Not A Town Name, More a Grammar Lesson

I used to visit the Netherlands a lot, and one of my favourite towns is ‘sHertogdenbosch, which is one of the strangest names.

‘s is the possessive case, ie showing ownership

Hertog is the equivalent of German Herzog, which is I think an artistocrat, perhaps akin to the old English ‘grave’ which appears in some surnames such as ‘Waldegrave’ ie noble of the forest

den bosch is the Dutch equivalent of ‘the forest’, or in their geography, more like scrubby woodland which, given that the Dutch were the first Europeans to discover and partly name australia, is probably where the much used but often confusing term ‘the bush’ comes from, as the dry landscape of that island is similar to the sandy areas of the Netherlands.

They have great cream cakes there, and the cathedral is worth a visit.

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