Den Bosch

Den Bosch, The Netherlands: top things to do in Den Bosch | Your Dutch Guide

10x top things to do in Den Bosch, The Netherlands

Den Bosch is fully named ‘s-Hertogenbosch and is the capital of the province where I was born: Noord-Brabant. It is the birthplace of famous painter Hieronymus Bosch as well as the largest walled city in The Netherlands. The medieval city centre of Den Bosch, with its churches, canals and wharves, is the main attraction. But the bustling cafés, that you seem to bump into every few meters, cute boutiques and fine restaurants will keep you occupied for quite a while. You definitely want to stay the night. Take a look at all top things to do in Den Bosch.

About Den Bosch, The Netherlands

Den Bosch, The Netherlands. Top things to do in Den Bosch, The Netherlands (foto: Visit Brabant)

Top things to do in Den Bosch, The Netherlands (photo: Visit Brabant)

‘s-Hertogenbosch means ‘Duke’s Forest’ and this says rather a lot about what you need to know about the history of Den Bosch. The duke in question was Henry I, Duke of Brabant, who granted Den Bosch city rights in 1185. Before that, Den Bosch was an important place of trade on the spot where several small rivers met. Originally, the city was built as a fortress and most of those medieval city walls are still intact.

Hieronymus Bosch is probably the cities most famous inhabitant and he was born in the 15th century. He was a witness of the biggest fire in the city in 1463, that pretty much destroyed the heart of Den Bosch and it really makes you wonder if this event influenced the chaotic and demonic scenes in the paintings Hieronymus Bosch became so famous for.

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How to get to Den Bosch

  • Travel from Amsterdam to den Bosch by train, it only takes one hour and trains run four times every hour. Check out NS website for rates and timetables.
  • If you decide on driving to Den Bosch, chosing a hotel with parking is the best thing to do as this will save you lots in parking fees.
  • If you rather stay in a holiday park, Klein Oisterwijk and Landal Kaatsheuvel are less than 20 kilometers from Den Bosch.
  • You can easily combine a trip to Den Bosch with a day in The Netherlands most popular theme park Efteling

Hotels in Den Bosch

The Duke Boutique Hotel

The Duke Boutique Hotel

One of the most beautiful boutique hotels of Den Bosch is located in the heart of town. The Duke Boutique Hotel offers tranquility in a bustling city. The spacious rooms are beautifully decorated in moody colouts witth lovely details. Pamper yourself and choose the room that has the sauna. From the hotel you will walk to basically all top sights within minutes.

Kloosterhotel De Soete Moeder

Kloosterhotel De Soete Moeder

Plan a city break but stay in a quiet green part of Den Bosch. Kloosterhotel De Soete Moeder is pure relaxation. It’s housed in an old convent in the heart of Den Bosch, though surrounded by lush gardens. Within the hotel you can still see so many ancient details, but the rooms are wondrfully renovared in warm colours with retro design elements. You will also really enjoy the lounge and bar.

Top things to do in Den Bosch

St. Janskatherdraal

Den Bosch, top things to do in Den Bosch: St. Janskathedraal (St. John's cathedral) | Your Dutch Guide

I have seen my fair share of churches and the St. Janskathedraal (St. John’s cathedral) is probably my favourite church in The Netherlands and absolutely a top thing to go and see in Den Bosch. The construction started in the 14th century and it took two hundred years to finish. The ceilings and stained glass windows are simply stunning. The cathedral was renovated ten years ago and an angel holding a cell phone (!) was added to the exterior. If you climb the 73-meter high tower you can see the carillon and some fine views from the top.

The historical city centre

Top things to do in Den Bosch: explore the city centre | Your Dutch Guide

In the last decade, Den Bosch was voted the most hospitable city in The Netherlands four times in a row, and with reason. No matter when you’re visiting Den Bosch, there’s always people coming together for a drink and a chat in one of the many cafés and bars in town. And the historical centre, with its gabled houses, grand squares and historical landmarks are best taken in by just aimlessly wandering around.

Noord-Brabants Museum

Noord-Brabants Museum (photo: Visit Brabant)

Set in a 18th-century former governor’s residence, visiting the Noord-Brabants Museum is an absolute top thing to do in Den Bosch. It exhibits an overview of the history of the province of Brabant, with art pieces dating from the 1500’s to present-day. And an annexe hosts one of the largest exhibitions of Van Gogh’s paintings outside of Amsterdam. A small corridor leads to Stedelijk Museum for your dose of contemporary art.

