'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.
Located where the rivers Aa and Dommel meet, the city of 's-Hertogenbosch became a city in 1184. It is one of the foremost cities of the historic Duchy of Brabant (1183 - 1794), which roughly consisted of the Dutch province of Noord-Brabant and large pieces of Flanders. Being one of the first cities founded in the Low Countries during the Mediaeval period, the charter which granted Den Bosch its city rights was subsequently used and adapted by a lot of other newly founded cities throughout the Low Countries.
's-Hertogenbosch lends its name to the very Duchy it was once located in, meaning "The Duke's forest". Its shorter name, Den Bosch, is an abbreviation of said name. In other languages of mainland Europe, the name of the city is often translated (German: Herzogenbusch, French: Bois-le-Duc), which is fairly unique with Dutch cities.
The city holds significance for the Netherlands as a whole due to its siege of 1629 being a turning point for the Dutch revolution and the independence war that formed from said revolution. The city until that point had been considered to be impossible to successfully besiege, earning it the nickname De Moerasdraak (The Swamp Dragon). The capitulation of the city after a siege of half a year, gave stadtholder Frederik Hendrik the highest victory of his military career with him thusforth being known as De Stedendwinger (The subjugator of cities), but also led to an exodus of many Catholic citizens and clergy, as a reparation for the siege.
The population of Den Bosch is approximately 151,000 and with that it is reaching its limits, 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):
- Center includes the whole area inside the city walls. Most sights and places to visit can be found in this area.
- North is the area between the city center and the A59, which includes the neighborhoods de Rompert, Orthen, Herven and the area around the Prins Hendrik Park.
- Maaspoort is the area north of the A59. Mostly a residential area with some industry.
- Hintham is the area around the FC Den Bosch football stadium.
- South is the area between the city center and the A2 highway to the south. Residential, but with also a large amount of office buildings.
- West is the area west of the central station. High presence of industry, as well as the residential neighborhoods Kruiskamp and Helftheuvel. The Brabanthallen can be found here.
- Engelen is the village of Engelen which is going through the development of Haverleij, a combined residential complex on a golf course.
- Rosmalen, a town to the east of the A2.
- Empel, small village to the north of Rosmalen.
Most visitor attractions are found in the center, except for the footballstadium and the Sportiom.
- Amsterdam Airport Schiphol (AMS IATA), the largest airport in the Netherlands and of Europe's most important intercontinental hubs, is roughly 1½ hr away from Den Bosch by train. The cost is €17.80 for the complete journey. There are multiple times an hour allowing such connections. Consult e.g. 9292.nl for the most convenient option.
- Eindhoven Airport (EIN IATA), the country's second largest, is in Brabant and is mainly served by low-fare carriers from many European cities, with special emphasis on Eastern Europe and the Mediterranean. Getting to Den Bosch from Eindhoven is as simple as taking one of the many trains shuttling every hour between the cities, taking less than 20 minutes to connect them, but you must get a bus ride from the airport to Eindhoven station first, adding another 20 minutes to the travel time. With some walking and waiting factored it, the total journey time should not be over 50 minutes and will only cost you €6.30 in total.
- Rotterdam The Hague Airport (RTM IATA) is a smaller, business-focused airport in the city of Rotterdam, which can be used as an alternative to Schiphol from some destinations. The airport also does not have a direct train connection - you need to take the bus to Rotterdam Centraal (20 min) and then a direct Intercity train to 's Hertogenbosch. Total journey time is under two hours and cost is less than €18.
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.
Den Bosch is accessible via the A2 highway, which was improved in 2016, 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 07:00-09:00 and from 16:30–19:30, Den Bosch is easily accessible by car.
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.
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.
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.
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.
The best means of transportation is, just as in the rest of the Netherlands, by bicycle. The city is rather flat and bike friendly
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 (☏ ) and Taxi de Hart (☏ ). 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).
's-Hertogenbosch is a medieval city and among the oldest cities in the Netherlands. As the city center is historically protected there are still a lot of medieval buildings to be found. Wander around and see the traditional building style.
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.
- 1 Saint John's Cathedral (Sint Jans Kathedraal). One of the most prominent landmarks of Den Bosch. Building started in 1380, in Gothic style. The exterior of the building had been deteriorating fast due to acid rain and restoration works started in 1960. It has taken many years to restore the full church, but the works are completed and the church can be seen in all its glory. The restoration also included the interior. Of course some minor maintenance takes place constantly.
