European Culture Route Fortified Monuments - FORTE CULTURA®

Fortess City 's-Hertogenbosch Netherlands

Imposing fortified heritage of s´-Hertogenbosch

Over 400 years of history, art and culture in the massive fortress walls of Den Bosch.

The face of the city of 's-Hertogenbosch has been shaped by its fortifications for centuries. The most beautiful way to explore these fortified treasures is a round trip on Binnendieze. Discover the medieval beauty of 's-Hertogenbosch on a boat trip through the centuries-old canal system of Den Bosch. In the capital of the Dutch province of North Brabant, contemporary and regional art, culture and history merge in exciting and often innovative ways. The fortress city's favourable location on the Zuiderwaterlinie, embedded in the charming marshlands and nature reserves of North Brabant, provides an opportunity to actively explore the region on foot, by bike or by water.

FORTE CULTURA® Travel Recommendations

Experience World

The fortifications of 's-Hertogenbosch


The fortifications of 's-Hertogenbosch are a multitude of fortified monuments that were built in several stages from the 12th century onwards and were in use until the end of the 19th century. The majority of the fortifications were dismantled from 1874 onwards. The Fortification Act of War Minister August Willem Philip Weitzel allowed cities like 's-Hertogenbosch to demolish the fortifications. This was completed by 1890.

Citadel of 's-Hertogenbosch


After the capture of 's-Hertogenbosch by the Protestant Netherlands (1629) under Frederik Hendrik of Orange, an entire quarter of the city was razed and the citadel was built between 1637 and 1642. It was originally named Fort Willem Maria, but was called Fort Papenbril by the city's predominantly Catholic population.
In addition to providing protection against Spanish attacks, the citadel also served to maintain control over these inhabitants.
A narrow bridge (Sortiebrug) at the Citadel City Gate provides pedestrian access to the citadel from the city centre. Partial parking is also available for visitors at the South Gate and at the Brabant Historic Information Centre located in the Citadel. Entrance to the Citadel is free of charge.

Groot Tuighuis (Big Arsenal)


The historic building from 1430 now houses the Municipal Heritage Office 's-Hertogenbosch.
Originally built as St. Jacob's Church, the building has been used over the centuries as a pilgrims' hostel, coach house, cemetery, barracks and military arsenal.
An interdisciplinary and modern heritage centre is currently being built on the ground floor, inviting citizens and visitors to the city to meet, research and discover archaeological finds and historical features.



Before the siege of the city, 9 bastions ( Bastion Baselaar, Bastion Deuteren, Bastion Grobbendonck, Hinthamerbolwerk, Muntelbolwerk, Bastion Orthenpoort , Bastion Sint-Anthonie, Bastion Sint-Marie and Bastion Vught) were built.
After the siege of 's-Hertogenbosch, the construction of the Orange bastion was completed in 1634 and the citadel "Fort Willem Maria" was built on the site of the Orthenpoort bastion. Today, 3 old bastions are still preserved. Bastions Vught, Bastion Sint-Anthonie and Bastion Baselaar,.
Bastion Oranje houses the Bastionder, an underground information centre about the military history of 's-Hertogenbosch and the national landscape of the Groene Woud.
In the Baselaar bastion there is a memorial to French soldiers. During construction work in 2011, a mass grave from the time of the siege and French occupation of the city around 1794-1795 was discovered.
A memorial on Bastion Sint-Anthonie is placed to remember the attack on October 1944 when soldiers of the Royal Welsh Fuseliers starts to liberate Den Bosch from the German occupation.

Bossche Kruithuis (Powder house 's-Hertogenbosch)


The Powder House of s'-Hertogenbosch, built 1618-1620, is located not far from the Citadel. The hexagonal building with its distinctive courtyard was modelled on the old powder house of the city of Delft, which was destroyed in 1654 during the Delft Thunderclap, a gunpowder disaster. Thus the powder house of s'-Hertogenbosch is the last surviving "Kruithuis" from the time of the Spanish-Dutch War.
It had various functions over the course of time. During the Second World War it housed valuable art by Hieronimus Bosch and others. Today it is the site of the Stok - Modern Art Museum and a national monument.

First city fortification


The first city wall was built shortly after the granting of city rights. The first wall was built around the donk in the centre of the town. This donk later became the market . This crenellated enclosure wall of brick and tuff had five city gates. Three of these gates are named after the capitals of the Duchy of Brabant, the Antwerpse Poort, the Leuvense Poort and the Brusselse Poort . These were built at the expense of the named cities. In addition to these gates, there were two water gates, the Waterpoort at Herman Moerkerkplein and the Waterpoort at Sint-Geertruikerkhof .
TheAa , the Dieze and the Dommel flowed around the settlement on a sand hill . The first wall was built along these watercourses. The watercourses became the town moat. The 7.50 metre high enclosure wall was supported by arches and foundations. The first enclosure, completed by 1225, is one of the oldest masonry fortifications in the Netherlands. At several places in the townscape there are indications of where the gates were and where the wall once ran. Only the southern lock gate still exists today and is located at the Groot Ziekengasthuis . The southern Waterpoort gate was built over an arm of the Dieze.

Second city fortification


From 1318, under Jan III of Brabant 's-Hertogenbosch, an extension of the fortifications began. The Antwerpse Poort had to give way. The Leuvense Poort and the Brusselse Poort were given a function. A total of eight gates were added. Baseldonkpoort , Boompoort , Koepoort , Molensteegpoort , Orthense Poort , Pijnappelsche Poort , Sint-Jans Poort and Vughter Poort. Around 1540 the Hinthamer Poort was built, which later became a bastion. The Aa also flowed through this gate.

