Tag Archives: Breda Adventures

Amazing coffee – Sowieso Breda


I love, love, love coffee, and cannot imagine a day without a good cup of coffee. But I see, that I am becoming harder to please when it comes to coffee. Maybe it is, because those few extra good coffees are ricing the quality level super high, or maybe my taste has just evolved by time. Nevertheless, a simple filter coffee makes me more angry than satisfied, and if someone is offering me a coffee made from those tiny capsules I just don`t even know what to say. Luckily there are many other quality coffee lovers in this world, and I have found one place in Breda, from where you can get truly AMAZING coffee – SOWIESO.



Sowieso is the place where I had my first cup of coffee in the Netherlands, and I have to say, could not have had a better one! The double espresso I had that day, was absolutely delicious. From that moment I knew, that this is the place for quality coffee. The owner is one of the nicest entrepreneurs I have ever met, and he for sure makes everyone feel welcome. You can see that he really knows what he is talking about when it comes to coffee, but he also always takes his time to talk with the customers.



Mondays the coffeehouse is closed, as Mondays are reserved for excellent coffee beans and roasting. If you would like to enjoy good coffee also when you are home, don`t forgot to buy some beans or ask the owner to grind some beans to you. It definitely makes your mornings much better when you can make your espresso from freshly grounded beans. And I have to say, the price is super reasonable if you compare it to coffee you buy from supermarket. I personally love to spend more my money on products which I know is supporting young entrepreneurs and not multi million  companies. Or what you think?




Other than quality coffee, Sowieso also offers wide range of other drinks and ALL DAY BREAKFAST, NAM!!! I love that the products are same time healthy and tasty, so just how I like everything I eat. The fresh juices are so refreshing and never have been disappointed with anything I ate there. They also organize every now and then cool events, like Vegan dinners and pancake Sunday. Nice addition I say!



And of course I as a visual person love beautiful layout!



The place has so many coffee related cool details, which you only see by going there often. I think every time I go I see a new detail, and how so many things are linked with coffee. And the green centerpiece is super nice addition. Don`t forget to check the outdoor area also when the weather is good!





I love how you can choose to sit also in the sofa, as it feels like you are in someones living room and not at a coffeehouse at all!




I think it is always important to support your local partners, as you should not battle against others but try to work together in a way, that everyone wins. Cool idea to use one empty wall for posters tell your customers about local events. Makes you feel you really care about your city.



Where is your favorite coffeehouse?


Details of this cafe adventure

Sowieso -Koffiebar
Nieuwstraat 46, Breda / Netherlands



Second postcard from Netherlands

Time flies and I have been already 1,5 months in Breda. The autumn has finally started here also, but luckily it has been beautiful weather most of the time. I actually like the fresh autumn air, and  darker evenings. Feels like a fresh start after the long summer. I wrote some first impressions from the life in Breda few weeks a go in the Postcard from Netherlands -post, and today I am writing a second card. Last time I wrote about amazing things (and few less amazing), but today I am sharing more little things, which have catch my attention lately. And actually most of the things I am sharing with you today, are somehow food related.  But as I am a foodie, it is a topic I give a lot attention in my life and see the differences easily.


NO FAST FOOD. I have realized that it is surprisingly hard to just to grab example lunch fast from the nice places. And with nice place I am now referring to everything else than McDonald. There are so many nice places offering for lunch toasts, soup and salads, but it is almost impossible to find a place where they offer take away also, or have fresh sandwiches ready, so you just choose one and continue.  I generally think that people should eat more slowly, spend more time together and make lunch also a nice moment, and for these the system here works perfectly. But you know, sometimes you just want to grab something fast and not spend few hours for lunch.


BEAUTIFUL PEOPLE. So ok, I don`t know if it is the genes or what is going on here, but EVERYONE looks just perfect. Tall, thin and so stylish! I feel like I am in the land of perfect looking people, and I should go for a full makeover. Hahah! We have been laughing with my friends how the families look like they have run out from TV-commercial, as they are so beautiful! I admire how everyone looks so stylish, healthy and happy. And I think I can count with one hand fingers all the overweight people I have seen the past weeks. Believe or not, people here looks super healthy! Maybe it is the biking, maybe it is something else, but it is working!


YEAST. I love baking, and when I am cooking I try to do everything from a scratch if possible. And for me this means making example pizza dough, bread every now and then and some pastry. Because of this, I use fresh yeast a lot, and it is something I can buy in Finland from every supermarket with less than 0.50€. So imagine the moment when I go to the supermarket and they think I am some kind of crazy lady, because I am asking fresh yeast. Yeas, the +50 years old lady working in the supermarket told me she had never used it, nor did she know where to buy it. She simply could not understand why someone would need it. Same happened with one granny I was talking about this in the supermarket, but also with my local friends. Luckily in the end I did find one supermarket in Breda selling fresh yeast, so it is not a problem anymore for me, just strange!


