's-Hertogenbosch

Street view in the city

's-Hertogenbosch, commonly known as Den Bosch, is a city in the south of the Netherlands and the capital of the province of North Brabant. Once a stronghold, vital in the protection of the young Dutch nation, Den Bosch has a charming and well-preserved medieval centre. Wander through the winding streets to see Saint John's Cathedral and then pick out a street terrace on the market square to relax with a chilling beer. Take a boat to see part of the unique Binnendieze, a subterranean network of canals under the city, or head to the south part of town where the ancient ramparts still mark the border of the city and the beginning of a natural reserve area. In short: what Den Bosch lacks in fame, it makes up for in charm. A place well worth visiting.

Understand

The population of Den Bosch is approximately 151,000 and with that it is reaching its limits. This because almost all the ground available for building has been used. This does not mean that the whole area is one big city as there are several (big) parks. Likewise, the southern edge of city is totally green as this is a protected natural reserve.

Den Bosch can be seen in 9 regions (note: these regions are built up of several neighborhoods):

Most visitor attractions are found in the center, except for the footballstadium and the Sportiom.

Get in

By plane

Amsterdam Airport Schiphol is the largest airport in The Netherlands. It is located near Amsterdam and there is a direct train link from the airport to the station of Den Bosch, taking about 1 hour.

Rotterdam Airport and Eindhoven Airport are smaller, regional airports located near their respective cities. Transavia, KLM CityHopper and Ryanair service these airports from various destinations within Europe. Getting from the airport to Den Bosch is possible by public transport. From Rotterdam airport you'll need a bus to the Rotterdam train station first and then take a train and switch trains in Utrecht (for the northern route) or Tilburg (for the southern route). The whole trip might take around 1.5-2 hours. From Eindhoven airport there's also a short bus ride to the train station and a train straight to the center of Den Bosch, taking around 45 minutes total including transit.

By train

Den Bosch has a good location within the railway system of the "Nederlandse Spoorwegen" (Dutch Railroads) and almost every city has a direct connection or with a single stopover. Trains depart from Den Bosch main station in city center, which is located at the 'Stationsweg', towards Utrecht-Amsterdam-Haarlem and Utrecht-Schiphol in the north, in the direction of Nijmegen-Arnhem-Zwolle in the east, towards Eindhoven-Maastricht in the south and Tilburg-Breda-Roosendaal in the west.

By car

Den Bosch is accessible via the A2 highway, which has recently (as of 2016) been improved, alleviating the previously chronic traffic jams.

The major highway that passes Den Bosch is the A2, generally seen from Amsterdam to Maastricht. This one of the busiest highways of The Netherlands, and the part along Den Bosch, known as "knooppunt Hintham" and "knooppunt Empel" (intersection Hintham and Rosmalen), is in the top 5 of busiest traffic points in The Netherlands.

The other, less busy, highway passing Den Bosch is the A59, coming from Roosendaal (and the A16) towards Nijmegen. This highway is less busy than the A2, although traffic jams might occur when there is a jam on the A2 as the A59 merges into the A2 for a short part.

Nevertheless, if staying outside the peak hours, which are roughly from 7AM-9AM and from 4:30PM–7:30PM, Den Bosch is easily accessible by car.

By bus

The regional buses, operated by the BBA, link Den Bosch with Tilburg and Eindhoven. As these are the regional buses, they do not go directly between these city but stop at several small villages. Therefore, the fastest and advisable way is using the train.

Get around

On foot

Everything within the city center is reachable by foot. Everywhere in the city, so also in the suburbs, are sidewalks. In the city center, most areas are accessible by foot and bicycle only, and traffic within the city is restricted.

By bus

There is a free electric citybus that can take you from the central railroad station to the city centre and back. If you want to go to the suburbs (where there is no reason to, as all points of interest are within the city center), Arriva operates a network of buses throughout the city and places in the vicinity. All buses arrive and depart from the central station, although for some lines it is not a terminus. Travelling on these buses is around €1,20 per zone, and you have to purchase at least 2 zones. You can either pay cash at the driver, or buy a 'strippenkaart', a sort of multiple journey card, for this. The last one should only be considered of you intend a lot of traveling, or travel with multiple persons.

By car

The city council is trying to get the city center car free, so it is bringing up all kind of measures to deter people from taking the car into the city. Cars can still be parked in the city center, but on Saturdays and Thursday evening these garages are packed. Parking is also available just outside the city center and from there buses are available every 15 minutes for only a few euros including bus trip.

