Scaffolding St. Jan, Den Bosch

Scaffolding St. Jan, Den Bosch, 20th October 2016
By Delia A.

Carina (the wonderful organizer of this day’s activities) Linda, Siew Kien, Silvana and I gathered at the Sint Jan’s in Den Bosch on Thurday 20th October to willingly climb a staircase within scaffolding attached to the side of the Cathedral.  There was also a lift which, when in motion, shook the whole structure and some of our member’s nerves!  Luckily it was to stay dry for the whole time we were up there.

At the top of the staircase the guide told us about Den Bosch, which attained city status in 1185, the Cathedral, the building of which started in 1220, and Jeroen Bosch and the similarities between his characters and the gargoyles we were to admire.  That gothic part of the church was being built at the same time as Jeroen Bosch’s lifetime and it is assumed that he and Aleart du Hamel, the architect at that moment, were friends.


We were left to ascend a few more steps and explore the grotesques for ourselves.  Many of them were sitting astride the flying buttresses as if on a fairground ride.

On descending we were able to see the windows and the facade in more detail and admire at eyelevel the infamous Angel with a Mobile Phone by Ton Mooy.  But that is a story unto itself…


At lunch, Rina and Mary joined the group to take part in the 2nd activity of the day – a guided boat tour of the city’s moat (binnendieze).
I have done this approximately 17 years ago and as I have little recollection of this event, I hadn’t really been expecting much.  However, this was a special tour in honour of the Jeroen Bosch year celebrations and there were quite some surprises!  (Luckily none of the plumbing sort as the moat was originally sewer)

Our guide navigated us under a dead end archway/tunnel with Bosch decorated flaps.  In the dark a screen rolled down and we watched a video clip about Den Bosch and the Man himself.



The boat then made its way slowly round the moat and under buildings large and small.  We slithered under the Noordbrabants museum and the Gemeente huis.  We saw parts of the original city wall, and the whole route was dotted with statues of JB’s characters, often with an arrow pierced through them, or otherwise very surreal.

Another highlight of this tour was the Hellegat tunnel.  Hellegat means Hell’s hole and the reason this tunnel is so called is that it is pitch black.  Once in this tunnel, the boat projected hell onto the ceiling and walls of the tunnel .   The boat turned a corner and we were then treated to an apparition of heaven with the light at the end of the tunnel.

The rain that we had for the boat trip did not dampen our tour and if it didn’t end soon , I would recommend it.  It was enjoyable, interesting and multi sensory.  Thank you again Carina for organizing and to the other ladies for the gezelligheid.  This was a great outing for the IWC!

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