Before I begin, let me tell you the name of this Dutch town, ‘s-Hertogenbosch, does begin with an apostrophe.
But good news: it is commonly known as Den Bosch. What a relief!
And like Dutch people say, it’s also a very gezellig (cozy) town.
Its origin goes back to the 12 Century, when Henry I, Duke of Brabant founded the town.
And today it has a population of about 150,000 people, making it very easy to walk around and explore.
So what to do when visiting Den Bosch?
Den Bosch offers its visitors a great wealth of history and culture.
To begin, you can admire one of the most beautiful cathedrals in all of Holland. The majestic Saint Jan Cathedral was built 800 years ago in a Gothic-Brabantine style.
Inside the cathedral you can admire a huge pipe organ, beautiful detailed sculptures all over the building, and colorful stained glass.
For most visitors, the main attraction in Den Bosch is the river boat tour on the serene waters of the Binnendieze, the historic river that goes through the city.
The river has its origins in Belgium, where it is called Dommel, a stream of water that forms part of the short Dieze River. It changes names as soon as it crosses the walls of ‘s-Hertogenbosch.
During this relaxing ride, Den Bosch reveals its medieval beauty.
Its versatile channels also show how important they were for the trade of many goods such as beer, wool, and other products.
At points, you will even go through low tunnels, right below the main buildings of the town! And if you think this is claustrophobic, I won’t even tell you about the bat nests you can see inside. Oops!
Don’t forget to explore the colorful open markets in the main square and check all the action.
You can find clothes, flowers, shoes, produce, and all types of food. I love the fresh herring sandwiches with lots of onions, Dutch style of course. Yum!
At nights, there are many great bars and restaurants for all tastes. Some even offer live music.
You’ll see Dutch people love to go out a lot and have fun.
Interesting Facts About Den Bosch:
Perhaps the most famous person in Den Bosch is renaissance artist Hieronymus Bosch.
Contrary to other Flemish styles, his paintings were dark and frequently used evil figures to incite fear and to symbolize the sins of men (see photo).
King Philip II of Spain acquired many of Bosch’s paintings and therefore, many of his works are in display the Prado Museum in Madrid.
The town’s professional soccer team is FC Den Bosch, the first club of Dutch international player Ruud Van Nistelrooy.
Den Bosch also had a sad chapter in its recent history. During World War II the Nazis operated Kamp Vught, a concentration camp near Den Bosch were 30,000 prisoners (12,000 of them Jewish) were placed.