Jheronimus Bosch Art Center

Top things to do in Den Bosch: Jheronimus Bosch Art Center | Your Dutch Guide

The famous painter Hieronymus Bosch (or Jheronimus Bosch) was born and raised in Den Bosch, making him the cities most famous son. His giant paintings, full of dark premonitions and diabolic creatures, are now displayed in museums all over the world. But visiting the  Jheronimus Bosch Art Center gives you the opportunity to get up close and personal with life-size reproductions of all Bosch’ paintings and blow-ups of his creatures, enabling you to understand the masters work a little better. Don’t forget to climb the tower of the art centre, which is set in an old church, as from the top you will be treated to an amazing view over the city. Read more in my article Follow the footsteps of Hieronymus Bosch

Boat trip on Binnendieze

Top things to do in Den Bosch: Boat trip on Binnendieze (photo: Visit Brabant/ Twycer)

A bot trip on the canals of Den Bosch is maybe just as spectacular as taking a canal tour in Amsterdam or Utrecht. In Den Bosch you discover the Binnendieze river on your boat trip: a small river that runds through and underneath (!) the city. If offers you the opportuity to explore the most hidden spots in the historical heart of Den Bosch.

Jan de Groot

Jan de Groot, Den Bosch (photo: Visit Brabant)

You can’t leave Den Bosch without tasting a Bosschebol at Jan de Groot. Bosschebollen are one of the foods that we Brabanders are famous for and proud of. And at Jan de Groot, you can eat the best Bosschebollen in Brabant. Bosschebollen are large profiterole like pastries, filled with whipped cream and covered in chocolate. A bit messy to eat, but no one cares. The bakery, which also has a tearoom, is close to the train station.


Top things to do in Den Bosch: Tramkade (photo by Visit Brabant)

Tramkade was once a tram depot, but the old depot and warehouses have been turned into creative workspaces, clubs and concert halls. If you’re into music, better check their calendar to see if there’s a cool concert or party going on during your visit. Tramkade is also a great place to spot some street art in Den Bosch.


Top things to do in Den Bosch: Verkadefabriek | Your Dutch Guide

If you say ‘Verkade’ to a Dutch person, he or she will immediately say ‘cookies’. And the big Verkadefabriek used to be only a short walk from Den Bosch train station. When the production line was moved elsewhere, the historically industrial area was turned into a cultural hotspot. You can go to the cinema or have a bite to eat at Verkadefabriek. I think it’s absolutely one of the top things to do in Den Bosch.

Shopping in Vughterstraat

Top things to do in Den Bosch: shopping in Den Bosch | Your Dutch Guide

Like in every Dutch city, Den Bosch has its fair share of chain shops that are maybe not so interesting to you. However, there are lots and lots of fun independent shops and boutiques in Vughterstraat (which is also one of the prettiest streets in Den Bosch) and you can spend ages here browsing for fun souvenirs. My favourite shop in Den Bosch is Koekwaus (a Dutch expression for being a little crazy) which sells everything from colourful cactii to fairtrade clothing. A little further up the road is Daily Poetry with gorgeous clothes, fine jewellery and homeware.

De Moerputten

Top things to do in Den Bosch: De Moerputten | Your Dutch Guide

De Moerputten is located just a little outside Den Bosch, but still close enough (especially if you are by car) to go and see it when you’re visiting the city. The nature reserve is best known for the Moerputten Bridge, once a railway line between Den Bosch and Lage Zwaluwe, now a very nice walking path. It’s considered to be one of the top things to see in The Netherlands. The railway bridge is 600 meters long and runs through a peat area. It is a beautiful place to visit and photograph, especially early in the morning or around sunset.

Restaurants in Den Bosch

Eetbar DIT

Photo by Eetbar DIT

Eetbar DIT has to be my favourite place in Den Bosch for lunch or drinks. The bar is located in the cute Snellestraat in a lovely historical buiding and offers good lunch, an extensive drinks menu, shady outdoor seating and a staff that’s always smiling.

Nom Nom

Photo by Nom Nom

The triangular square where café Nom Nom Nom Nom is located has to be the most fun terrace in Den Bosch. Locals love coming here as it’s simply the best place for people watching. Nom nom is a great place for brunch, lunch and (late night) drinks. 

Lou op de hoek

Photo: Lou op de hoek

Korenburgstraat is a perfect choice for drinks or dinner because the street is more or less one big bar. Lou op de hoek is situated on one of the corners, has outdoor seating, and is a good spot for dinner. The restaurant is especially famous for their meat and pasta dishes, and I was particularly impressed by their surf ‘n turf and extensive wine list.


Restaurants Den Bosch: Coffeelab | Your Dutch Guide

Within a minute from the train station, good coffee awaits. Coffeelab is a succesful café chain in Brabant and is very popular with locals. It’s a good place to order breakfast (the french toast or eggs Benedict, oh my!), a piece of homemade cake and some coffee or tea.


Restaurants Den Bosch: Buurt | Your Dutch Guide

A little outside the city centre (but the walk along the canal to get there, is so worth it) is where you will find Buurt. I used to have many work drinks and do’s here, as I used to work a lot with a company close to Buurt. It’s a lovely spot for coffee, lunch or drinks.

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Den Bosch, The Netherlands. Top things to do in Den Bosch | Your Dutch Guide
Den Bosch, The Netherlands. Top things to do in Den Bosch | Your Dutch Guide

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