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Fascinating Nuenen Village in the Footsteps of Vincent Van Gogh’s Beautiful Artworks

Vincent van Gogh lived in Nuenen for two years (from December 1883 until November 1885). During this period, Van Gogh was extremely prolific, producing over a quarter of all his artworks.  His iconic painting “The Potato Eaters” was painted here in Nuenen, depicting a peasant family who he befriended.

Van Gogh - The Potato Eaters
The Potato Eaters – Van Gogh Painting from Nuenen

Van Gogh’s artworks from Nuenen portray the weavers and farming peasants. The Dutch artist also spent time outdoors painting the scenery and landscapes surrounding the village.

Roosdonck windmill in Nuenen
Roosdonck windmill in Nuenen / Photo by 芳蘭 徐芳蘭 on Flickr (CC BY 2.0)

Vincent moves to Nuenen to live with his parents

In December 1883, Vincent left Drenthe to live with his minister father and mother in Nuenen.  He did not receive a warm reception from his parents as they did not approve of Vincent’s lifestyle. They did not like that  Vincent was not working in a respectable job and earning his own money. However, they allowed him to live with them in the vicarage. He set up a small painting studio here as well.

The situation with his parents was precarious but Vincent decided to stay anyway. He loved the scenery and the people in Nuenen. Vincent diligently worked, getting up early in the morning and sketching and painting until darkness. He conducted figure studies with whomever in the village would agree to model for him. Van Gogh also sketched and painted the peasants in their homes, at work and in the fields.

Nuenen Landscape by Vincent Van Gogh
Lane with poplars near Nuenen – Vincent Van Gogh Painting

“I work as diligently on my canvases as the laborers do in their fields.” 
― Quote Vincent van Gogh

Did you know that Vincent Van Gogh’s Paintings belonged to Theo?

While in Nuenen, his brother Theo was providing Vincent with a monthly stipend of 150 francs. Theo was earning a decent wage in Paris as an art dealer. The agreement he had with Vincent was that he would send Vincent money every month and Vincent would send him his artworks to Paris for him to sell. As a result, all of Vincent Van Gogh’s artworks essentially belonged to Theo.

“I can’t change the fact that my paintings don’t sell. But the time will come when people will recognize that they are worth more than the value of the paints used in the picture.”

― Quote Vincent van Gogh

Vincent is forced to leave Nuenen in 1885 when his father dies

When Vincent’s father dies of a heart attack in March 1885, a new vicar is appointed. This vicar does not approve of Vincent’s activities and forbids the congregation to model for Van Gogh.  No longer able to work with live models, Vincent decides that it is time to leave. He leaves Nuenen in 1885 for Antwerp to begin the next chapter in his difficult life.

Loaders of firewood in the snow Nuenen 1884 - Van Gogh Artwork
The Peasants of Nuenen – Vincent Van Gogh Painting

Follow the footsteps of Vincent Van Gogh & his Artworks in Nuenen

Today Nuenen is proud of the fact that the Dutch artist, Vincent Van Gogh painted so many artworks during his two years here.

How to reach Nuenen using public transport

The village of Nuenen is no longer a village but a small city. It is located just four miles outside Eindhoven. It is easy to reach with public transport. From Eindhoven bus station, you can catch buses nos. 6,321 & 322 to Nuenen.

Nuenen is a delightful little city, worth visiting it its own right. But it is Vincent Van Gogh’s connection to this place that attracts the masses.

The Reformed Church of Nuenen - Van Gogh painting
The Reformed Church of Nuenen – Vincent Van Gogh Painting
Reformed Church in Nuenen
Reformed Church in Nuenen
The father of Vincent van Gogh was minister here from 1882 to 1885.
Photo by Andrew Black on Flickr (CC BY-NC-ND 2.0)

The Fabulous Van Gogh Walking Trail

In Nuenen you can visit 23 different landmarks that are closely associated with Vincent Van Gogh. You are literally walking in his footsteps! Through Vincent Van Gogh’s letters and artworks, we know the exact places where he lived, the places that he visited and the landmarks that he painted!

For each landmark, there is a panel of either a picture or a Van Gogh painting (a replica of course!). You will find written information in English and sometimes even an audio feature explaining the landmark’s connection to Vincent.

Places of interest include The Potato Eaters sculpture in the park, the van Goghkerkje (chapel where his father was a preacher), the Opwettense Watermolen (watermill) and the Windmolen de Roosdonck (windmill). Van Gogh painted all these landmarks.

Watermill in Kollen, near Nuenen - Van Gogh Painting
Watermill in Kollen, near Nuenen – Van Gogh Painting
 Watermill at Kollen near Nuenen
Watermill at Kollen photo by 芳蘭 徐芳蘭 on Flickr (CC BY 2.0)

The walking trail will also take you to the vicarage where he lived with his parents, the house where he rented & other places as well.

The Vicarage in Nuenen- Van Gogh Painting
The Vicarage in Nuenen- Van Gogh Painting
The Vicarage in Nuenen
The Vicarage in Nuenen – Photo by Allan Watt on Flickr (CC BY-NC 2.0)

The ‘Out and About with Vincent’ booklet is on sale at the Vincentre shop in Nuenen. This booklet includes a map and descriptions of each location. The booklet is available in English and quite a few other languages.

For more information, press here

Statue in Nuenen called Potato Eaters
A statue in Nuenen based on the Van Gogh “Potato Eaters” Painting
Photo by Allan Watt on Flickr (CC BY-NC 2.0)

The Van Gogh Museum – Vincentre, Nuenen

The Vincentre museum is located on the main street of Nuenen. There is an entrance fee and audio guides are provided.

This Vincentre is a 3 floor museum covering the two year period that Van Gogh lived in Nuenen. It provides background information about Van Gogh, his family, his paintings and sketches, and the life in Nuenen during that period.

The displays on the two main floors of the museum are all in Dutch. However for an extra €2 you can rent an audio tour in English, French, German, Spanish, Italian, Japanese or Chinese. This allows you to walk around at your own pace and enjoy English explanations. The audio tour is also synchronized to the soundtrack of the short film upstairs. The audio tour does not work on the top floor. However, this floor hosts all of the the temporary exhibitions which are in English as and Dutch anyway.

Please note that there are no original Van Gogh artworks here in the Vincentre. You will have to go either to the Van Gogh Museum in Amsterdam or the Kroller Muller Museum to see an incredible Van Gogh collection of paintings (or both!!!)

For more information about the Vincentre, press here.

Looking for a guided tour to Nuenen in the Footsteps of Vincent Van Gogh? Check out the links below:

For the links below, I receive a small commission when you purchase. However, you don’t pay more when you buy through me .

Nuenen and the surrounding villages are very picturesque. If you feel like finding accomodation away from the busy cities, check out accomodation in the Brabant region. It was here where Van Gogh found most of his creative inspiration!


For more information about Van Gogh, see the articles below: