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Amersfoort, Dordrecht, Den Bosch or Gouda?

Seasons greetings. After one week in Prague, we will have two full days and two nights in The Netherlands before flying back home through AMS. As AMS is usually our gateway to Europe, we are relatively experienced in that we have had multiple stays in Amsterdam, Haarlem, Delft, Utrecht as well as various day trips to Hoorn and Den Hague and others over the years.

This time, we want to try a city we have not yet visited, mostly to try something new. RS doesn’t really dive into these towns but we have researched things online (including this forum) a bit and have narrowed things down to the aforementioned cities. We will be there the first week of March and will be reliant on public transportation. We enjoy walking aimlessly while getting a feel for our temporary home, including visiting churches, museums, markets and beer (glorious beer). So, I am hoping regular posters and locals alike can provide some personal insight on our final four. Any and all suggestions are most welcome. While I am most interested in the cities listed above, I will not ignore other suggestions as well. Thanks.

Posted by
4578 posts

I went to Den Bosch one May. They have a nice free jazz fest outdoors there. Nice cathedral there. I went to a bar there that had all the best from Belgium and the Netherlands written on chalk board. It escaped me prior but it was there in the bar that I learned from a local that it is the birth place of Hieronymous Bosch.

https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Hieronymus_Bosch

I would go back to stay for a festival of some kind; that is all.

Posted by
330 posts

Amersfoort is where my sister in law teaches; been there but no reason to go back, not too exciting ( they live in Utrecht). Gouda has their big market day on Thursday, but the “cheese market aka, show” doesn’t start until April. There are a number of cheese shops in town. Stroopwaffels is what Gouda is known for, the Pastisserie Van Vliet on Lange Groenendaal has a secret recipe for these delectables. It’s a pretty Dutch town.

Den Bosch aka s-Hertogenbosch is know for the pastry Bosch Bollen, whipped cream covered in chocolate, and the best is at Jan de Groot steps away from central station. They have a beautiful cathedral St.Johns, Stedeljk Museum & Jazz cafes. Their main market is on Saturday, I think there is a smaller market on Wednesday. I will put your question to my family and will provide their answer. Never was in Dordrecht.

Posted by
2105 posts

It's all a question of personal taste and experience, but I think you won't go wrong with Dordrecht. Oldest city in these parts of the Netherlands. A good municipal museum and two historical houses which can be visited. Impressive church (open 12.00 to 16.00 Wed to Sun). Some almshouses (hofjes). River harbours. And in case March doesn't show its ugly face, a good base for visiting the windmills of Kinderdijk (bus or ferry).
You could easily combine it with Den Bosch. Only 1 hr away.

Posted by
3471 posts

I am fond of Amersfoort, but it has fewer formal tourist attractions than the other choices. It is a great example of a prosperous small city with people living and shopping amongst their remaining historic structures. I'm simply distinguishing that from the many town that have a tiny gem of a medieval core, which is a slightly sterile, outdoor museum. Comparable nice cities in Belgium could be Mechelen, Lier, and Turnhout.

Have you considered Rotterdam and Kinderdyke? March weather could be dreary.

Posted by
2105 posts

And it is the same with Gouda. Beautiful medieval town hall, impressive church with famous stained glass windows, a few canals. It won't keep you busy for long.
Den Bosch has more to offer, although the cathedral is mainly 19th century. A day trip to the fortified town of Heusden, just north, would also be nice, but for good reasons March has a bad weather reputation.

Posted by
330 posts

From Utrecht, J Van D- In order of recommendation: Den Bosch, Amersfoot, Gouda, Dordrecht ( not as nice as the first 3).

Posted by
114 posts

Thank you all for the replies. Was hoping a for a consensus but it appears that is not the case for this post thus far. Regardless of our choice, seems like any of the four will be fine as the posts so far suggest each city ranges from okay to wonderful. Thanks!