Den Bosch, also known as ‘s-Hertogenbosch in Dutch, is a city in the South of the Netherlands. Up until recently it was a city that I had heard of but I didn’t know anyone who had visited, so when I got invited to visit with Visit Holland to discover what Den Bosch had to offer, in particular the shopping and food scene, I was very intrigued.
I had a great time in this small, charming city and managed to see a lot of what the city has to offer during my short time there. Therefore, I have put together this post to show you how you can, and why you should, spend a day in Den Bosch as it’s a city not to be missed! Forget the crowds of Amsterdam, Den Bosch should be your next Dutch Break!
To start the day off well head to Yoghurt Barn, it’s a chain of cafes but inside it feels more like an independent cafe. They sell a variety of yogurt pots, toast options, smoothies and cakes. I went for the ‘Fabulous Fig’ which consisted of some yogurt, chopped fig and fresh mint on some brown toast. It was a gamble as it seemed like a strange option but the gamble paid off as it was delicious.
Den Bosch isn’t surrounded by as much water as other cities in the Netherlands but it’s still got a fair few rivers and canals going through it meaning you’ll see plenty of water. I’d suggest taking a boat trip along the Binnendieze river, the river flows in and underneath the city so it will help to get your barings, see some of the most famous monuments and learn a bit more about the city from the skipper or guide on the boat.
Back on dry land there are a few monuments that need to be seen up close – St John’s Cathedral is one of them. Built between 1370 and 1529 is the pride and joy of Den Bosch. Another good building to visit is De Moriaan, it’s the oldest brick house in the Netherlands, built in the 13th Century. It’s been home to the tourist office since the 60’s and is known as the living room of Den Bosch.
For lunch, head to Robbie’s. Robbie’s is easy to appreciate from the moment you walk in. It’s a beautiful store selling an abundance of unique products however to really appreciate Robbie’s you need to know the story behind it.
At 2 years old this Store was created by Nikki Wolfs, an incredibly creative women who trusted her instincts of starting a 1000m2 store selling fashion and lifestyle products as well as opening a cafe inside. The letters within ‘Robbies’ all mean something and represent a Dutch word however as an English translation they follow the lines of Rebel, Business, Entrepreneurship, Energy. This is what she bases all of her business decisions on from which products to bring into the shop to the staff she employes.
The fashion items in store are from various European brands for a mix of styles and the lifestyle products for sale are a mix of unique items. The Christmas items and displays where particularly impressive when we were there in November!
But you’re here to eat too, so lets touch on the food. Robbie’s is open for coffee’s, breakfast and lunch and I can recommend Robbie’s Quiche as a good lunch option! There is also a chocolate store next door so make sure you get a sweet treat before leaving!
Whilst we’re on the subject of unique stores, Den Bosch’s windy streets are full of the them and the shopping scene in general is fantastic so make sure there’s room in your suitcase!
A few stores that we visited and I would recommend popping into are:
Westside – a few doors a long from Robbie’s Westside has a quirky feel with lots of unique products from books to clothes to art to homeware and furniture. On my trip, like with Robbie’s, we were lucky enough to hear from the owner who was very passionate and proud of his products and newly opened art gallery upstairs. Regarding his older items, of which we saw items that date back to the 60’s, he said they make sure every item was in good condition 10 years ago, its good now and will be good for another 10 years so you know you’re buying a good product!
Piet Zoomers – a department store with a difference, and when I say different it just feels very boutique-like although it sells a range of items and even has a cafe inside (this is a theme you’ll notice a lot, it seems like the ‘in’ thing is to sell coffee in your store and I think it’s a great idea!). It’s inside a former post office and is home to Dutch and international brands. The clothes in here were particularly nice and unique.
X-works – a super unique store that sells leather products, bags in particular, and all of their products are made in Holland from cows in Holland. This ensures that not only is the quality fantastic but it’s very ethical too. I dare you to go in here and find a bag you don’t like!
Aside from these shops, although there are also a lot of commercial and chain stores in Den Bosch such as Zara, H&M etc there are plenty of other small, boutique, independent stores so keep an eye out and give yourself time to wander in and out of them.
Between shopping, if you can fit anymore food in then I would suggest going to- Stadsherberg Pumpke for a ‘chocolate bomb’! Den Bosch is famous for these chocolate and cream treats and apparently people even get off the train at Den Bosch on their way to or from work to go to a bakery near the station and get one, or more!
You may need to drop some bags off after a few hours of shopping and get ready for the evening.
I stayed at Uylenhof Hotel which hosts a range of apartments perfect for 1 person in a studio apartment or up to 4 adults in a 2 bed apartment. They’re perfectly located and you have to cross a little canal to get to them which I found special. The shower was great, the beds were comfy and the breakfast that is brought to your room in the morning was really good so overall this is a great option!
For dinner, be sure to head straight to Korte Putstraat which is a small walking street full of restaurants.
From what I saw of Den Bosch during the day I didn’t expect to see a street like this at all but it was a pleasant surprise. The restaurants serve a range of cuisine’s and although we were lucky enough to eat in a few of the restaurants I would recommend Lux which serves french cuisine with a global twist. I definitely experienced the global twist by having the Gamba & Red Curry which is prawns in a Thai red curry sauce. I could have eaten this 3 times over it was so good! Even on a Thursday night this place was really popular and I can see why.
I hope this gives you some ideas of what to do during your day in Den Bosch or convinces you that you need to visit! It’s a city that isn’t visited as much by tourists, especially compared to the likes of Amsterdam and Rotterdam and because of this it has a really local feel.
It’s small but there is plenty to do, the people of Den Bosch are lovely and it’s the perfect base to get to other areas of the Netherlands from. I flew into Amsterdam Schiphol, caught the train from the train station in the airport and within an hour I was in Den Bosch.
*What do you think? Did you find this helpful? Let me know in the comments below or by tweeting me!*
For more of my posts on The Netherlands check out:
I visited Den Bosch with Visit Holland however all thoughts, opinions and ramblings are my own.