Tuesday, February 15, 2011

A day in Den Bosch

Noordbrabants Museum
On Saturday we traveled to Den Bosch ('s-Hertogenbosch) with the Jansens for a nice little day trip. Den Bosch is a city in Brabant and very close to Oirschot (Jaap's hometown). Less than thirty minutes in the car and we were exploring a new city. Very exciting!
First we stopped for some drinks at a cafe. I'm really getting used to the perks of European lifestyle. The Dutch are serious about their coffee. Nothing happens for more than two hours without a koffie pauza. :) Even work. Everybody at my job  has a fifteen minute koffie pauza scheduled into their day. I'm not kidding. And why not?

So... "When in Rome, do as the Romans do." And "when in Den Bosch, eat a Bossche Bol." I love this quote because it gives me an excuse to try all the yumminess Europe has to offer. It's a creme-filled-donut-like pastry dipped in chocolate. It's very similar to a Boston creme donut. Apparently it's a Den Bosch speciality. Lekker! As a side note, when in Maastricht, eat some vlaai! Oh, and don't forget mustard soup in Groningen.
Afterwards we crossed to the street to visit Sint-Jan. Of course I was struck again by the beauty of another cathedral. The Basilica of Sint-Jan is massive and stunning. Early construction of the church dates back to the 13th century. The size is massive and it made me think, "What inspired people to build a structure that is so gigantic?" Stepping inside makes you think about how important faith and religion were to people in the Middle Ages. It's beautiful.
Our next stop was the Noordbrabants Museum, which is currently showing an exhibition on Flemish expressionist art from 1885-1960. (The collection is actually from the Groeningemuseum Museum in Bruges. Another one of our museum stops this year). Upstairs there was collection of Bruegels and some early van Goghs. The van Gogh's were a collection of some of his earlier pieces. Mostly dark, serious, and lots of earthy colors. That's my official art critique. I need to take an art history course. However, I learned something new too! Did you know that van Gogh is from Brabant? Just some fun Brabant trivia for you. :)

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