Breda is a municipality and a city in the southern part of the Netherlands. The name Breda derived from brede Aa ('wide Aa') and refers to the confluence of the rivers Mark and Aa. As a fortified city, the city was of strategic military and political significance. Although a direct Fiefdom of the Holy Roman Emperor, the city obtained a municipal charter; the acquisition of Breda, through marriage, by the house of Nassau ensured that Breda would be at the center of political and social life in the Low Countries.
Breda's urban area is home to an estimated 316,000 people (2008)