- 2 The Moriaan (on the market square). The oldest brick building in The Netherlands, built in the 13th century. It houses the Tourist Center (VVV), and in the basement, the rock cafe Plein79.
- 3 Town Hall (Stadhuis), Markt 1 (south side of the market square). The facade was built in the 17th century and reflects Dutch classicism. The cellars are from about 1200, with a restaurant for coffee, tea, lunch, etc.
- 4 The North Brabant Museum (NoordBrabants Museum). It houses a collection of art and historical artifacts, from pre-roman times to the 20th century. Special exibitions are a must to see, the 'Hyeronimus Bosch Exhibition' with his original work from museums all over the world.
- 5 City Museum 's-Hertogenbosch (Stedelijk Museum 's-Hertogenbosch (SMS)) (next to, and connected to, the North Brabant Museum). A museum for modern art. Together they form one of the biggest museums of the Netherlands. The ground floor can be visited freely, and it's up to you to decide to see more.
- 6 Jhyeronimus Bosch Art Center, Hinthamerstraat (in a former church). It displays all the works of the famous painter. All in live sized copies. Combined with 3D models of his monsters and objects. Because the paintings are copies, you can get very close to them and the guide will open or close the panels to get the full picture. Visitors, young and old, can enjoy this permanent exhibition.
- 7 Citadel (In the north of the city center, outside the boundaries of the northern fortifications). 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.
- 8 Kruithuis (powder arsenal) (Opposite the Citadel). It is an hexagonal building and one of the last of its kind. It is used as a museum for art.
Hidden below the old city is a canal network called the Binnendieze that once stretched 22 km. 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. The remaining sixth of the old waterway system has been renovated, and it is possible to take several guided subterranean boat trips through it.
- 2022 Vuelta a España, one of the world's three leading bicycle races, starts on 19 Aug 2022 and spends its first three days around Utrecht, 's-Hertogenbosch and Breda before continuing across Spain.
- Take a boat on the Binnendieze, a river that goes below the houses of the center of town, which was used historically as an open sewer, but is now quite a special tour. There are several tours available. It is a popular tour so be aware when booking a time. Tickets can be bought at the Bolwerk which also have a beautiful café and a restroom free of charge.
- 1 De Maashorst, Visitors Centre: Erenakkerstraat 5, 5388 SZ Nistelrode (30 km east of s-Hertogenbosch via the N279 and A50), ☏ .
- 2 Brabanthallen, Diezekade 2. The third-largest event venue in the Netherlands (after the Amsterdam RAI and Utrecht Jaarbeurs) at 55,000 square metres (590,000 sq ft) of indoor space, which hosts many events, fairs, congresses and concerts year-round.
- 56th Record Planet Mega Record & CD Fair: 22–23 April 2023. Held twice annually, the Mega Record & CD Fair is not just the largest record fair in the Netherlands, but is a strong contender for the biggest in the world. The event, held during a weekend in May and November of each year, draws in over 600 vendors from all over the world selling vinyl, CDs, and other media and music-related items.
- Art & Antiques Fair: April. Renowned antique and art fair, pulling in some 25,000 visitors from multiple countries.
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 (09:00-17:00) 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 (09:00-14:00) 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.
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 dessert. 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.
- Jan de Groot, Stationsweg 24. This bakery is particularly well-known for its Bossche bollen and caters to many of the cafés in town. They also have a lunchroom of their own. €2.60 for one pastry.
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.
- Eetcafé 't Keershuys, Lepelstraat 45, ☏ , firstname.lastname@example.org. Cosy place in a 14th-century building, once a small cheese factory. Today it's a restaurant serving simple, good value for money food. It's also a popular place for lunch and High Tea. Lunch breads start at around €5 and in the evening you can have the dish of the day for €10.50. Pasta dishes around €12 and other mains from €15.
- In Den Zevenden Hemel, Korte Putstraat 13-17, ☏ . Popular with locals, this place gets good reviews and is often crowded. Mains start around €20 and there's several vegetarian options too. The staff is friendly; ask them for the English menu. €34.95 for a set 3-course menu.
- Bistro Puik, Hinthamerstraat 80, ☏ . Cosy little restaurant with good food, right next to the cathedral. On the menu you'll find a range of small dishes which allows you to get a good idea of the cuisine. Most visitors opt for the chef's menu, called the "Wandeling door de kaart" (walk through the menu).
