's Hertogenbosch

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Travel Guide Europe Netherlands North Brabant 's Hertogenbosch

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Introduction

's Hertogenbosch, or also called just Den Bosch, is the capital of the Dutch 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.

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Neighbourhoods

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

  • Centre 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 wel 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 golfcourse.
  • 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.

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Sights and Activities

'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.

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.

  • 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 maintainance takes place constantly.
  • The Moriaan (on the market square). the oldest brick building in The Netherlands, built in the 13th century. It currently houses the Tourist Center (VVV), and in the basement, the rockcafe Plein79.
  • 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.
  • The North Brabant Museum (NoordBrabants Museum). 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.
  • City Museum 's-Hertogenbosch (Stedelijk Museum 's-Hertogenbosch (SMS)) (next to, and connected to, the North Brabant Museum). A brand new building and 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.
  • Jhyeronimus Bosch Art Center, Hinthamerstraat (in a former church). 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.
  • 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.
  • Kruithuis (powder arsenal) (Opposite the Citadel). It is an hexagonal building and one of the last of its kind. It is currently used as a museum for art.

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Events and Festivals

Koningsdag (King's Day)

In 2013, the Dutch throne was passed on to King Willem-Alexander and what used to be Koninginnedag (Queen's Day) will from 2014 become Koningsdag (King's Day). The date will be changed to the 27th of April, which is the king's birthday. In 2014 however it will be on the 26th of April because the 27th falls on a Sunday. On this day the streets of almost every sizable town in the country come alive with activity.

Carnaval

The (catholic) south of the Netherlands celebrates carnaval at the beginning of the year. (40 days before Easter). During the days of Carnaval, all the names of the cities and towns get another (a bit loony) name. The party starts at Saturday and ends the following Tuesday. It goes hand in hand with a lot of drinking and dressing up.

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Getting There

By Plane

There is no airport in 's Hertogenbosch, but the small airport near Eindhoven offers some flights, mainly with budget airlines to the east of Europe. Schiphol Airport is about 1.5 hours away by car.

By Train

Check the Dutch Railways website for more information. 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 7:00am-9:00am and from 4:30pm–6:30pm, 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.

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Getting Around

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.

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).

By Public Transport

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 Foot

Everything within the city centre 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 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

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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 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.

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.

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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.

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Keep Connected

Internet

Internet cafés are not as widespread as you would expect, but you can easily find one in the popular cities. Most hostels, hotels and camp sites have several computers, so you can keep connected with folk at home. Here is a list of internet cafés that could come in handy for travellers. Otherwise, most libraries have lots of computers and prices are around the €2-3 per hour range, although sometimes it can be even more expensive.

Wireless internet access using wifi is becoming more popular and is usually available at most hotels and increasingly at train stations. Also in trains (at least in most first class wagons, but also more and more in second class) and some buses you can use wifi. Finally, places like McDonald's and Starbucks have free wifi, and smaller individual business like cafés and restaurants are on the rise too offering these services. More often than not, these service tend to be free of charge, though there might be a limited time you can use the internet.

Phone

See also: International Telephone Calls

The country code for the Netherlands is 31. The outbound international prefix is 00. The general emergency number is 112, like many other countries.
0800 numbers are toll-free and for 09xx numbers are charged at premium rates. Mobile phones have numbers in the 06 range, and calls to cell phones are also priced at higher rates.

From internet cafés, it is also usually possible to make long distance international calls. Like in other countries, telephone booths have almost disappeared, though some are still found around public transport stations, where you can use a few coins to make calls. It is only recommended for local calls.

The cellular phone network in the Netherlands is GSM 900/1800. The main providers of cell phone networks are KPN (Dutch only), T-mobile and Vodafone, who cover the whole country. Other operators, like Hollandsnieuwe, Simyo or Tele2, use one of these 3 networks basically.

It is best to buy a SIM card when in the Netherlands for use in your cellphone, as this usually works out cheaper than using the one from home. If you are planning to study or work in the country and stay for several months, buying a cellphone is the best option. A simple one, sometimes with €10 worth on it, can be bought from around €25. The simplest smartphones are around €75.

Post

The rate for sending a postcard or letter up to 20 grams within the Netherlands is €0.64 (2014). Since 2010 there are stamps available for domestic post which no longer include the value in €. Instead, there are stamps available with either a '1' or a '2' as a substitute for value. The '1' can be used for letters and postcards up to 20 grams, while 20-50 grams require you to use the '2'-valued stamps (or two '1'-valued stamps of course).

Sending items to other EU countries and the rest of the world (there is one price since 2014) will cost €1.05. Stamps are sold at post offices, supermarkets and smaller shops/kiosks; often the place where you buy your postcards can also supply you with stamps.

Sending parcels abroad is more costly. A standard-sized parcel between up to 2 kilograms will cost you €9 for destinations within the EU and €18 (both without Track & Trace) to the rest of the world. Prices with Track & Trace start at €13 and €24.30 respectively. Parcel service is available from major post offices only; standard-size boxes are on sale there as well. For sending parcels, it might be just as competitive and fast to use a company like TNT, UPS or DHL.

If you need to receive mail while moving around, you can have it sent poste restante (to be called for) to a post office of your choice, where it will be kept for a month. If you come to claim it, bring a valid ID, and make sure to have told the sender that the name on the envelope must be an exact match with that in your passport. For addresses of post offices, as well as more information, consult the TNT website.

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This is version 5. Last edited at 8:17 on Oct 12, 17 by Utrecht. 4 articles link to this page.

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