Master painters and master chefs: a weekend in 's-Hertogenbosch

By: Naline Outdoor fanatic | Read time: 6 minutes
  • Stel wandelt in Den Bosch of 's-Hertogenbosch met St. Jans Kathedraal op de achtergrond

The medieval master painter Hieronymus Bosch proudly looks out over the square. The most famous ‘son of ’s-Hertogenbosch’ has been immortalised on the Markt. This is where I begin my weekend in the Brabant capital and the start of a two-day visit full of art, culture and enjoyment of the good life.

Day 1. City trip to ’s-Hertogenbosch - Strolling through Uilenburg

From the Markt, I walk via the city walls towards Uilenburg. This was once a district filled with warehouses and industry, it is now a breath of fresh air to escape the busy shopping streets and stroll through the idyllic alleyways. Tour boats bob on the Binnendieze underground waterway as I walk past concept shops and vintage boutiques and take a peek inside Brouwerij Boegbeeld. It’s the place were brewer Janneke brews her iconic feminist ‘Kut Bier’.

The route takes you past the Jeroen Bosch garden. This ‘Garden of Earthly Delights’, full of lush rose bushes and colourful paintings, is a reference to the world-famous triptych by the ‘s-Hertogenbosch painter. Nowadays the artwork hangs in the Prado in Madrid, but you can also enjoy his paintings in Den Bosch, as the capital is also called.

From wannabe-painter to master painter

From wannabe-painter to master painter

For that, I walk on to Het Noordbrabants Museum. Here, you discover the story of Hieronymus Bosch and get a unique glimpse into the history of the city. Some of Van Gogh’s original works hang here too. At the Van Gogh exhibition, you take a journey through his life, from his emergence as ‘Brabant wannabe-painter’ to world-famous master painter.

Great vibes at the Tramkade
I continue my walk towards the Tramkade. At the place where the former mixed feed factory De Heus stood, the factory halls and warehouses now form the city’s ultimate cultural hot spot. With views of the water, I drink a craft beer at city brewery Bossche Brouwers. And at the candy pink Restaurant van Aken, I enjoy a tasty snacks platter made of seasonal ingredients. There is something enjoyable behind every door on the Tramkade! I’ve already decided that I will be coming back here again. And then to hire a sloop (electric!) for a lovely tour in and around 's-Hertogenbosch. And to have a unique overnight stay in ‘De Bossche Kraan’ (crane) where you sleep in a hotel room at an altitude of 12 metres and the Wikkelboot fabulous tiny houses float at the quay.

Van Gogh zaal in Het Noordbrabants Museum in s'-Hertogenbosch Bossche Kraan, Tramkade

Vegetables in the starring role at Pollevie

As evening falls, I leave the Tramkade and head for the Paleiskwartier. Although the city centre is teeming with good restaurants, restaurant Pollevie is one worth taking a detour for. Chef and owner Martin Berkelman’s concept revolves entirely around vegetables. Whereas in most restaurants they serve vegetables purely as garnish, here they play a starring role – and successfully!

Day 2. Food route around ’s-Hertogenbosch - Cruising on an e-chopper

A huge plus for 's-Hertogenbosch is its location, amid vast nature reserves, castles, forts and lovely villages. That makes it an ideal destination to combine a day in the city with a day in the surrounding area. And I am not doing that in the car or by bike but on an e-chopper. This environmentally friendly moped takes you to the best (and tastiest!) places in and around the city in a unique and relaxing way.

From the city centre, I cruise towards the Bossche Broek nature reserve. But not before getting off in one of the oldest streets in 's-Hertogenbosch. Vughterstraat, on the outskirts of the centre, has dozens of unique businesses. It’s a place where design and traditional crafts come together. For example, the handmade ceramics by Cor Unum and strong espressos at De Garage. I’m looking for a tasty breakfast so go into Boergondisch. It’s a true local shop with artisan products from the Brabant countryside.

Kasteel Heeswijk met deel van de tuin

"You pass the 1,000-year-old Heeswijk Castle halfway between 's-Hertogenbosch and Veghel. The brasserie in the castle garden is a lovely place for a break and lovely walking trails have been marked out on the estate. Moreover, you can charge your e-chopper (or e-bike) at the castle."

CHV De Noordkade’s De Proeffabriek

From the Vughterstraat, I ride straight into the Bossche Broek. It is a stunning natural green and wetland area that starts right where the old city walls stop. From here, I follow the water of the Aa towards De Noordkade. A creative stronghold has arisen in this once deserted industrial zone in Veghel, and you can entertain yourself with art, culture and delicious food. A walk through the maze of halls, staircases and corridors is a lot of fun because there is something happening everywhere. Such as at DIS that brings together a delicatessen, lunchroom, take away and restaurant in the industrial ‘mothership of De Proeffabriek. Or in the cellar, where at Schouten Distillery, I see how they handmake original gins, from the distilling vessel to the label. If you fancy a fine dining experience, book a table at the reputable Silly Fox, located at an altitude of 32 metres. You have views of the whole region from the roof terrace!

Heavenly enjoyment in Vught

With a full belly and a bottle of gin in my bag, I slowly ride back towards 's-Hertogenbosch. But not via the same route, as there is still plenty to explore in the surrounding area. I ride through the farming country back to Vught, with the eyecatcher DePetrus. This historical church houses the library and the Vughts Museum nowadays. It’s an architectural masterpiece! Before retuning my e-chopper, I take a seat on the patio of Grand Café Hemels Vught, located at the base of the church. I raise a glass to this pleasantly surprising and enjoyable weekend in 's-Hertogenbosch one final time.

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