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I’ve been having so much fun exploring my home country a bit more. Ever since moving to England, I’ve learned to appreciate Dutch culture and the country a lot more! Growing up near Eindhoven, s’Hertogenbosch (nicknamed Den Bosch) was only a short drive/train ride away – but I’d never taken the time to properly explore the city, let alone write up a travel guide for it! So it’s time to FINALLY write something about this lovely city in North Brabant: A guide to one day in Den Bosch!
Is Den Bosch worth visiting?
Den Bosch may not be as popular as Amsterdam, Utrecht or Rotterdam (yet), but it’s one of those cities that has so much potential. Personally, I love combining the highlights of a country with some lesser-known cities and places. I feel like it adds so much personality and uniqueness to your trip, plus you get to experience so many different aspects of a new culture!
Den Bosch is a city that has a bit of everything. Beautifully historic cobblestoned streets, a stunning cathedral, trendy bars and a thriving creative sector alongside the iconic Dutch canals. It’s known for its many festivals, events and the huge part the city plays in the Dutch carnival every year. A lively city that will add so much to your itinerary if you’re visiting the Netherlands.
Things to do in Den Bosch
St. Jans Cathedral
The pride and joy of Den Bosch: the Saint Jans Cathedral. This stunning cathedral was built between 1380 and 1520 and is an absolute must-visit when in Den Bosch. It’s not only a real eye-catcher, but it also holds the record of being the largest catholic church in the Netherlands.
You can visit the cathedral for free, and I’d really recommend stepping inside. It’s absolutely gorgeous. Once inside, you can choose to climb the 43-meter high tower for a beautiful view across the city.
Bossche Markt & Den Bosch City Hall
A perfectly preserved piece of Den Bosch’s history, the Bossche Markt. On it, you can find many shops, lunchrooms and cafes. It’s a great place to sit down after walking around and grab a drink. On the Bossche Markt, you can also find the Den Bosch City Hall – one of the city’s highlights.
Near the Bossche Markt, you can find tons of shops as well. For more info, check this article about shopping in Den Bosch.
This is the oldest brick house of the entire country. It was built in the 13th century and now hosts the tourist information point in Den Bosch. Make sure to step inside if you have any questions or want some walking routes through the city – they’re always happy to help!
Tour the canals by boat
The canals add so much to the historic and Dutch atmosphere of Den Bosch. If you’re visiting the city between the months of April and October, you can book a boat tour through Den Bosch. It’s a really fun and unique way to see the city and experience the canals in a different way. If you’re visiting outside of those months (or aren’t ready to board the boat), walking near the canals is another great way to see Den Bosch. Step out of the busy high streets and seeing some of the more historic parts of the city. The Molenstraat is a great start for a walk near the canals.
One of the most popular highlights in Den Bosch is its art museum: the Noordbrabants Museum. Even though art is a big part of the museum, you can also learn about the history and culture of the Dutch province of North Brabant.
A little walk from the historic centre of Den Bosch you can find Work Warehouse (werkwarenhuis), a more quirky and modern place in Den Bosch. The building is a centre that brings design, dance and food together – and you can feel the creative vibes radiate from it! With tons of amazing murals in the neighbourhood and its industrial vibe, Work Warehouse is also a great spot for taking photographs.
Best Food & Drinks in Den Bosch
Bossche Bollen at Jan de Groot
You cannot leave Den Bosch without trying the iconic Bossche bol. The pasty is basically a huge cream puff covered in chocolate and Den Bosch is its city of origin! They know how to do the BEST Bossche bollen. There are countless cafes you can find these delicious pastries, but the #1 place to go is Jan de Groot. Located near the train station, Jan de Groot has a little lunchroom and bakery. You can either sit down and enjoy your Bossche Bol with a cup of coffee or order some to take away. Either way, it’s an absolute must when in Den Bosch!
Also check out: 30+ traditional Dutch food to try when visiting the Netherlands.
I discovered Coffeelab about a year ago when I drove to Den Bosch with my sister. She studied in Den Bosch and I decided to go sit in a cafe for the day to get some writing done. I immediately fell in love with Coffeelab. Coffee, plants, bikes! It looks like they went over my “Home inspiration” Pinterest board to put their interior together and I am living for it! Their filter coffee is one of my favourites and they also do a delicious breakfast and lunch. Coffeelab is located near the train station (and across the road from Jan De Groot), which makes it the perfect stop for a quick caffeine fix after arriving in Den Bosch!
“The greenest spot in Den Bosch” claims Oerwoud on their website – and they’re correct! This plant shop x cafe x city garden is the perfect place for lunch. Everything on their menu is completely vegan and they are working hard to spread awareness about sustainable living. I adore their vibes! When I was in Den Bosch, I stopped at Oerwoud to try their vegan cheesecake and a fresh mint tea. It was delicious!
Oerwoud also organises workshops that relate to their green lifestyle and love for plants and our planet. If only I was able to bring some plants back to Manchester on the plane with me – I would’ve definitely taken some home with me!
Housed in an old factory building, the verkadefabriek is now a cultural hub for films, theatre, cabaret, food and drinks. Even if you’re not planning to go and see a performance during your one day in Den Bosch, visiting this area is something I’d definitely recommend. Due to its history and the industrial style, it’s an amazing spot to take photos. As mentioned above, the Work Warehouse is also located near the old factory.
How to get to Den Bosch
By plane: Den Bosch doesn’t have its own airport, but you can fly to Eindhoven or Amsterdam and get a train from there. Many budget airlines fly to both Eindhoven and Amsterdam airport.
By train: Because the Netherlands isn’t a very big country, it’s super easy to get around to pretty much any city by train. From Amsterdam, it takes about an hour to get to Den Bosch. From Eindhoven, you’ll be in the heart of Den Bosch within 20 minutes. Check out my guide on how to use trains in the Netherlands to find out exactly how to buy tickets and train etiquettes.
Where to stay in Den Bosch
Den Bosch isn’t a huge city and you can see most of the highlights in one day. But staying over in Den Bosch allows you to take a few day trips to nearby cities and experience the Burgundian lifestyle of the South of the Netherlands. Because Den Bosch is only an hour by train from Amsterdam and is nearby cities as Eindhoven and Tilburg, it acts as a perfect city to sleep in for a few nights. I’d recommend staying somewhere near the Bossche Markt. Because it’s close to the train station and right inside the historic part of the city.
Day trips from Den Bosch
One of the most beautiful castles of the Netherlands can be found only 12 kilometres from Den Bosch. Castle Heeswijk is a moated castle that dates back to the 11th century. In 2005, the castle was restored and now houses a museum where you can learn all about the history of this beautiful castle.
When in North Brabant, why not add another city to your Dutch itinerary? Eindhoven is only a 15-minute train ride from Den Bosch and acts as a perfect little day trip. Eindhoven bursts of creativity and innovation. Crowned as the design capital of the Netherlands, hosting one of the biggest light art festivals of Europe (GLOW) and filled with many quirky eateries and cafes – Eindhoven is a must! You can check out my article about the best things to do in Eindhoven for some more inspiration.