S'Hertogenbosch - Netherlands's-Hertogenbosch (Dutch: [ˌsɛrtoːɣə(m)ˈbɔs] (About this sound listen), literally "The Duke's Forest" in English, and historically in French: Bois-le-Duc IPA: [bwal(ə)dyk]), colloquially known as Den Bosch (IPA: [dɛm ˈbɔs] (About this sound listen), literally "The Forest" in English), is a city and municipality in the Southern Netherlands with a population of 152,968. It is the capital of the province of North Brabant.
In the years of Truce, before the renewed fighting after 1618, the fortifications were greatly expanded. The surrounding marshes made a siege of the conventional type impossible, and the fortress, deemed impregnable, was nicknamed the Marsh Dragon. The town was nevertheless finally conquered by Frederik Hendrik of Orange in 1629 in a typically Dutch stratagem: he diverted the rivers Dommel and Aa, created a polder by constructing a forty-kilometre dyke and then pumped out the water by mills. After a siege of three months, the city had to surrender—an enormous blow to Habsburg geo-political strategy during the Thirty Years' War. This surrender cut the town off from the rest of the duchy and the area was treated by the Republic as an occupation zone without political liberties (see also Generality Lands).
's-Hertogenbosch is home to a variety of events such as the theatre festival Boulevard, Jazz in Duketown, and hip hop in duketown, the start of the Tour de France (1996), Tour Feminin (1997), the International Vocal Competition, November Music (a contemporary music festival) and the UNICEF Open (formerly the Ordina Open) grass court tennis tournament (in the nearby town of Rosmalen). There are also over 350 restaurants, pubs and cafés to be found in the city.
's-Hertogenbosch is also home to the European Ceramic Work Centre. This is a juried international ceramic residency where they invite artists, designers and architects from around to the world to explore the medium of Ceramics. This program was initially started in 1991 and continues to this day.
The city has its own food speciality, the Bossche Bol—effectively a giant profiterole, somewhat larger than a tennis ball, which is filled with whipped cream and coated with chocolate.
The spoken language is Maaslands (The variant spoken in 's-Hertogenbosch is called Bosch which is placed among the Central North Brabantian dialects, although other classification systems also describe it as East Brabantian), which is very similar to colloquial Dutch.
De Toonzaal is a music venue for chamber music, improvised music, and experimental music. For popular music there is the venue W2 (or Willem II).
The old city of 's-Hertogenbosch is still almost completely surrounded by continuous ramparts. On the south side, this wall still borders on an old polder, kept intact as a nature reserve, that stretches all the way to Vught. These city walls are currently undergoing renovations. Hidden below the old city is a canal network called the Binnendieze that once spanned 22 km (14 mi). It started out as a regular river, the Dommel, running through the city in medieval times but due to lack of space in the city, people started building their houses and roads over the river. In later times it functioned as a sewer and fell into disrepair. In recent decades, the remaining sixth of the old waterway system has been renovated, and it is possible to take several guided subterranean boat trips through it.
's-Hertogenbosch is also home to Saint John's Cathedral (Sint Jans kathedraal in Dutch), which dates from c. 1220 and is best known for its Brabantine Gothic design and the many sculptures of craftsmen that are sitting on almost every arc and rim along the outside of the cathedral. In 2010 an extensive restoration was completed, undoing the damage of many years of wear-and-tear and acid rain.
Museums are the Stedelijk Museum 's-Hertogenbosch, Noordbrabants Museum, Jheronimus Bosch Art Center and Museum Slager. The painter Hieronymus Bosch (c. 1450–1516) remains probably the best known citizen of 's-Hertogenbosch.
The city is also the location of the Bolwoningen complex, an array of fifty experimental spherical houses designed by Dries Kreijkamp.
