A visit to Den Bosch (Or: Poetry amidst half statues)

For my birthday last week Marco and I visited Den Bosch. The official name of the city is ‘s-Hertogenbosch (Duke’s forest) but it is almost always shortened to Den Bosch (The forest). The first day we walked around the city using a walking guide from the local VVV office (tourism office).

St John's church in Den Bosch

One of the main attractions of the city is St. John’s church, which shows off the height of Gothic architecture in the Netherlands

Also some curious art can be seen:

The half pear statue in Den Bosch

De Halve Peer (The Half Pear)

The half-a-statue above came from a dispute – two parties were tasked with creating this memorial / remembrance piece, but only one invested the money. And here is the result – half a statue!

I also took a picture of this lovely farmers plaque on the side of a brick house:

Plaque to a farmer, Den Bosch

Close to the half-a-statue there is also a statue to Zoete Lieve Gerritje or Sweet lovely Gerritje (a female name):

Zoete lieve Gerritje statue in Den Bosch

Zoete lieve Gerritje is a well known (and old) song from Den Bosch, though the origins are disputed. The current version is more of a kid’s song.

In the same area you can see a (very, very faded) poem painted on the side of a building. It was originally painted in 2003 and was written by Toon Tellegen. This is pretty common in the Netherlands – a lot of cities like to paint poems on building facades it seems. This one is called Een man dacht or “A man thought”.

'Een man dacht' poem in Den Bosch

The text is still readable in person, but it is difficult. It reads:

Een man dacht
Een man dacht
wanneer zal ik eens
één minuut niet aan haar denken?


Hij ging zitten
en dacht één minuut
niet aan haar
Toen stond hij op
en wandelde verder
dachter verder
steeds verder
zonder tussenpozen
aan haar

The text in English is:

A man thought
A man thought
when will I ever
not think about her for just one minute?

He sat down
and thought for a minute
not on her
Then he stood up
and walked further
thinking further
and further
without stopping
on her


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