Hardly anyone will know this place and especially not people that are from far away and rush by on their way to spectacular cities and amazing activities. "Persingen" can be however a special trip from Nijmegen when visiting this oldest of Dutch towns (see my page of Nijmegen).
"Persingen" is a nice trip into the riverland polders of "Ooij". This very flat and green area is actually the valley bottom of the river Waal, but protected by dikes. In it several villages, such as "Ooij" (see my page about this village and it's former castle) and Persingen itself. From here the hills of "Beek" and " Ubbergen" look strange and impressive.
When here this is actually the only must see (as there is nothing else). Therefore I place this "must see activity" under off the beaten path. This place is - especially in the world of virtual tourist - absolutely "off the beaten path".
Already in early medieval times (13th century and earlier) there was a chaple here that was devoted to saint Dionysus. Later it became the chruch that is dominating the wide flat green fields that surround Persingen for miles and miles. It's Roman appearance is in shrill contrast to the late-gothic choir at the end of the building (14th century). In the 15th century the church was looking like how you see it now, as it got the last parts of the tower, a place where the clocks were hung and a peak roof, pointing to God in heaven.
Persingen is as told in a the "Ooij"-polder. this flat low land is very furtile as the river gave it a topsoil of clay by washing over it for many millenia before mankind appeared. The dikes were built and villages were settled, but ... every now and then, the river roose to high and the waters took back the land by wahsing over it in a destructive way. Man came back and so on and so on. In the 19th century the area was popular by some Dutch painters that were inspired by the hills of "Beek" and "Ubbergen" as seen from these low riverlands. In 20st century one though to be quite safe, dikes were strong and the last floading was centuries ago, but ... In 1995 the rivers roose higher then ever and reached the top of many dikes. It stayed long as well, making the dikes weaker and weaker. huge evacuations followed and as a result a new "delta" plan was formed by the governement. The "Ooij"polder became "emergency-outlet", which means as much as a huge area that can be deliberately floaded to get some stress off other dikes that are further downstream. You can imagine that the inhabitants of this area are not really happy with this plan. They are waiting ... waiting 'til the wild waters come ...
Fondest memory: It's always a beautiful sight when I pass and see Persingen shine like a little gemstone in a sea of green.