To the southeast of ’s-Hertogenbosch lies the municipality of Sint-Michielsgestel. A unique combination of five villages and two hamlets that together form the so-called Green Open. These small, characteristic Brabant communities are the perfect place for anyone out to enjoy historic mansions, nearly unspoilt nature and the well-known Brabant hospitality.Since time immemorial city dwellers have enjoyed the natural beauty and peace of this area. De Dieze, which is now the most beautiful city river in the Netherlands (at least when viewed from a distance), was a large, open sewer in the Middle Ages. Wealthy merchants and nobles in the 17th century moved away to the environs of De Heerlickheit in Sint Michielsgestel. There they lived on estates such as Sterrenbos and Gruiterbos, on large farms, or in castles such as Nieuw-Herlaar and Seldensate. Sint Michielsgestel flourished which was a blessing for this region. Nearby in Den Dungen crops were grown for more than 30,000 city dwellers. The many rivers and creeks in the area offered plenty of chances for industry and agriculture, but also caused danger in this boggy landscape. From as early as the year 800 farmers built dykes and dams to protect their harvest from the floods that could cause much misery. The dykes surrounding Den Dungen, Sint Michielsgestel and Berlicum were formed in this way. Today these are beautiful places to explore while walking or cycling.