The province of North Brabant is bordered by the Dutch provinces of Zeeland, South Holland, Gelderland, Limburg, as well as the Belgian provinces of Limburg and Antwerp. It is bordered by the Meuse River in the North, and the Scheldt River in the West.
It has a surface area of 4,919 km˛, a population of 2,415,000 inhabitants, making it the second largest and third most populous of the Netherlands.
In ancient times, what now makes the province of North Brabant was settled by Celto-Germanic tribes, such as the Nervians. Conquered by Julius Caesar in 57 B.C.E., the region became part of Gallia Belgica, then to its subdivision of Germania Inferior.
The Franks moved down from Northern Germany and settled in the South of the present-day Netherlands, as well as Belgium, Northern France and Rhineland. North Brabant was then known as Toxandria.
After belonging to the Frankish Kingdom (486-800), then Empire (800-843), the region becomes part of the Kingdom of Lotharingia in 843, named after Charlemagne's eldest grandson Lothair. Lotharingia was subsequently split into the Duchy of Upper Lotharingia (based in Metz) and the Duchy of Lower Lotharingia. North Brabant belonged to the latter. One of the most famous dukes was Godfrey of Bouillon, who led the First Crusade. The Dukes of Brabant inherited the honorific title of Dukes of Lower Lotharingia (a.k.a. Lothier).
The modern province thus constituted the northern half of the powerful Duchy of Brabant, which was first based in Leuven, then in Brussels. Joanna (1322-1406), the last Duchess of Brabant & Limburg of the House of Leuven died childless in 1406. The title was inherited by her grand-nephew, Anthony of Burgundy (1384-1415), then passed to the Habsburgs by marriage in 1477.
The Duchy of Brabant became a battlefield in the Eighty Years' War (1568-1648) opposing the Protestant Dutch Republic to the Catholic rulers of the Habsburgian Netherlands. Finally, the Peace of Westphalia (1648) granted the northern part of Brabant to the United Provinces of the Netherlands, and was renamed State Brabant (Staats-Brabant).
Attempts to preach Protestantism failed, and the area served mainly as a military buffer zone. In 1796, the Netherlands were absorbed by France and renamed the Batavian Republic, while Staats-Brabant was renamed Batavian Brabant (Bataafs Brabant). Napoleon created the Kingdom of Holland (1806-1810) and reorganised the province into several departments.
Between 1815 and 1830, Belgium and the Netherlands were united in the United Kingdom of the Netherlands, and the province of North Brabant was established, in order to distinguish it from South Brabant, in present-day Belgium.
The Belgo-Dutch border between North Brabant of the Belgian province of Antwerp still has the particularity of not being contiguous, but having enclaves on both sides of the border, such as Baarle-Hertog.
The walled city of Den Bosch is renowned for its cathedral and its modern, avant-gardiste architecture.