Breda (Dutch pronunciation: [breːˈdaː] ( listen)) is a city and municipality in the southern part of the Netherlands, located in the province of North Brabant. The name Breda derived from brede Aa ('wide Aa' or 'broad 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 had a population of 183,456 in 2017; the metropolitan area had a population of 324,812. It is part of the Brabantse Stedenrij.