The origin of the ‘Jug Urinator’
Tilburg Travel Blog› entry 2 of 15 › view all entries
Tilburg is a (for Dutch understanding) large city in the southern part of The Netherlands. From Tilburg it will take you about a ten minute drive by car to reach the Belgian border. The city has over 200.000 inhabitants, which makes this place the sixth largest town in the country.
A settlement called Tilburg was founded around the 11th century, in 1387 it was separated from the nearby town of Oisterwijk and from then on it grew to its current size.
Tilburg always had a lot of sheep farms, around 1600 all these farms made Tilburg the most important wool provider in a wide region. Not much later, the city dominated the Dutch textile industry.
On April 18th 1809, Louis Napoleon Bonaparte, then king of the Kingdom of Holland, gave Tilburg city rights. This occurred while Bonaparte was on a inspection in this region. At that time, the city had about 9000 inhabitants.
King William II, King of The Netherlands from 1840 till 1849 and ancestor of the current Dutch royal family, enjoyed staying in Tilburg. In 1847 he commissioned to build a palace here, but he died before it was finished. Its ownership was handed over to the royal family, who in return gave it back to the city on condition that it was turned into a school. The most famous student this school ever had was Vincent van Gogh, who studied here from 1866 to 1868.
Today, the palace is located in the centre of Tilburg and is in use as the town hall.
At the end of the 19th century the textile industry has made Tilburg a large city. In 1871 there are no less than 125 wool factories.
In those days people called the inhabitants of Tilburg ‘Kruikenzeikers’ (‘Jug Urinators’). This name originated in the fact that from the 17th century on, people could sell jars with their urine to wool factories. These factories used the urine to wash the wool. This habit lasted well into the 19th century, until finally chemicals where favored over urine.
During the 1960s the textile industry slowly disappeared, but this was quickly replaced by the development of modern industry and business. Ever since then, Tilburg has remained a thriving city that’s constantly progressing.