One of the highlights in Den Bosch is the ‘rondvaart’ or channel tour. The old part of the city has a network of water-ways running between and under the buildings. The channels are called ‘binnedieze’. The city went through a great deal of work (and large amounts of money) to clean up the channels that had had been used for everything from transport to sanitation since the 12th century. In contrast to Amsterdam, the channels in Den Bosch runs behind the buildings and not in front. The clean-up process started in the 1970s and the restoration was finalized in 1995.
It was exciting to ride underneath the city in tunnels that have been built as early as the 12th century! The ‘Kring Vrienden van s’-Hertogenbosch’ offers a number of different tours to explore the Bienedieze. I chose the Hieronymus Bosch route, because it includes entry to a museum dedicated to the artist. However, I was the only tourist interested in a tour about the painter, so I ended up having a private tour while other boats where crammed with visitors. Lucky me. My tour guide, Mr R, is a volunteer for ‘Kring Vrienden van s’-Hertogenbosch’ and he provided an insightful and fun view of Den Bosch and the city’s famous painter. The last leg of the Hieronymus Bosch route has a number of sculptures based on the creatures from the painter’s work on the banks of the channel. The sculptures are super kitsch and disturbing, to say the least. But it is amusing in a fun-park kind of way.