Holandia / Historia

Canadian soldiers amongst Brabant nuns




Even during quiet periods at the front, military training continued. In late 1944, the Canadian troops found an ideal spot in Udenhout. The site was especially suitable due to its location near the Loonse and Drunense Dunes, which was traditionally a military training area.

After the front in North Brabant stabilised, several training schools were set up in the area. The 4th Canadian Armoured Division's training school was set up in Huize Sint Felix in Udenhout. Sint Felix was ideal as it was a huge building, where the Sisters of Charity from Tilburg taught girls and cared for the sick and elderly. The building was named after the patron saint of its creator, parish priest Felix Cuijpers.

Training courses

On 7 December 1944, the Canadian troops moved into the building, which had sleeping quarters equipped for 60 soldiers. The first commander was Lieutenant Colonel W.T. Cromb. Three days after commissioning, the first trainees arrived and lessons began. The lessons included practical elements, such as shooting with all kinds of weapons (in the Loonse and Drunense Dunes), tactical exercises, and theory, for example lessons on the German army. The course lasted two weeks, with the ultimate idea being to further improve the efficiency of the military. However, in practice the school ended up functioning simply as a refresher course.

In March, the Canadian division left North Brabant to take part in the attack on Germany. The school remained in Udenhout until 28 April 1945, closing after ten courses. The eleventh and final one was given in Sögel, Germany.

Sint Felix after the war

The nuns did not leave Huize Sint Felix until 1991, with some continuing to live in the village. Between 1992 and 1995, the former convent housed asylum seekers, before its ultimate demolition in June 1995. Since then, houses and a residential building have been constructed on the site. The residential building bears the name Felixhof, and the statue of Saint Felix, the lettering of the building, the angelus bell and the foundation stone have been incorporated into a monument as a lasting reminder. The monument was designed by local Udenhout artist, Frank van der Loo, and stands on the former site of the convent.

Schoorstraat 2, Udenhout