noticeable buildings and places in ‘s-Hertogenbosch
‘s-Hertogenbosch (ˌsɛrtoːɣə(m)ˈbɔs), colloquially known as Den Bosch, is a city in the Netherlands with a population of around 150.000. The city is situated south of the Maas river. The city’s official name is a contraction of the (archaic) Dutch “des Hertogen bosch” meaning “the forest of the duke”.
The duke in question was Henry I of Brabant. He founded a new town located on some forested dunes in the middle of a marsh. He granted city rights and trade privileges in 1185. From its first days, he conceived of the city as a fortress. It was destroyed in 1203 but was soon rebuilt. Some remnants of the original city walls remain. In the late 14th century, a much larger city wall was erected to protect the greatly expanded settled area. Artificial waterways, de Dieze and Binnendieze, were dug to serve as a city moat, through which the rivers Dommel and Aa were diverted. ‘s-Hertogenbosch became the birthplace and home of one of the greatest painters of the northern Renaissance period, Hieronymus Bosch. The town suffered a catastrophic fire in 1463, which the then (approximately) 13-year-old Bosch probably witnessed. Presumably, this fire provided inspiration for the fiery hell-scapes that would later make Bosch famous. Until 1520, the city flourished, becoming the second largest population centre in the territory of the present Netherlands, after Utrecht.
St Jan & Parade
The Catholic Cathedral Church of St. John (Sint-Janskathedraal) of ‘s-Hertogenbosch, is the height of Gothic architecture in the Netherlands. It has an extensive and richly decorated interior.
Construction of the first St. John’s church is thought to have started in 1220 and to have been finished in 1340. It was built in romanesque style, and stood on the same spot where the St. John now stands. In about 1340, building began to extend the church. This was done in the Gothic style that now dominates the exterior. The apse chapels and outer choir aisles were constructed first. The transept and choir were finished in 1450. By 1505, the Romanesque church had largely been demolished, leaving only its tower. Construction of the Gothic St. John was finished about the year 1525.
The cathedral has a total length of 115 metres (377 ft) and a width of 62 metres (203 ft). The Gothic nave has five aisles. These aisles continue under the transepts. The aisles then continue under the choir. Along the apse, only the inner aisles continue. These give access to 6-7 apse chapels that are located in the way of the lacking outer aisles. Originally there was a third aisle on both the north and south side of the choir. The one on the south side was dedicated to Saint Nicholas, and was finished by 1405-1406, and is still standing. The tower is a remnant of the first romanesque church.
Markt & de Moriaan
De Moriaan is one of the oldest brick houses in the Netherlands. The building is located on the Markt in the center of ‘s-Hertogenbosch. According to tradition, the Moriaan was built in 1220 by Hendrik I van Brabant.
The roof dates from around 1310 and is one of the four still existing roof constructions from before the three major city fires of the 15th century. You can still see 13th-century beams in the basement. The brick stepped gable with Romano-Gothic elements probably dates from the 14th century and is the most important old facade in ‘s-Hertogenbosch. However, the columns that divide the windows in two were reused and date back to the 13th century.
Dieze, Binnendieze & rondvaart
The city lies at the confluence of the rivers Aa and Dommel. Through the ages their course has been drastically altered. They now form a defensive city moat that surrounds the ramparts, called the Dieze. Inside the city the name changes to Binnendieze (inner Dieze): small streams, natural and dug, form a transportation network that can be visited in small electric boats. Due to a lack of space these streams were “bridged” and houses were built on top of the bridges. Due to these streams, the medieval streetplan of the old town has never changed, and the boat tours navigate in part underneath the houses.
Stadsmuur & vesting
before and after
City walls are almost completely intact, although heavily restored.
The St. Jan car park is a spectacular part of the restoration of the southern ramparts. The parking garage is located in three layers under the water of the restored city moat. In the middle of a former bastion, you enter the garage via a spiral ramp, the ‘wokkel’ and a tunnel under the fortress wall. The city center can be reached from the main stairwell via a footbridge just above the water. Through a ‘breach’ in the ramparts, the restored medieval ground level leads under a new Park Bridge to the renovated Casino Garden and onto the Parade. The stairwells, the Wokkel and the Park Bridge are clad on the outside with Corten steel, which creates a visual connection with earlier restoration of parts of the fortifications.