Pearl of the Langstraat: The Coat of Arms of Heusden

| Toby van Dijk

It's Friday morning, I'm taking the exit off the N267 near Heesbeen. I am on my way to 't Wapen van Heusden, located in the middle of Vismarkt in the picturesque fortified town of Heusden. Having just parked my car at the Tramhaven, I walk under the beautiful Wijkse Poort.

Heusden is awakened by a brisk breeze and the cawing of a flock of seagulls. Enjoying the stately buildings, I walk on to Vismarkt. Having arrived there, I see in the distance, behind the Heeren van Heusden building, Heusden's windmill working overtime. It is a beautiful picture! I hear the clinking of drink bottles, the supplies for the coming weekend are already in full swing at Vismarkt. So too at 't Wapen van Heusden.

I meet Aura, with whom I have an appointment, in the lunchroom. She is behind the bar writing the reservation signs for lunch. Together with her partner Peter, Aura has been running 't Wapen van Heusden for the sixth year.

Over a nice cup of coffee, we sit down in a cozy alcove. The atmosphere I feel can best be described as cozy and characteristic. The building is a whopping 375 years old, dating back to 1648. ''It hasn't always been an eatery,'' she says. ''Besides having had a supermarket in it, it has also been a residential house, whose old residents occasionally come to take a look.'' How cool is that. She also says she sometimes sees odd spots in the walls, one of which turns out to have been made by the violin store owner, who wanted to make a hole in a load-bearing wall. ''This again an old resident from Heusden knew to tell me,'' she says.

The decor combined with the rich character makes it a warm and cozy place to enjoy. Aura herself also wants to radiate this to her guests. I believe her right away, during the conversation this already comes to the fore. She talks passionately and with a sparkle in her eyes about the business.

''The guest is the main focus,'' Aura says. ''We just have to make sure that people go home happy,'' she adds. This also applies to the guests during parties and celebrations, where the 't Wapen van Heusden is also the place to be.

The ever-present Aura and Peter also want to be creative, surprising and innovative. This manifests itself, for example, in the new menu, which recently went into effect, which she proudly tells us about. In this menu, for example, you have a choice of eight authentic Italian pizzas, including a pizza carpaccio and a vegetarian option. I will have to come back and try this one!

For a moment the conversation is interrupted by the young man who comes to give Aura the packing slip. She goes through the list and asks where he put everything. This turns out to be exactly in the right place. ''You're a topper,'' she says to him after which we continue the conversation.

After the small break comes the famous apple pie. This is what 't Wapen is also known for. Laughing, Aura explains that she doesn't know how this became such a thing. First they got it from a wholesaler, but Aura and Peter decided to make it themselves. A golden move it turns out in retrospect. They were overwhelmed by the success at first, which meant they were baking until late hours. ''But this was still done with all the love,'' she exclaims.

''Your wish is our challenge,'' is the philosophy Aura likes to convey towards their guests.

With the summer season approaching, Aura would prefer to welcome everyone to 't Wapen van Heusden. This is not always possible, on busy days it is sometimes just full. From her urge to still try to provide everyone with a wonderful time in Heusden a new concept was born; the picnic box. ''Ideal for walkers, cyclists and family days,'' she says, ordering online and then they come and pick it up at my place to have a picnic at a beautiful spot of their choice in Heusden. ''What a super cool concept,'' I tell her.

It was a pleasure to hear Aura talk about 't Wapen van Heusden with so much energy. What a cool place!

Want to know more? Click here for much more information about 't Wapen van Heusden

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