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Loon op Zand
is a municipality
A municipality is essentially an urban administrative division having corporate status and usually powers of self-government. It can also be used to mean the governing body of a municipality. A municipality is a general-purpose administrative subdivision, as opposed to a special-purpose district...
and a village in the southern Netherlands
The Netherlands is a constituent country of the Kingdom of the Netherlands, located mainly in North-West Europe and with several islands in the Caribbean. Mainland Netherlands borders the North Sea to the north and west, Belgium to the south, and Germany to the east, and shares maritime borders...
. It has 23.000 residents.
Loon op Zand
Loon op Zand is the oldest village of the municipality. Somewhere around the year 1000, this village was founded in a very wet and swampy area. There was also a lot of drift-sand whose origin, according to geological experts, dates back to the last ice age. As of this moment, Loon op Zand has the biggest driftsand area in all of western Europe. The presence of this driftsand explains the name of Loon op Zand. It means Village build on sand. Historically, the presence of this driftsand has caused the relocation of the village on several times. Hinerland farmers build many sandy embankments or levies to protect their land against the ceaseless drifting sand.
Loon op Zand has always been an important place. The village is next to the road between 's Hertogenbosch and Turnhout. Many land Lords stayed at Loon op Zand or built a vacation cottage in or near the village. Even emperor Karel de Grote and King Willem II of Holland stayed at the little village on several occasions.
For 200 years, Loon op Zand and Kaatsheuvel were the centre of the leather tanning and shoe manufacturing industry of the region. There were a lot of factories; most of these were in people's backyards. There were some big shoe manufactories like Van Lier. This world famous shoe brand originated in Loon op Zand. Just prior to the new millennium, Van Lier abandoned their factory in Loon op Zand and moved to a bigger factory in Breda.