Hertogenbosch, NL – Getting off the Beaten Path

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The first thought everyone has when you say you visited The Netherlands is Amsterdam. It’s a gorgeous city filled with history and intrigue, a must see place for any tourist in the area.

However, there is much more to the Netherlands than just Amsterdam, and I discovered it due to a friend’s love of a medieval artist.

The Jheronimus Bosch Art Center is located in the small town of Hertogenbosch, NL. It is the hometown of the medieval artist Bosch (who changed his name to reflect his home town). Hertogenbosch is a quaint little town about an hour South of Amsterdam and 45 minutes from Germany’s western border. It has a main street filled with little shops and a few restaurants.

But First, we Eat!

We were starving after our drive! We strolled down the one main street in the small town on the hunt for a decent restaurant that we all could enjoy. Our first stop was a deli-type café, which unfortunately was very small with few menu options. It looked and smelled delicious, but one of my companions, Tina, is vegan, and there was nothing available for her to eat on the limited menu.

We continued down the street and ended up at the Swanjee restaurant, which was right across the street from St. Johns Cathedral, a gorgeous Gothic church. The weather was nice, so we elected to sit outside on the street, to take in the views of the church and people watch. Jamie and I ordered brie and ham omelets, while Tina friend ordered a veggie sandwich. The omelets were rather good, though a bit too salty for our tastes. Tina was thrilled with her sandwich, and it looked delicious as well. I wanted to be vegan for a day!

Related: Heading to the Netherlands?  Don’t miss these Viator tours!*

Jheronumus Bosch Art Center

My favorite portion of the town of Hertogenbosch was the Jheronumus Bosch Art Center. I had never heard of the artist prior to planning this trip, but I am incredibly thankful that Jamie had.

The Center

The art center is located in an old church which still holds community functions. There was a high school band concert going on while we were visiting (which gave us discounted tickets to the center). The top floor has panoramic doors that offer visitors a wonderful view of all sides of the town. The doors are sealed in September and October due to a fly migration, but you can still easily see the town through the glass. It would be gorgeous in the spring and summer when you could step outside.

The Works

The Art Center had a wealth of information on the medieval artist, along with reprints of most of his famous paintings. The originals are spread out in museums across the world (each copy listed which museum the original piece was displayed in). It was great to see the body of work together in one place and understand the story behind the paintings and the artist. We opted for the audio tour, which was available in both English and German, among other languages, and was very educational.

The Influence

The art center also had numerous sculptures representing creatures from Bosch’s work. Some were literally hanging from the ceiling! Others were displayed more traditionally on the ground. These surreal sculptures were both mesmerizing and terrifying, and the effort that modern artists put into creating them stand as a testament to how influential Bosch was. He was the first surrealist artist, practicing in a time where most were focused on Romanesque and Gothic styles. You can see his influence in the works of more modern greats such as Dali and Ernst. The Jheronumus Bosch Art Center is a must see for lovers of art, history, and all things macabre.

Bosch sculptures Herogenbosch
Bosch’s creation reimagined as a sculpture

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