Sunday, September 25, 2005

City Spotting:`s-Hertogenbosch, The Invincible Dragon of the Marshes

I was in `s-Hertogenbosch [popularly known as Den Bosch by the Dutch] last Friday for an international job interview with a software applications company. The talk lasted almost two hours and I had the chance to chat with the COO himself.

This isn’t really the first time I have been to Den Bosch. Two years ago, I visited the city for the same reason, a job interview, which didn’t materialize into anything. So this time, I promised to reward myself [just in case I dont get the job], a treat to explore the city’s old Centrum, something that I have never done in the past.

City’s Nickname: INVINCIBLE DRAGON OF THE MARSHES

The symbol of the city… the dragon monument located right in front of the train station.

Den Bosch is a fortified city nestled in the midst of the north Brabant swampland [in the south of the Netherlands] and a Delta series of rivers, making the town invincible from any outside attack in the past. Because of this, the metropolis has earned the coveted title of “The Invincible Dragon of the Marshes” and thankfully, much of the original medieval city center is intact until this day.

FORTRESS CITY

Clockwise from top: The Knillispoort near the Market Square; My favorite Bosschenaar, The Pissing Boy, hehe and the narrow alley going to the Knillispoort; Boats for rent; and De Citadel, still in tact from the 16th century.

History said that town rights were bestowed upon Den Bosch as early as 1185. Hmm, sometimes I wonder what it is like to live in those days[?].

The MARKT and BOSSCHE BOL

The Driehoekige Markt [The Triangular Market]

As everyone might have already noticed, market squares are the typical European conurbation. A place where centuries ago, everyone sells their goods and at the same time gather for special events. They are usually designed in four corners, thus a square, but surprise… this one is quite different, it’s oddly shaped as a triangle.


The Bossche Bol. Too sweet for me!

The Markt is probably the best and gezellig [cozy] place to people watch, enjoy a warm cup of coffee, and snack on the celebrated Bossche Bol. A traditional Den Bosch sweet delicacy: chocolate covered whipped cream pastry.

I will try it next time, OK?

SINT JANSKATHEDRAAL

The beautiful Sint Janskathedraal...


The Saint John’s Cathedral is a gothic inspired church built between 1380 and 1530.

I have seen many churches and this one is indeed quite interesting. The outside structure of the building particularly near the entrances and it’s pillars, were creatively garlanded with many sculptures of saints. They looked like sentinels, always on the lookout for thieves and prowlers.

Having a warm cup of coffee in the café called Hart van Brabant right across the Cathedral. Perfect after a tiring city exploration on foot, er in high heels!
[not a very nice pic though]

The row of cafés is an ideal place to relax and enjoy the medieval view on the other side of the road.

A Shopping Mecca

Hinthammerstraat one of the big and busy shopping lanes in Den Bosch.

Although the city had so much to offer to any woman, I prudently employed some self restraint. I do not want to play local tourist whilst juggling with large bags in both hands! But it was tempting… *sigh*… I went home empty handed.

For more sights of Den Bosch, please visit my HOLLAND PHOTO ALBUM [the photos are under construction and are not yet properly labeled].

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