Mill ‘De Grauwe Beer’ was built in 1614 in Zaandam as a saw mill. It was transported by boat to Beesel in 1891 where it became a corn mill and was used by farmers till 1944. During World War II the mill suffered heavy damage and was not repaired until 1952.
In 1982 -1982 the mill was restored and moved to its present location in. Today ‘De Grauwe Beer’ is owned by the municipality of Beesel and maintained by a local mill foundation. The mill – still a working corn mill - is open to the public every Saturday..
‘De Grauwe Beer’ (The Grey Bear) is another ‘must see’ in Beesel. Of course the Netherlands has (still) a lot of windmills, but this one stands on quite a unique location: in the riverbed in a curve of the River Maas.
Coming from the centre of Beesel (foot, bike or car) we saw the mill and made a stop climbing the dike and just enjoyed this typical Dutch view with green meadows, a river and a windmill.
We were visiting on a Monday and we couldn’t visit the inside of this so called ‘belt mill’ (only open on Saturdays). A ‘belt’ is a man made hill of a couple of meters high, so the mill will catch more wind. The mill is surrounded by a fence, but there is still quite a nice view. There is plenty of (parking) space and a couple of pick-nick benches.
If you want to see ‘De Grauwe Beer’ on this unique location, you have ‘to hurry’ more or less, because the mill will be moved again, because flooding of the river caused damage to the interior a couple of times.
Castle Nieuwenbroeck was built around 1560 by Johan van Holthuysen after his marriage to Helwig Holtmeulen, heiress of the local lord. The oldest part of the complex - surrounded by a moat - comprises an L-shaped house with stepped gables and renaissance window frames. The detached leaf shaped entrance pavilion has a tower in the middle; above the gate is a pediment with a carved coat of arms.
The castle owes its present appearance partly to alterations in the 18th century; rather recently in 2005 the buildings were restored again. The castle is still inhabited by a private family.
When staying/visiting Beesel you may not miss Castle Nieuwenbroeck: the main sight in the village. Located very close to the center of the town (and our hotel) we could walk to the castle. At the beginning of the drive way to the castle stands a small white chapel. This chapel belongs also to the castle and was built by one of the owners, most probably because his only daughter became a nun.
From this point we could already se the castle itself and the entrance buildings, all surrounded by a moat. Castle and buildings are white painted and stand out in the green scenery. The castle itself - still inhabited - can not be visited, but there is a sign telling visitors are allowed to take a look at the inner court, if they do respect the privacy of the inhabitants.
We crossed the permanent stone bridge and walked through the entrance gate with its beautiful coat of arms. On the inner court we had a nice view of the main building with its stepped gables and the surrounding lower buildings. It looked if they were transformed in a couple of (holiday)homes.
We returned to the main road and walked around the castle along some woody paths; on some points we could catch a glimpse of the gardens and the front of the castle. This (additional) walk took about 30 minutes and is worth to do.
The following websites - just in Dutch - do have a lot of additional information.
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