The precarious position of the province on the borders of the country doubtless militated against an earlier industrial development, but since the separation from Belgium and the construction of roads, railways and canals there has been a general improvement, Tilburg, Eindhoven and Helmond all having risen into prominence in modern times as industrial centres.
Like Tilburg and Helmond it has developed in modern times into a flourishing industrial centre, having linen,, woollen, cotton, tobacco and cigar, matches, &c., factories and several breweries.
The four transverse lines belong to the State and Holland railways alternately and are, beginning with the State railway: (1) the line Flushing (1872) - Rozendaal (1860) - Tilburg (1863) - Bokstel (whence there is a branch line belonging to the North Brabant and Germany railway company via Vechel to Goch in Germany, opened in 1873) - Eindhoven - Venlo and across Prussian border (1866); (2) the line Hook of Holland - Rotterdam (1893) - Dordrecht (1872-1877) - Elst (1882-1885) - Nijmwegen (1879) - Cleves, Germany (1865); (3) the line Rotterdam - Utrecht (1866-1869) and Amsterdam - Utrecht - Arnhem (1843-1845) to Emmerich in Germany (1856): this line formerly belonged to the Netherlands-Rhine railway company, but was bought by the state in 1890; and finally (4) the line Amsterdam - Hilversum - Amersfoort - Apeldoorn (1875), whence it is continued (a) via Deventer, Almelo and Hengelo to Salzbergen, Germany (1865); (b) via Zutphen, Hengelo (1865), Enschede (1866) to Gronau, Germany; (c) via Zutphen (1876) and Ruurlo to Winterswyk (1878).
The northern and southern provinces are further connected by the lines Amsterdam - Zaandam (1878) - Enkhuizen (1885), whence there is a steam ferry across the Zuider Zee to Stavoren, from where the railway is continued to Leeuwarden (1883-1885); the Netherlands Central railway, Utrecht - AmersfoortZwoole - Kampen (1863); and the line Utrecht - 's Hertogenbosch (1868-1869) which is continued southward into Belgium by the lines bought in 1898 from the Grand Central Belge railway, namely, via Tilburg to Turnhout (1867), and via Eindhoven (1866) to Hasselt.
In the manufacture of woollen and linen goods Tilburg ranks first, followed by Leiden, Utrecht and Eindhoven; that of half-woollens is best developed at Roermond and Helmond.
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