SERVICE. I did comment a little already last time how polite and nice people here are. But I want to talk about service little more. I have never in my life got so good service than I have got here. And now I am not speaking about good service as being polite, but to taking it to totally next level. It is not once or twice I have not find something I was looking for from the shop, and the staff has instructed me to go to some other shop. They don`t see it as a competition if I go somewhere else (like they do in Finland), but they are genuinely helping you out. Even in the restaurants this has happened, as example once we could not find anything suitable for my friend with strict  diet, so the owner told us where to go instead. And I could tell you so many other examples, but then you would be reading this till end of next year, haha!


ORGANIC EGGS. So let`s talk about eggs little. I use eggs a lot, like really a lot. And I have been using organic eggs now for some years. In Finland, the organic eggs (if you buy them form supermarket) look perfect and identical. And I never actually thought about this, until I came here. Here you buy organic eggs from a supermarket and they are all different. Little different in size, and definitely not identical. This might be a stupid notion for most, but I started to think the eggs a lot after this. Because eggs should not be perfectly same, especially in my opinion when they are organic. So what is it that is different in Finland and here in the egg production, just wondering!


OPENING HOURS. Everything is open so differently here than in Finland. And I feel I am still not totally getting the system. Sundays example many supermarkets are closed, or they are open only for a short time. But then most of the other shops are open all day, and there is a lot people shopping in small shops in the center. However when it is Monday, many smaller shops are not open, or open later in the afternoon, but supermarkets are open from morning to evening. And then there is Thursday, which is some kind of official shopping and going out day in Breda. Most of the shops are open even till 21.00 and the city is full of people. Bars are open till 4am or later, and last people go home when others wake up for work. And if we start to talk about cafe places and restaurants, the system gets even more messed up, as example Saturdays many nice cafe places close already at 17.00. Why? Yeah, and then there is the bakeries. In Finland bakeries open super early, and you can get fresh things easily before 7am. Here I have been out before 8am and hoping to get something fresh from a bakery on my way, but no no. They are mostly opening 9am or so..again asking why?


DUTCH LUNCH. In Finland we mainly eat two hot meals a day. The schools and lunch places offer hot meals, and it is less common to eat example only bread for lunch. Here it is totally opposite. I feel it is extremely hard to find decent hot meal for lunch here, and people mainly eat toasts, bread or something small like that. Salad and soups you can find, but I feel the soups are super small, and salad not that fulfilling as they are in Finland. I struggle with this especially in long school days, as I just cant survive all day with bread or small soup. A lot snack carrying happening every day, girl gotta eat right?


FRENCH FRIES. There is somethings totally strange going on with Dutch people and french fries. Or am I supposed to call them Dutch fries? Whatever you call them, they are everywhere! There are a lot places you can buy only fries, and many times in the restaurant people order extra fries. And now I don`t mean extra portion, but you example order meat with side dish, and then as a extra also fries. I went to eat on a nice restaurant, and got fries as a extra side dish, which made no sense when I think what I was eating. The only good thing is, that many times the fries are hand made, and taste better than any other fries you have had in your life.


WHOLE FAMILY. Just like in Italy, also in Netherlands the whole family goes out together. It is totally normal to see people sitting in a terrace, or restaurant with their dog. This so rarely happens in Finland, especially inside the restaurants. I actually like this a lot as he/she is part of the family, and after staying home alone long day (while people are working) you don`t want to leave again for some hours your family member alone. And when it comes to children, there is no problem taking them with you, when you go for a drink with your friends. I saw just yesterday two couples in a bar/restaurant, and both had a baby under one years old with them. Tey all took a glass of beer/wine together with their snacks and had a nice conversation. Nothing strange, just a normal Sunday. I know in Finland this is totally appropriate, but I think it has more to do with the alcohol culture.


STREET ART. I have fallen in love with street art already in Italy many years a go. It is something I am missing in Finland, as I feel it is nice way to give little something extra to the city. I never thought Breda would be so full of street art as it is, and full of so good art! There are so many AMAZING works around the city, and more is coming all the time. Last week we met group of Finnish artists in Breda doing new murals, what a funny coincidence. I will be writing about this more later, stay tuned!


ENGLISH. I have admired how so many people here is talking good English. Even the old lady, same age as my grandmother, in the supermatker was speaking so good English, we ended u having a full conversation with her. But then if we start to talk about written English the story is totally different. Me and lady A visited example Breda city museum, and no single word was written in English. And that is not only place I have experienced this. I can understand if example restaurant does not have English menu, but places where also other than locals and domestic tourists visit, it would be highly important to have English signs also. This also is case when it comes to ingredient list in food. It takes surprisingly long time to do your groceries when no single word is written in English. Thank god for translators!