By bike

The best means of transportation is, just as in the rest of The Netherlands, by bicycle. The city is rather flat and bike friendly

Taxi

While taxis are relatively expensive in the Netherlands, they are typically reliable and can be good value if you're a small group. Taxis can be found in front of the train station and are available on call. Companies include Taxi TCO,  +31 412 484 41. and Taxi de Hart,  +31 73 5112733. . They will also offer transportation services to other cities or towns in the region. While they will work by meter for trips inside the city, fixed prices are available for longer trips, e.g. to Eindhoven Airport (around €45) or Schiphol (around €90).

See

The Binnendieze is a maze of canals under the city.
The large St John's Cathedral is a central point in the city.

's-Hertogenbosch is a medieval city and among the oldest cities in the Netherlands. When the Netherlands were still young it was a fortified city that served for the protection of The Netherlands. Especially on the south side of the city, a lot of these fortifications have been saved and over time restored. Start at Bastion Vught and walk northwards via the Parklaan, Spinhuiswal, Zuidwal and Bastion Oranje and Hekellaan until you reach the bridge over the Zuid Willemsvaart. This way you cover the best part of the old fortifications. In 2004, the city was awarded European Fortress of the year.

In the north of the city center, outside the boundaries of the northern fortifications is the Citadel. This fortress was added to the city later and is not directly included in the fortifications but sort of pasted on. It held the garrison to protect the city or, if necessary, to counter an uprising in the city. It is now part of the national archive.

Opposite the Citadel is the Kruithuis, or powder arsenal. It is an hexagonal building and one of the last in its kind. It is currently used as a museum for art.

As the city center is protected there are still a lot of medieval buildings to be found. Wander around and see the traditional building style.

Hidden below the old city is a canal network called the Binnendieze that once spanned 22 kilometres. It started out as a regular river, the Dommel, running through the city in medieval times but due to lack of space in the city, people started building their houses and roads over the river. In later times it functioned as a sewer and fell into disrepair. In recent decades, the remaining sixth of the old waterway system has been renovated, and it is possible to take several guided subterranean boat trips through it.

Do

The Binnendieze, as seen from one of the tour boats

Buy

Den Bosch is a popular place for shopping, combining a charming historic atmosphere with a wide variety of stores. In the city centre you'll find all the major chains and department stores. For more characteristic speciality stores or small boutiques try the Snellestraat or the so-called Bossche Kwartier, meaning the small streets around the Fonteinstraat. The Verwerstraat, with its large monumental buildings, is the place to go for antiques, fashion and design. The Vughterstraat is another excellent pick, with clothing shops as well as some fine home decoration and furniture places.

Markets are frequently held on the large market square. The main market is on Saturdays (9-17h) and has a wide selection of food and non-food products. On Wednesday the selection is similar, but the market somewhat smaller. On Fridays, there's a biological market (9-14h) with a good selection of high-quality, mostly regional products. There's another regular market on every first Sunday of the month, but it's a lot smaller than the one on Saturday.

Eat

The city is famous for a local pastry called "Bossche Bol" or "moorkop", a must-try for any visitor. It's a chocolate ball filled with cream, the size of a tennis ball, typically eaten with a cup of coffee in the afternoon but also for desert. It makes for a fine sweet treat when you kick back and relax at one of the many cafés, after a day of walking through town.

Restaurants

The city centre is packed with small and large restaurants that serve all kinds of crowds. The Korte Putstraat and the Lange Putstraat are your best bet if you're looking for a meal, as they have a particularly broad selection of places with nice outdoor terraces in summer. Typically you'll have no problems finding a table somewhere, but if you have a particular establishment in mind or if you want a good table on the terrace it's definitely wise to reserve ahead, as the best places are often full.

Budget

Mid-range

Splurge

Drink

Nightlife in Den Bosch is as you might expect from a city of its size: not as extravagant as Amsterdam or Rotterdam, but nice, with a friendly crowd attending and a nice atmosphere. The places most worth visiting:

Sleep

Connect

Den Bosch uses the area code 073.

Stay safe

Den Bosch is in general a safe city. Even the neighborhoods considered dangerous by the locals are still quite safe during daylight (Hambaken, Graafsewijk and Kruiskamp). If a traveler uses his common sense he will be alright, also during night. The only time the crowd can get a bit rough is during Thursday, Friday and Saturday night. These are the general party nights, so people sometimes drink too much. Nevertheless, there is a lot of police around, and you will be safe if you just take care and mind your own business.

Go next

Well connected and at a fairly central location, there are endless options for next destinations when leaving 'sHertogenbosch. Some of the more prominent nearby places are Utrecht, Tilburg, Eindhoven, Breda and Nijmegen. The Loonse en Drunense Duinen National Park is also a short ride.

Routes through 's-Hertogenbosch

Amsterdam Culemborg  N  S  Eindhoven Maastricht


This article is issued from Wikivoyage - version of the Saturday, March 19, 2016. The text is available under the Creative Commons Attribution/Share Alike but additional terms may apply for the media files.