Getting off the Beaten Path at the Jheronimus Bosch Art Center in Hertogenbosch, the Netherlands

When travelers think about The Netherlands, Amsterdam comes to mind. The gorgeous city bursts with history and intrigue, making it an ultimate bucket list destination for many.  

Far too many travelers enjoy the party scene in Amsterdam but skip the rest of the country, meaning they miss out on one of the most spectacular art centers in Europe: The Jheronimus Bosch Art Center. 

Visiting Hertogenbosch

Hertogenbosch, an unassuming town about an hour south of Amsterdam and 45 minutes from the country’s Western border, features the Jheronimus Bosch Art Center, an epic celebration of the medieval artist who created surrealism long before Dali. 

Bosch, as he’s commonly referred to, changed his name to celebrate his hometown, which, in return, built a stunning tribute to his work. 

The main strip features an abundance of small cafes, restaurants, and local shops, allowing visitors to grab a quick bite and explore the local markets while in town to see the spectacular art.

Visiting the Jheronumus Bosch Art Center

The art center stands out as the highlight of visiting the small town.  

Before planning this trip, I had never heard of the Bosch, but I am incredibly thankful that my friend did her research and convinced us to make a pit stop in this fantastic art city. 

The Jheronumus Bosch Art Center is an extraordinary introduction to this influential artist for those like me who had never heard of him and an epic celebration of his life and work for those who have. 

About the Jheronumus Bosch Art Center

Your first introduction to Bosch is the gorgeous architecture of the New St. James Church built in 1907 in the Byzantine revival style. The building no longer serves as a church; it acts as a community center, featuring various events, from school band concerts to conferences.  

The top floor features panoramic doors offering visitors breathtaking views of the town from all sides. Fall visitors can’t get outside, as the center seals the doors in September and October to prevent migrating flies from swarming inside, but you can still see the epic views through the glass. The doors are open the rest of the year, allowing visitors to step outside and enjoy the scenery. 

Celebrating Bosch’s Works

Bosch’s epic body of work stands proud as the star of the show. The center features a wealth of information on the medieval artist, along with realistic reprints of his most famous paintings, which are spread out in museums around the world. 

The Art Center’s use of reprints allows visitors to view Bosch’s most impressive paintings in one place, each adding vital tidbits to the full story of both the artist, his paintings, and the period in which he lived. 

The audio tour, available in German, English, and various other languages, offered even more insight into each piece. It’s the best way to get a complete picture of everything you see at the center. 

Bosch’s paintings come to life at the Jhermonious Bosch Art Center. Modern artists created sculptures representing the fantastical creatures displayed in his most famous paintings, sprinkled throughout the center, giving visitors a 3d look into the artist’s mind. Some sculptures even hang from the ceiling, immersing guests in the work. 

These sculptures are both mesmerizing and terrifying, offering a glimpse into the nightmare world of Bosch’s surrealistic mind. 

Bosch’s Influence

The immense effort modern artists put into creating massive 3d sculptures of Bosch’s work stands as a testament to his substantial influence.

Bosch created surrealism during a time when most artists focused on Romanesque and Gothic styles. He’s considered a leading artist of the Flemish Renaissance, the region’s response to the massive artistic revival coming out of Italy in the late 14th century. 

Bosch’s influence appears again in the surrealistic movement of the early 20th century, especially in the works of painters such as Dali and Ernst. 

The Jheronumus Bosch Art Center is a must-see for lovers of art, history, and all things macabre.

One More Thing to See in Hertogenbosch

After visiting the Jheronumus Bosch Art Center, you must take a short walk to St. John’s Cathedral, an epic architectural marvel built at the height of the Netherlands Gothic movement. 

The cathedral was built, destroyed, and rebuilt over the centuries. The structure as it currently stands was finished in the 17th century, and the last restorations were completed just a decade ago. 

Getting Off the Beaten Path Leads to Adventure

Sometimes, we forget about the fantastic things outside big cities when traveling.  I would never have thought to visit Hertogenbosch in the Netherlands, but I’m so thankful I did. I learned about an influential artist and saw a smaller town that most people don’t get the opportunity to see. 

When traveling, try to get outside of major cities and touristy areas. You never know what stunning sites await just off the beaten path.