The Saint Elisabeth Monastry
Between the nature park and the village of Heythuyzen is a large building in a beautiful parklike setting. This is the Saint Elisabeth monastry and it has been here already for at least 300 years. In the late 18th century it was eventually as large as it is now, but there are several things that show that a religious "outpost" was here long before this time. A graceful, yet ruinous tower is dated to the 15th century, now a remarkable image in the colourful green gardens. Way down in the back of the garden is a little "plague" house, where the people that were struck with this terrible medieval disease counted down their last days, hoping for a miraculous healing.
Everything you need to know about the "Leu"-valley
At the "official" entrance of the "Leu"-valley natural reserve there is also a small museum that tells everything about the history of this vicinity. The geological as well as cultural-historical past is pictured out very clear to the visitors. Quite intresting to those who want to know everything about this beautiful piece of the midLimburgian landscape.
An ancient monument in the centre of the reserve
In the middle of the natural park "Leudal" one will find the wonderful watermill along the river "Leu". This watermill is dedicated to Saint Ursula as one can see to the old wooden statue above the door. Already in 1773 this mill was grinding grane (for bread) and seeds (for oil) for the local population of surrounding villages. Now it attracts hikers that enjoy the nature and love to make a pause at the old monument.
Forests and fields of the "Leudal"
The national park counts 900 square kilometres and is a mix between forest, grass and some heather fields. Two small rivers join together in the park, the "Leu" and the "Zelster". It's hard to believe that the sandy environment is actually river dunes that were deposited here by the (20 km. away east) river "Maas". This river made huge windings in prehistoric times. In the stone age (10.000 years ago) men came here and settled, accordings to archeological findings of tools and materials, as well as several grave hills in the area (dating 2000-1500 BC).
National nature reserve the "Leu" valley
Just a few kiloemtres East of heythuyzen is the beautiful natural area in the valley of the small river "Leu". It's running waters have brought furtile grounds on which a forest has grown centuries ago. This last remaining peaces have become a nature reserve of national importance and is a deliscious place to make walks through half open foresty.
Every village it's wind mill
Heythuyzen in the heart of Limburg is still a Dutch place and there for needs a wind mill. On the outskirts of the village one finds a wonderful example of a "belt" mill. "Belt" windmills are standing on top of a small artificial hill, so their sails reach higher and catch more wind. In these relatively high environments in the Low lands, windmills are for the purpose of graning, rather then for the pumping of water. Thus also the mill of "Heytse".
Heythuyzen village park
The other central square in the village og Heythuyzen is next to the townhall (well, actually manucipality hall). Bordering this square, that is mainly a parking, is a small green zone, the village park. In this park ar some benches and flowerbeds, so visitors can enjoy the green in a peaceful way.
The mission chapel right next to the church
Next to the Saint Nicolas church one finds a so-called "mission chapel". It was built in 1847 and is called "mission" chapel as for the ten days of "mission" that always followed after opening such religious little tempel. Ten days of "thunder"-preaches and warnings for what will happen when you would do wrong. With these religious indoctrinations one used frequently the cross, as well as statues of our dear lady Mary and Johan(nes). These items were later left in the chapel. In "Heytse" the capel later also had a function od class room.
The Saint Nicolaas church of Heythuyzen
Though Heythuyzen is surrounded with many small chapels in the fields and ackres, the main church imarks the historic centre of town. Devoted to Saint Nicolas, the church is a pseudo-basilica in Gothical style. The slightly higher roof with the small tower is the oldest part and dates back to the early 16th century. Inside one can enjoy the richness of the average Catholic church in glass-in-lead windows, statues, paintings and a warm wooden interior of choires, benches and "biechtstoelen" (side boxes where one spook one to one with the pastor about sins and sorrows).