17 Apr 2023

On the way to an exciting event you could find yourself with a few hours to kill if you arrive with a plane or ferry really early in the morning. What to do?

Here are a few tips:

If you arrive by plane at Amsterdam Airport (Schiphol) and you continue with the train to Venlo you will pass a few very interesting towns on your way.

One of them, Utrecht, I already described in my previous post on this website (23-03). The other one is ‘s-Hertogenbosch.

’s-Hertogenbosch (about an hour from Schiphol)

This is my hometown and it’s a lovely place full of history. You’ll have a nice time just strolling through its city center (There is a nice art supply store and a fabric store on the Vughterstraat). You can visit the cathedral (St. Jan). There is a museum dedicated to Jheronimus Bosch (Jheronimus Bosch Art Center. No original paintings, but all of his work in reproductions, up close and you can open the tripycks yourself), the famous medieval painter who lived and worked in an house on the Markt, witch you can also visit (Het Huis van Bosch).

The best thing to do, though, is take a boat trip. This will need some planning, because these one hour trips are popular and need to be booked in advance. Unlike Amsterdam where the canals are in front of the houses for all to see, the canals (or rather little rivers) here are behind and under the houses. You see, when the city ran out of room to build (the surrounding land was too swampy to build on) they started to build over the little streams flowing through the city, so the water disappeared from view. Being on the water now is a lovely experience. It’s quiet, mysterious, a bit spooky and very interesting. Highly recommended!

If you arrive by ferry in IJmuiden and continue by car, you can also visit the places described above or choose Haarlem, het Muiderslot or Gouda which I described earlier.

If you arrive by ferry in Rotterdam you’ll find a couple of interesting places on your route to the site.

You van visit Dordrecht. A nice old city on the river Maas. It has a beautiful historic centre, perfect for a stroll.

On your way you’ll pass close to ’s-Hertogenbosch, but if you feel more like visiting a castle there is one in Ammerzoden (exit 19 from the A2). Kasteel Ammersoyen.

Further along your way you’ll find the city of Eindhoven. No historic city centre here. It’s a real modern town, but it has a nice open air historic museum (stone age and medieval buildings) worth a visit.

If you arrive by plane at Rotterdam airport and continue by train, you’ll find Dordrecht on your route and another interesting city: Breda. Between the station and the city centre is a nice green park and the centre itself is really worthwhile. Nice old houses, nice shops and a beautiful church.

If you arrive by plane at Eindhoven airport, there is nothing really on your route I can recommend. If you have time to kill, consider a trip to ‘s-Hertogenbosch (20 minutes away by train). Avoid Eindhoven, trust me, SCAdians don’t like Eindhoven and the open air museum mentioned above is difficult to reach by public transport.

You can also visit Venlo, which has a nice renaissance Stadhuis (City Hall), but as I have not visited this city yet, I can’t really tell you much about it.