Vughts Lunettes


During the Belgian Revolution, when Belgium was striving for independence from the United Kingdom of the Netherlands, some temporary fortifications were built on the route Cromvoirt - Helvoirt - Esch. After Belgium's independence in 1830, these were replaced by 8 lunettes in Vught. These were spared from the demolition of the fortifications in 1874 and are now part of the landscape. The area continued to be used for military purposes. During the German occupation Kamp Vught (concentration camp 's-Hertogenbosch), a former Nazi concentration camp was built in Vught near the town of 's-Hertogenbosch. Today it is the site of the Kamp Vught National Memorial.
On the lunette barracks next to the camp, the Genie Museum with its military history exhibition welcomes visitors.
The exhibitions are billingual; Dutch and English. An audioguide for adults (Dutch, English,French and German) is included in your entrance ticket. For children over 10 years of age, there is a special audio guide tour in Dutch or English.
On the grounds of the Lünetten barracks next to the Kamp, the Geniemuseum welcomes visitors with its military history exhibition.

Fort Isabella


Fort Isabella was built in 1617 during the Twelve Years' War as part of the southern defences of s'-Hertogenbosch. The Stichting Fort Isabellakazerne (Fort Isabella Barracks Foundation) really brings 400 years of history to life with its guided tours, amidst charming landscapes at the gates of s'-Hertogenbosch. Combined with a range of new activities and events, this creates a unique atmosphere where recreation, everyday life, work and education come together. Visitors and residents can enjoy a wide range of recreational, everyday, work and educational activities at this special place. Fort Isabella's special community concept brings new ideas and initiatives to life.

Fort Orthen and Fort Crèvecoeur


Fort Orthen (1630) is the youngest fort of 's Hertogenbosch. Together with Fort Crevecoeur it had to defend the fortified city from the north. Today it is a studio rent space for artists and home to the Orthens archive of local history circle the Orthense Schaar.
Fort Orthen consists of a moat with forework, two hornworks, two half-bastions, a ravelin and a second moat, two batteries and a brickwork powder magazine.
Today, the Fort Crevecoeur is not in great shape. Nevertheless, it is worthwhile visiting it and soaking up the historical atmosphere.

Bunker Provinciehuis s´-Hertogenbosch


Construction of the bunker in 's-Hertogenbosch began in 1966. In less than 2 years, an emergency administrative post was built on 52 x 25 m, with 248 piles, 3,300 m3 of special concrete and 297,000 kg of reinforcing steel. The bunker provides protection against conventional weapons and is NBC-capable. The provincial command post (PCBB) and the provincial government (PCCV) could act together from here in the event of an emergency. From 1970, the crisis center was ready in the bunker. For about 3 months, 70 to 80 strictly selected people could find shelter here. Some of the rooms are furnished as they were originally and can be visited during guided tours.

Monument and History


Duke Henry I of Brabant granted the town town charter in 1185. The proximity to the duke's forest is said to be the origin of the town's name. The settlement itself was built on a donk, a sandy ridge surrounded by marshy terrain. Even with the first fortification, s'-Hertogenbosch was considered impregnable. The strategically favourable location allowed for brisk trade and a flourishing of the city until the Spanish-Dutch War. The predominantly Catholic city was captured by the Protestant Netherlands in 1629 by Frederick Henry of Orange. The capital of the province of Noord-Brabant has been s'-Hertogenbosch since 1815.
To immerse yourself in the history, culture and art of 's-Hertogenbosch experience the Noordbrabants Museum and the Jheronimus Bosch Art Center .

Quelle: common source
Quelle: ©
Quelle: Pauwels van Hillegaert , 1635
Quelle: ©Prins Frederik Hendrik by Anthony van Dyck


The fortifications of 's-Hertogenbosch are a multitude of fortifications that were built in several stages from the 12th century onwards and were in use until the end of the 19th century. The majority of the fortifications were dismantled from 1874 onwards. The Fortification Act of War Minister August Willem Philip Weitzel allowed cities like 's-Hertogenbosch to demolish the fortifications. This was implemented by 1890.
To this day, the fortifications characterise the face of 's-Hertogenbosch. In 1999, a development plan was drawn up for the restoration of the fortifications of the city of 's-Hertogenbosch: "Reinforced Den Bosch".

Quelle: common source
Quelle: ©
Quelle: ©
Quelle: ©J. Kuyper, Uitgave Hugo Suringar Leeuwarde-S-hertogenbosch_stad_1866

Nature Experience

Bossche Broek
Go for a walk around the Zuiderplas, walk to Vught or use the ferry the Moerasdraak. Come and experience the peace and quiet.
Along the historic line from 1629, today a cycling and hiking route over a length of 49 kilometres. Beautiful nature and impressive cultural history history of the Siege of 's-Hertogenbosch constantly alternate.
The Bossche Broek is a marshy landscape that extends directly behind the city's fortress walls. The nature reserve protects its special vegetation is an important meadow bird sanctuary in Brabant. The Bossche Broek walking route has been designated as a "Natura 2000" site. A free ferry takes visitors across the Dommel into the Bossche Broek.

Nature reserve Bossche Broek
Bossche Broek - Zuiderwaterline

West of Den Bosch lies the nature reserve Moerputten. The place for endless walks with beautiful views. When you cross Moerputten Bridge, an old railway bridge, and admire the spectacular marshland, you almost feel like you're in paradise.

Nature reserve Moerputten

Loonse en Drunense Duinen-Nationalpark
The Loonse and Drunense Dunes National Park in the middle of the province of North Brabant. One of the largest natural areas in Holland and the largest drifting sand area in Western Europe. The spectacular dune landscape was formed more than 10,000 years ago.

National Park The Loonse and Drunense Dunes

Quelle: © Moerasdraak
Quelle: ©VisitBrabant WillekeMachiels
Quelle: © Moerputten
Quelle: © DenBosch Cultuurstad