Almelo, Netherlands


Almelo is a city and municipality in the Twente region in the Dutch province of Overijssel. The municipality of Almelo covers an area of 69 km² and has a population of 73,175.

The municipality of Almelo was created from a merger (1914) between the municipalities of Ambt Almelo and Stad Almelo. In addition to the city of Almelo, the municipality includes the centers of Aadorp, Bornerbroek and Mariaparochie (partially). The municipality of Almelo is part of the Twente Region. Some of the Almeloers speak Twents, a Low Saxon dialect.


History and architecture

Almelo was created in the Middle Ages. The name goes back to the Germanic words alma "olm" and lauha "lo". A lo is a forest that is located on sandy soil and is often close to a settlement.

At the above-mentioned intersection of the Almelo Aa and that country road, the Huis Almelo was first mentioned in 1236 and still exists today. Old documents show that the settlement already had city rights in at least 1420. The city had a moat, but no wall, so it was never of military importance. Huis Almelo has probably been around since the 12th century and is still in the hands of the Van Rechteren Limpurg family to this day. The family had different rights in the city of Almelo for centuries, including that to administer justice. Today, the count is engaged in the restoration of old buildings in the city center and the maintenance of forests owned by the family.

After the then lord of Almelo, Zeger van Rechteren (1623-1674), who was living in the Huis Almelo, forbade the practice of the Catholic religion, the nuns of the Almelo Monastery of St. Catherine left in 1665 and settled 300 meters across the border with Germany. just southwest of Glane in the Netherlands in a monastery they gave the name Maria Vlucht. After the abolition of the monastery, the church treasures, partly from Almelo, were spread over the region.

In the 17th and 18th centuries, home weaving began to emerge. The entrance in Almelo of the first steam engine in 1830 caused a transition to factory production. The textile industry was also promoted by the construction of the Overijssels Kanaal (in 1855) and the railway line from Almelo to Salzbergen, in 1865. Around 1900 there were therefore many very wealthy families in Almelo and many country houses and villas in various styles such as Art Nouveau, Expressionism and Renaissance Revival.

Between 1818 and 1914, the municipality of Almelo was split into the municipalities Stad Almelo and Ambt Almelo.

During the Second World War, Almelo was one of the places where the raid in Twente took place in September 1941, in which 10 Jewish men were arrested in Almelo and died in Mauthausen concentration camp. Then the resistance started to allow Jews to go into hiding. Frits Tusveld and his wife Henny Averink, as well as Alie Tharner and others managed to save 60 Jewish fellow citizens. The Jewish cemetery of Almelo contains a monument commemorating the 242 Jews who died as well as the people who went into hiding.

On November 15, 1944, eight members of the resistance committed a raid on De Nederlandsche Bank on Wierdensestraat. The loot amounted to 46.1 million guilders, the highest loot ever during a robbery in the Netherlands. This bank robbery was reenacted in the city musicals Van Katoen & Nu and Het resistance cracks. The street names in the Dichtersveld district in Almelo are named after several resistance fighters.

From the 1960s, the Almelo textile industry had a hard time because of cheaper foreign competition, which led to massive company closures. Today the effects of this are still visible in the unemployment figures. Many textile factories have been demolished, but some buildings have been preserved.

According to many, Bellinckhof on Wierdensestraat is the most beautiful of the villas that textile barons had built. Built by the Ten Cate family in the twenties of the twentieth century, it is also one of the largest textile houses in Twente. The house and park are not open to the public. The design is by architect Karel Muller. The dining room is paneled with mahogany, the hall has a black-veined white marble floor and the room has green paneling with pink silk and decorated with family portraits of the Ten Cates. The current family spawn is, just like the count, active in city conservation and, in addition to its own park, helps maintain the Egbert ten Cateplantsoen and the Beeklustpark in Almelo.