forest’ is a corruption of the original Old Dutch spelling ‘starre bosch’, which means: a planting of rigid trees or tall conifers along straight lanes. A star forest is a forest that is intersected by radial avenues emanating from a central point. The spaces between the avenues are sometimes filled with coppice. In the end this creates a floor plan that can once again can be described as star formation.

Link to the download overview map

B&B-Tilburg map of the lanes in park Oude Warande

Great history in Park-architecture

So as you can see, in Tilburg we have serveral city-parks, all from different era’s and with different park-designs-styles. So if you have an interest for this, you just can see and follow throught the devellopment of these styles throught the ages, on to contemporary times. Just very recent in 2019 a new developed citypark “Spoor Park” was opened on the grounds of a former shunting yard of the goods consignor Van Gend en Loos (nowadays DHL), along the railway track that divides the town in North ans South.

We at Bed and Breakfast Tilburg Gust van Dijk would like to point out a special place in De Oude Warande. From April until November the Pavilion Grotto, designed by the Australian artist Callum Morton (1965, Melbourne), will be open. In addition to being a work of art, the Pavilion is a meeting place with a modest catering facility and opened in 2009. If you are staying at Bed and Breakfast Tilburg Gust van Dijk for a few days, a visit to the Oude Warande and the Grotto Pavilion is highly recommended. The pavilion is a permanent intervention that arose from the activities of Stichting Fundament, which regularly arranges the park as a temporary sculpture garden with contemporary three-dimensional art and sculpture. The park De Oude Warande is intensively used all year round by sporters and for recreational walks.

B&B-Tilburg, Grotto Pavilion, Oude Warande
B&B-Tilburg Interior Grotto, Oude Warande

Grotto by Callum Morton

In 2007 Fundament Foundation commissioned artist Callum Morton to design a pavilion for the centre of De Oude Warande. If the Baroque design of the garden was to be respected, it had to be at the central point of the park, the only spot from where the star-shaped pattern of the paths can be seen. However, a pavilion in this position would destroy the view of the star design. This presented Morton with a dilemma, which he resolved in a way that was both simple and ingenious: he designed an invisible pavilion. The exterior is not immediately apparent, because it is a mirror, so all eight paths of the star continue in the reflection. The exterior of the pavilion functions both as a façade, screening off the inside from the outside, and as a reflective screen, mirroring and continuing the outside world. However, this continuation is an illusion. The Baroque design only appears to remain in view…

Anyone who steps inside the pavilion (10m x 6m x 4m high) is confronted with another essential characteristic of Baroque garden designs. The interior is a cave-like space, sunk 75 centimetres below ground level. Walls have holes at eye level, through which the outside world can be seen, as the glass façade is made of two-way mirrors. In the evening, the interior is illuminated in such a way that the reflective function of the pavilion is cancelled out and the glass box makes place for a dark mound, reminiscent of a burial mound. This transformation takes place gradually as darkness falls, so that the pavilion not only has a constantly changing form but alternate meanings too.

B&B-Tilburg, Grotto exterior by night

Grotto is a Baroque folly, a screen, a cave, a grave and a functional pavilion. Callum Mortons thinking was guided by Baroque notions, the principles of contemporary entertainment, the human habit of looking for a place to be together with someone else, and the desire to produce an exciting tension between interior and exterior. “In the first instance, I wanted to develop a design that would clash with the Baroque layout of De Oude Warande”, says Morton. “But now I think it clashes with itself. Grotto is a paradox.”

Grotto functions as a pavilion with modest catering facilities. The kitchen and furniture are by designer Olav Koreman (Breda, 1959, lives and works in Molenschot and Breda), in a typically Dutch tradition (De Stijl), but also with references to Minimal Art of artists including Sol LeWitt. Using minimal means, Koreman has achieved maximum effect both inside and outside, while at the same time leaving the complex character of Grotto completely intact.

Lustwarande Sculpture Exhibition

Look for new programme updates about outdoor Exhibition Lustwarande on the website of Fundament.

B&B-Tilburg, Lustwarande
B&B-Tilburg, Lustwarande-2019, Sarah Lucas

B&B-Tilburg, bicycle trip to Oude Warande and Grotto