The Biesbosch (from bies, "rushes", and bosch, "woodland") is an area southwest of Dordrecht formed when the dike on the Meuse burst and the St. Elizabeth's floods on November 19, 1421 engulfed great tracts of land in the southwestern Netherlands and altered the geography of the whole area, inundating over 40,000 hectares/100,000 acres of land. More than four-fifths of the flooded land has been reclaimed since the 18th century. An area of 6,000 hectares/15,000 acres was left as it was, and now forms the Biesbosch nature reserve and bird sanctuary. Until the end of the 1960s the Biesbosch was directly connected with the sea and subject to changing tide levels. As a result, it developed a flora which tolerated brackish water and was the home of numerous waterfowl. Since the damming of the Haringvliet there is no variation in water level, and both flora and fauna have adapted to the new environment. The Biesbosch is crisscrossed by a network of footpaths and bikepaths and by countless rivers and streams which offer excellent facilities for water sports (sailing, surfing). In spite of the large numbers of visitors the natural environment has remained largely unspoiled. The Biesbosch nature reserve can be reached by car only from the east (preferably via Werkendam). The southwest part of the area, with its three large reservoirs of drinking water, is closed to road traffic. The Biesbosch can also be reached by boat from Drimmelen, Geertruidenberg or Lage Zwaluwe.
Employment is found in the agricultural, industrial and service sectors, with agricultural and food processing companies such as Agrifirm, Bavaria, FrieslandCampina, Mars Incorporated, Nutreco, Royal Canin all having large production sites or their headquarters located in the province. The main agricultural products are corn, wheat and sugar beet, while cows and pigs are held as livestock.
Of economic importance is BrabantStad, a partnership between the municipalities of Breda, Eindhoven, Helmond, 's-Hertogenbosch and Tilburg and the province of North Brabant. The region has overlap with the Brabantse Stedenrij, Brainport and the Metropolitan region of Eindhoven and lies within the Eindhoven-Leuven-Aachen Triangle (ELAT). The partnership aims to form an urban network and to make North Brabant explicitly known as a leading knowledge region within Europe. There is cooperation on economic, spatial, social, and cultural areas. With a total of 1.5 million people and 20% of the industrial production in the Netherlands is BrabantStad one of the major economical important, metropolitan regions of the Netherlands.
The province of North Brabant is one of the most innovative regions of the European Union. This is shown by the extensive amount of new research patents by Eurostat. In BrabantStad there are every year 2100 patent applications made at the European Patent Office (EPO), which is 900 per million active employees. Mainly due to the Dutch electronics giant Philips' scientific centers, BrabantStad has grown more important than similar centres like Paris, Stockholm and Stuttgart.
Of all the money that goes to research and development in the Netherlands, one third is spent in Eindhoven. The slogan of the city of Eindhoven, "Leading in Technology", is based on this. A quarter of the jobs in the region are in technology and ICT. The largest expenses and most patent applications come from Eindhoven, mainly Philips. Of all European patent applications in the field of physics and electronics about eight per cent is from North Brabant.
The Southern Dutch cuisine constitutes the cuisine of the Dutch provinces of North-Brabant and Limburg and the Flemish Region in Belgium. It is renowned for its many rich pastries, soups, stews, and vegetable dishes and is often called "Burgundian", which is a Dutch idiom invoking the rich Burgundian court which ruled the Low Countries in the Middle Ages and was renowned for its splendor and great feasts.
It is the only Dutch culinary region which developed an haute cuisine, as it is influenced by both German cuisine and French cuisine, and it forms the base of most traditional Dutch restaurants including typical main courses such as Biefstuk, Varkenshaas, or Ossenhaas, which are premium cuts of meat, generally pork or beef, accompanied by various sauces and potatoes which have been double fried in the traditional Dutch (or Belgian) manner.
Stews, such as hachee, a stew of onions, beef and a thick gravy, contain a lot of flavour and require hours to prepare. Vegetable soups are made from richly flavored stock or bouillon and typically contain small meatballs alongside a variety of different vegetables. Asparagus and witlo(o)f are highly prized and traditionally eaten with cheese and/or ham.
Pastries are abundant, often with rich fillings of cream, custard or fruits. Cakes, such as the Moorkop and Bossche Bol from Brabant, are typical pastries. There are also savory pastries, especially the popular worstenbroodje (a roll with a sausage of ground beef).
The traditional alcoholic beverage of the region is beer. There are many local brands, ranging from Trappist to Kriek. Beer, like wine in French cuisine, is also used in cooking, often in stews.