HAVE A MINT. Most of the restaurants give you mint pastil, or small candy together with your check. First I was not sure what to think about this, but after eating something with a strong flavor it is actually nice to have that small mint. However you should know there is a huge difference between the restaurants. We once got super strange sugar candy kind of things (really don`t know how to describe them), and sometimes you get actually nice and fresh pastil. This is something I think in Finland would be seen only as a extra cost, but here I kind of appreciate it.


Remember to keep your eyes open every day, as we tend to become little passive in our every day environment. I have got a lot positive feedback from locals, as I have somehow managed to show “new” details from Breda to them in my blog. So next time you step out, try a new street, new cafe place or visit that attraction you see every now and then, but never seem to have time to visit.

Spellbinding – Koepel Panopticon Prison

I have visited many amazing places the past weeks, but I have to say, that not often you can describe something with the word spellbinding. However one place in Breda for sure deserves this word, as it is extremely interesting and holds your attention completely. Koepel Panopticon Prison is one of the three panopticon- inspired prisons in Netherlands, and we were extremely lucky with lady A to visit this prisons last month. The prison was actually operating till 2014, and has not been open for public very often after that. But it seems once again, that we have been in a right place in a right time with lady A, as I have heard from locals how hard it is to visit this place. It will be difficult to give a good overview of this amazing building and the idea behind it, but let`s try!



I have to say, that before visiting the prison I had never heard about panopticon buildings. I mean I knew these kind of buildings exist, but I did not know more about the idea behind it. And more I have read about it, more interesting it is, so I want to give a short overview about the idea behind panopticon. The panopticon is a institution building type, which was originally designed by English philosopher  and social theorist Jeremy Bentham in 1798. The idea behind the concept design is, that all (pan-) prisoners can be observed (-opticon) without them knowing if and when they are being watched. The clear view of every prisoner is reach because of the central platform, and the cells are surrounding this area in a ring. It is not of course possible, that one guard could see in every direction, but when the prisoners can not know when they are watched, they have to act as they would be watched at all times. This is said to control effectively prisoners own behavior constantly – interesting! What is also interesting, is that the word panopticon is reference to the name of a hundred eyes giant Panoptes from Greek mythology.



Bentham did not originally plan panopticon only for prisons, but to be used for hospitals, schools and other institutional buildings also. Still when talking about panopticon mostly people relate it to prisons. In Bentham`s original design, addition to guards being able to see the prisoners all the time, another essential element was, that the prisoners could not see the guards. However no true panopticon prison following Bentham`s original design has ever been built (not sure why), but many circular prisons with panopticon tower has been build. There are approximately 25 panopticon inspired prisons in the world, and in the Netherlands there are three of these.



Architect Johan Frederik Metzelaar desigend the Koepel panoticon prison in Breda, and it was built between 1886-1895. The prison has housed both men and women, but the most known prisoners are “The Four of Breda”. They were German war criminals captured during the Second World War. In 2001 the prison got national monument status and then in 2014 the prison was closed. After it has been housing refugees, which sounds like a smart move, as there is a lot space and “private” rooms. I tried to find out which kind of plans has been made for the future, but did not find information about this. I think it would be amazing venue for many things, so I hope they will use it innovatively.



Only the first floor cells were open during our visit, and they were actually nothing special. But it would surely have been interesting to see the prison from “higher” for different view and photos. And I have to say it was SO difficult to make photos in a round area, which would give good overview of the place.



There is also ground floor in the prison, and the main floor is partly made from glass. But visitors were not allowed to walk in the glass area, which was a smart thing as both me, and lady A were wearing dresses that day.



The ground floor had this one bigger room with arches and I cannot imagine for what use this space was designed originally. Maybe for the guards, or?






In the ground floor there were also few rooms with kitchen. I kept wondering if these were open for the prisoners in the last years, or if these were maybe build when the prison was used for the refugees. I think it is nice not to know all the details when visiting places like this, so then you can imagine different “solutions”. Maybe later I will find the right answers and then it will be nice to see how close my thoughts were.




The prison is so huge, that it felt like there was not so many people visiting it, even tough I think there was actually a lot people. The day we visited the prison, you needed to have a reservation for your visit. Thank`s lady A for making it! It was nice that they controlled how much people would be same time inside, so you could make your visit without crowd. But I also think that this way not everyone got the change to visit the prison, which is sad.



Outside the prison looks more like a castle and I could have never guessed, that the building has been a prison.


I have to say, that this post ended up being much more “lesson” of history than I originally planned it to be. However, I hope you got at least some view of panopticon and the old prison. Have a nice evening!