Den Bosch is not on the visit list of many tourists. But if you like history and the good life it is a good choice indeed. One of the best discoveries you will do is the underground canals. A mysterious chain of tiny rivers that explain much about the history of this town. Get off the beaten path and onto the water!
Spotify tip while reading: Ophelia by Marika Hackman
Boat trip on the Dieze
The best angle to approach Den Bosch is from its canals. The river that enter town is called Dieze, but as soon as it enters its name becomes Binnendieze (inner Dieze). Get over your inhibitions with hardcore tourism and hop on board of a boat. It is worth it. The web of narrow canals tell the story of Den Bosch from Medieval history to recent years. The passionate shippers tell you a million cute details about the city throughout all those ages. You get a peek of mysterious alleys in the underground, some of them causing shivers, others romantic with hanging flowers. Traces of wooden houses locate the oldest parts, with their “toilets” hanging above the water. And dark, dark tunnels, where you have to duck down from hitting your head on the ceilings. Other parts tell their stories of recent events, like the heavy concrete supports indicating department stores above. Handy to find out where the heck you actually are. It is easy to loose track down there.
These canals offer you the only opportunity in the world to float underneath a church. Made possible by the lack of regulations at the time of construction. Cannot imagine the absence of rules in the Netherlands anymore! Well, back in the Middle Ages everyone wanted a share of this precious water, so families built their houses right next to it. And when space failed, halfway on top of it or completely over it. No city planning whatsoever, unlike the neatly planned canals of Amsterdam, Leiden, Utrecht. The canals of Den Bosch are unique in Europe.
Prices and food
A boat trip is not expensive and you can book for the same day. On busy days you might have to wait some hours. But this is no reason to be bored: this southern town thrives on all the good things in life. Food, beers, and Bossche bollen: enormous chocolate pastries filled with cream (you must!).
By the way, if you have a choice at all, go at a sunny day right before or after summer. The sky and colors will be even more enchanting than it already is. When the sun is low you see spectacular reflections on the water and the walls. Take advantage of it.