On our bike trip we were approaching the little village of Lierop and we couldn’t miss the building of the local church with an impressive dome towering above the houses and shops. Coming closer it turned out to be the Church of the Holy Name Jesus (Heilige Naam Jezus Kerk).
This neo-romanesque Catholic Church was designed by architect Carl Weber, who designed more than 20 churches in the Netherlands. This one was his smallest and last, which was built between 1890 and 1892. The church shows lots of Neo-gothic elements and is dominated by an impressive dome with a height of more than 50 metres.
As we entered the church we really were completely surprised by the beauty of its interior; it has such a warm red colour - we were told every brick has been painted - a fantastic painted Stations of the Cross, a wonderful choir with stained glass windows and still its original pews. The whole church is decorated with images of saints.
Sitting on one of the pews and looking around and into the impressive dome it is almost unbelievable people could built such an impressive and massive building more then hundred years ago.
The church is open for visitors from early May till mid September on Wednesday and Saturday from 1.30 - 5.00 pm. During the opening hours volunteers are present for explanation.
Just across the road from the ‘Groot Kasteel’ stands the ‘Klein Kasteel’. Originally this castle was the home of the ‘Heeren van Deurne’ a kind of Lords and can be considered to be the predecessor of Deurne Castle.
The towerhouse dates back to the 14th century, to the left are some farm buildings from the 17th century and the white residence is from 1857.
The ‘Klein Kasteel’ is still in good shape and has been inhabited for a long time, but lately it is only used for functions. The castle can not be visited and we (and you) can only take a look (and pictures) from the road.
For more information (in Dutch): http://nl.wikipedia.org/wiki/Klein_Kasteel
Perhaps the most important sights for visitors/tourists of Deurne are located in a part of Deurne called ‘Haageind’. In a pleasant green landscape and surrounded by an impressive park are the two castles of Deurne located: the ‘Groot Kasteel’ (Big Castle) and the ‘Klein Kasteel’ (Little Castle).
Both have been built in the 14th century and were inhabited till the 20th century. The ‘Groot Kasteel’ was destroyed at the end of World War II and is still a ruin, although more or less consolidated. It is still an impressive sight and just a pity ‘somebody’ built an awful wooden shed on the court, which is visible from the road. Just behind this castle is the so called ‘Dinghuis’, a former court of law.
The castle (and garden) can be visited and is free of admission.
(For information (Dutch) and some (old) paintings/pictures from the castle see: http://www.kasteleninnederland.com/kasteeldetails.php?id=859 or http://nl.wikipedia.org/wiki/Groot_Kasteel )
Just north of the so called ‘Klein Kasteel’ (Little Castle), on the small stream of ‘De Vlier’ lies the watermill. The original watermill dates back to 1387 as the castle. The present building was constructed in 1631. In the year of 1816 the watermill wasn’t used any longer. After some restorations the ‘mill’ is now used as a private house.
The mill has no specific name and is known in Deurne just as ‘watermolen’ (watermill). The mill can not be visited and only be seen from the road.
Griendtsveen (together with neighbouring) Helenaveen is one of the two peat villages in ‘De Peel’. The village was founded in 1885 by a company (Family Van de Griendt) which owned large parts of this peat bog in the southern part of the Netherlands. They built a peat factory (nowadays a Bed & Breakfast), a church, workmen-houses, canteen, shops and a café. The family itself had an impressive mansion, with a moat and a beautiful garden.
When we visited Griendtsveen it looked like time has stand still is this part of the country and the whole scenery was so quiet and peaceful. We had a cappuccino on the terrace of Café ‘De Morgenstond’, with a view of the canal and one of the old drawbridges and the neo-gothic church from 1895. Afterwards we strolled along the narrow roads and the canals and it felt if we were walking in a kind of movie. We saw the so called ‘apostelwoningen’ (apostle houses), which were used by the ‘white-collar workers’ of the peat company and did take a look at the former peat factory. (Ask in the Café for a leaflet about a village walk).
Griendtsveen is still surrounded by large remaining peat moor (Deurnese and Mariapeel). It is possible to make (signposted) walks in this typical landscape. Helenaveen, the other fen community can be reached along the almost straight ‘Helenavaart’; it has also a lot of remaining ‘monuments’.
Back home we realised shooting not enough pictures of this unique peat village. So we went back in October to shoot some fall pictures. You also can take a look at http://www.schumulder.nl/elly/griendtsveen.htm with some very nice photos of Griendtsveen.
If you have seen enough of peat and bog in the ‘Peel’ or the rural towns and villages nearby Deurne, it is time to make a (day) trip to Helmond; a lot bigger city about 10 km’s west of Deurne.
Helmond is a rather old city, which was mentioned for the first time officially in 1179 and became city rights in the year of 1232. Jan van Berlaer, of noble birth, has built a castle in Helmond in 1350.
Much later Helmond became an important industrial city, especially after the digging of a canal and the construction of the railway.
Nowadays it is a city of more than 85.000 inhabitants with a rather interesting shopping centre and lots of cafés and restaurants (as usually in the southern part of the Netherlands). But the most important touristy sight is´Kasteel Helmond'. It is located nearby the city centre, just across the motorway, which divides the city.
This castle was originally surrounded by two moats; one of them still surrounds the impressive brick walls. It is a square building with round towers on each corner. The castle and its moat are surrounded by a park.
Nowadays the castle accommodates the Museum of Helmond, which can be visited (http://www.gemeentemuseumhelmond.nl).
This National Park is one of the few remaining areas of a 30.000 ha big peat moor in the eastern part of Noord- Brabant and the western part of Limburg. It now has a size of about 1500 ha, which has remained more or less untouched by peat cutting.
Groote Peel offers a very typical landscape of peat swamps, heath land, forests, lakes and sand ridges. Most of the swamps and lakes were created peat cutting. The wetlands of the Groote Peel are an important area for birdlife.
Groote Peel is only accessible on foot; the best way for visitors is to start at the visitor centre ‘Mijl op Zeven’. There are three signposted walks (2, 3 and 6 km’s) and to cross the swamps and lakes sometimes you will have to use boardwalks. It is also possible to explore the park through some of the sandy roads as we did with a brochure/map, which we bought in the centre. We saw also a sheep flock, some cows and horses and really loved our 2 ½ hours walk through the national park.
The signposted walks are open daily; due to the breeding season and bird migration other parts of the park are closed for visitors from March 15 – July 15 and October 15 – November 30.
The visitor centre has an information desk, some displays about the area and its history, a shop and a café.
Opening hours: Tuesday – Sunday: 10.00 – 17.00 hours (in July and August daily). Shop and café are open from 11.00 – 18.00 hours (November till February only during the weekends).
The Brouwhuissche Heide is a heather and wood area west of Deurne. If you go there, don't forget your binoculars. Many birds are to be seen over there. But watch out, the railroad goes right trough it!