Capital of Noord-Brabant, ’s-Hertogenbosch is a lively town, particularly on Wednesdays and Saturdays, when its Markt fills with traders from all over the province. Better known as Den Bosch (pronounced “bos”), it merits a day or two’s exploration. The town’s full name – “the Count’s Woods” – dates from the time when Henry I, Duke of Brabant, established a hunting lodge here in the twelfth century. Beneath the graceful townhouses of the old city flows the Binnendieze, its gloomy depths spanned by small wooden bridges. Staggered crossroads, winding streets and the twelfth-century town walls are vestiges of interminable warfare between the Protestants to the north and the Catholics to the south. The town’s history is written into its street and house names – “Corn Bridge”, “The Gun Barrel”, “Painters’ Street” and more – while its most famous son is the fifteenth-century artist Hieronymous Bosch. Den Bosch also makes a good base from which to visit the chilling Camp Vught, nearby.

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