Wassenberg
 
 
 
 
Some scenes of Wassenberg
       
   
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A summary of the history of Wassenberg and as it is today

Wassenberg can look back historically to a varied and changing past.
The first traces lead to the palcolithic period. Discoveries such as hand-ceramic pot-shreds from the neolithic period, urn graves as well as extensive cemeteries lead us to believe, that the Wassenberg area was already densely populated in former times. Roman relics and evidence of Roman settlements have been established such as the Roman roads via Orsbeck-Wassenberg-Birgelen-Rothenbach into the Maas valley as well as from Erkelenz via Myhl to Wassenberg.
The first official mention of Wassenberg was in 1021.Around 1085 when Count Gerhard of Flanders made the castle of Wassenberg into his dynastic residence. Thus the pre-conditions for the origins of the town were set out and it was granted town status in 1273.
In addition to the huge defence tower, which has been converted into a viewing point, many other parts of the remaining defence constructions have been restored: the town wall, defence towers within the walls, delinquents tower (dungeon) and the Rostor.
The major part of these constructions dates from 1420, whereas the lower part of the Rostor and the dungeon are from around 1365.
Other buildings of cultural and historical importance such as Elsum and Effeld Castles, as well as several churches, are witnesses of an important past.
The commercial structure too developed diversely. Even in the Middle Ages Wassenberg became a market town with market status.
The principle source of income of the inhabitants were commerce, trade, handicrafts and agriculture. In the 16th century the cultivation of flax was a wide-spread source of income.
A colouring matter was grown on the plains of Bruhl, from which was produced the dye-material for the colouring of linen. This continued to be used untl the introduction of anilin colouring. A further source of income was the manufacture of roofing tiles. This stimulated the economic life of Wassenberg for many centuries, right up to the middle of the 19th century. Tile production took place in the so-called ''Panneschopp'' clay furnaces. These were located in the area around today's ''Tante Lucie's Restaurant'', but came to a standstill with the importation of the French lapped tiles.
From the turn of the century the economic structure has been characterised by small and medium sized weaving factories as well as cottage industries. This structure changed with the introduction of a host of different types of industry and the industrial estates in Forst was created.
In 1978 a local mining shaft was sunk by the Sophia Jacoba Company in the Birgelen woods, from where the miners reach the rich coal fields under Wassenberg.
Apart from commerce, trade and agriculture the economic life of Wassenberg is complemented by the cultivation of asparagus and peaches. During the past few years house-building has been intensified and promoted.Three new attractive residential areas have been developed. Further plots are being sold at moderate prices.
Due to its beauty and the diversity of its countryside, Wassenberg has always attracted many visitors. This is all the more so as Wassenberg is part of the nature park of Schwalm-Nette. A total of about 1100 hectares of woods and heathland are connected by well signed paths, ideal for walkers. Further attractions are the ''Myhler Schweiz'', the Rur withs its willow trees and ponds, ''Judenbruch'' and the well kept parks and gardens in the town itself. An aware visitor to Wassenberg can enjoy the rich beauty of a varied countryside.
Sports grounds, tennis courts and an open air swimming pool cater for the more active visitor and the ''Effelder Waldsee'' (See the Effeld Site Page) and the lakes around Ophoven offer a variety of water sports and fishing opportunities.

Wassenberg Castle

Around 1085 Court Gerhard of Flanders made teh castle at Wassenberg, which originated from an early-medieval defence construction - - a so called ''Motte'' - his dynastic residence. Most of the oldest parts of the present castle date from 1420.
The castle is located within the town walls in the NE corner on a steep slope. The building has an almost square ground plan, on the highest point of which rises the defence tower, built in the first half of the 15th century. This is a four-storied brickwork tower, which now offers a wonderful panoramic view. Opposite the church on the eastern slope (as seen fr om''Kirch-strasse'') is the gate tower with its arched entrance and gothic arches on the inner side. The upper story and the roof construction date from the 18th century.
Wassenberg castle is now a hotel and restaurant.