Floating Parade Brings the Works of Hieronymus Bosch to Life


Even though Hieronymus Bosch died in 1516, the northern European painter’s surreal works continue to inspire contemporary artists.  Painters, photographers, choreographers, and even the shoe brand Dr. Martens have all created works and products that pay homage to Bosch’s macabre imagery. However, the most fantastical, over-the-top celebration of all things Bosch might be the Bosch Parade, an annual river parade in the Netherlands that reenacts the artist’s landscapes.

First launched in 2010, the Bosch Parade is typically held each June in Bosch’s hometown, 's-Hertogenbosch (colloquially referred to as Den Bosch). The event’s organizers recruit professional artists, designers, composers, and choreographers to build elaborate, Bosch-themed floats, which they float down the Dommel River with the help of volunteers. In 2015, 18 watercrafts participated in the event, and thousands of onlookers watched the town’s self-professed “cruise of the absurd” from the river’s banks.

Since 2016 marks the 500th anniversary of Bosch’s death, countless exhibitions and activities will be held in and around Den Bosch this summer to honor the famous Dutch painter. Visitors can view the largest-ever retrospective of Bosch’s works at the town’s Het Noordbrabants Museums, take art tours of the town, and enjoy Bosch-themed dance shows, plays, and other events. Considering the scale and magnitude of the scheduled festivities, we can assume that Den Bosch also has big plans for this year's Bosch Parade.

Can't take a trip to the Nertherlands? Watch last year's Bosch Parade in the video above.