- FF Swanjee, Hinthamerstraat 76-78, ☏ . Daily from 12:00. This popular and informal place serves a range of small "wappaz", an internation take on tapas, available in small and large portions. The menu also has some excellent grill dishes, lots of cocktails and tasty desserts. Sharing is encouraged.
- 1 Brasserie Top, Markt 42, 5211 JX 's-Hertogenbosch,, ☏ .
- Restaurant Sense, Verwersstraat 58, ☏ , email@example.com. Tu-Sa. Sense has a number of small, high quality dishes on the menu; the idea is that you order them more or less in a random order, as you like. They start at around €16; count on 4 dishes for an average eater. If you're not very picky, the surprise menu is a good option. From €43.50 for 4 courses.
- Fabuleux, Verwerstraat 23, ☏ . W-Sa. Proper French cuisine in a historic house. This place also has some excellent wines on the menu. From €37.50 for a 3-course surprise.
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:
- De Drie Gezusters (One of the most popular places in Den Bosch, it has 3 areas: Pub, Apres Ski and Club with different music and appearance. Can't miss it on Friday and Saturday as there will be a line outside.), Karrenstraat. Opens at 21:00, but the scene starts at around 23:00. Open until 04:00. Entrance €4, coatcheck €1.
- Cinq (formerly known as the Cuba Libre, it turns into a nightlife scene after 23:00. On busy nights hard to get in.), Parade, ☏ . Entrance depends on attendance. Busy nights require around €2 entrance to be paid.
- De Carrousel (Place to attracts a crowd of mainly 25+. Is sometimes open slightly longer than the other places.), Karrrenstraat, ☏ . Starts at around 22:00 until 04:00, sometimes later.
- Silva Ducis (Next to Cinq, same attendance.), Parade, ☏ . 10:00-16:00.
- Golden Tulip Hotel Central, Burg. Loeffplein 98 (the hotel is on the north side of the Markt, easily recognized as a white building), ☏ , fax: . It's in the city center, and is one of the best hotels to visit the city if you are willing to pay a little more. around €140.
- 1 Mövenpick Hotel 's-Hertogenbosch (Moevenpick), Pettelaarpark 90 (near the highway A2. Take exit 22, where signage will guide you to the hotel.), ☏ , fax: , firstname.lastname@example.org. Check-in: 15:00, check-out: 12:00. This 4-star hotel offers clean, cosy rooms with good showers and 100% organic, fair trade linen. There's a spacious (no-swimming suit) sauna and infra-red room and the hotel restaurant offers a diverse menu with healthy and vegetarian options. This hotel is located in a business area but lies next to a small lake, which gives it its charm. It's about a 20-minute walk from the city centre and easily accessible by car. The large parking has electric car charging options. Bicycle rent is also available and there's a bus stop 200 meters away, with connections to the city centre. around €140.
- Best Western Euro Hotel (/ in the city center), Kerkstraat 56 (near the St. Jans Cathedral opposite the main post office.), ☏ , fax: . Check-in: 14:00, check-out: 11:00. €95.
- Campanile Hotel 's-Hertogenbosh (Cheap hotel located in the northern suburb 'Maasport' and adjacent industrial area), Goudsbloemvallei 21-25, ☏ , fax: , email@example.com. €59.
- Bark Hotel 's-Hertogenbosch.
- Fletcher Hotel Rosmalen (Located outside the city center along the A2 highway), Burg. Burgerslaan 50, ☏ , fax: , firstname.lastname@example.org.
- van der Valk Hotel Vught (Large hotel located in the town of Vught, about 10 minutes by bus to 's-Hertogenbosch.), Bosscheweg 2, ☏ , fax: , email@example.com. €80-100.
Den Bosch uses the area code 073.
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. Watch out to the drunk people that might easily start brawls (especially during the carnival).
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. Families will find fun all year round at the Efteling, the country's largest theme park. The Loonse en Drunense Duinen National Park is also a short ride away.
|Routes through 's-Hertogenbosch|
|Amsterdam ← Culemborg ←||N S||→ Eindhoven → Maastricht|
|Maastricht ← Eindhoven ←||S N||→ Utrecht → Amsterdam → Den Helder|
|Maastricht ← Eindhoven ←||S N||→ Utrecht → Amsterdam → Enkhuizen|
|Venlo ← Eindhoven ←||S N||→ Utrecht → Schiphol|
|Roosendaal ← Tilburg ←||W N||→ Arnhem → Zwolle|