This statue is in honor of the Bokkenrijders. The legend tells us it were illusive creatures in real it just was a gang of bandits.
In the 18th century hundreds of people were executed for being a bokkerijder. Their confessions were gained by torture. This great unjustice just made the gang more populair.
In the south of Limburg the stories are still very much alive.
The last day of April a tree is placed in the centre of town. The tree is called a 'may-tree'. It is a big happening and really fun to see how they put it upright.
The tradition of planting the maytree is known from the 13th century. It was a fertillity cermony. Later it bacame a symbol to protect the people, cattle and houses in the village.
The tree is put here by the unmarried men of Valkenburg.
It seems every time we visit Valkenburg somebody has died. Most times we see a funeral procession go by on their way to the cemetary. It is a custom the family and friends walk behind the car with the coffin.
What to do?
Just behave appropiate and show some respect, don´t cross the procession and be quiet for a while.
Every year for 1 months time in november and december, there are a few Christmas markets in valkenburg. Of course there are X-mas markets in almost every city, but these are special. They are being helt inside the caves. There is one in the municipal cave and one in the velvet cave. Entrance is 3 euros, and there are over 50 stalls with X-mas decorations, food, toys etc etc.
hen and stag parties
Other parties are celebrating hen night or stag night. Most brides and groomes to be are dressed up and have to do silly things. While the friends are taking pictures.
At this picture a bride to be dressed as one of the duck family and a groome to be with a silly hat and board meet.
When you walk through Valkenburg it is almost certain you will encounter a group of people partying. They celebrate different things but all have a great time.
This group is celebrating the 50th birthday of the man sitting in the chair.
De Blokbrekers (the Blockbusters)
How to get a nice piece of "Mergel" (Chalk-sand-stone) out of the ground ...
Well, in the Velvet Cave they explain how especially the first block was rather hard to get. The guys who did this patient job first (called "Blokbrekers", which means as much as "Blockbusters")carved out the upper and lower layers until around half a meter deep. Then they hung leadlines to carve out the sides. The first block couldn't be reached in the back, so the men were sticking long metal bars in the lower and upper slides and trembled, pushed, rubbed and pressured until the blok broke free.
Then the Blockbusters were able to make around five blocks per week. Every block brought them around 5 cents (1/100 part of a Dutch Guilder). Now-a-days there is only one place left where they make blocks of "Mergel". They produce (with machines) around 14 blocks per day and is merely for restaurating buildings made from this special material.
Sign the Lourdes register
Whenb you visit the Lourdes caves, you may want to sign the register. It already contains dozens of prayers and other short statements.
- Religious Travel