Arcen, Netherlands


Arcen (in Arcens Árse) is the northernmost core of the municipality of Venlo in Dutch Limburg, about 12 kilometers north of the city of Venlo. Arcen is located on the easternmost bend of the Maas.



In the early Middle Ages Arcen belonged to the territory of Straelen and it was donated by Countess Irmentrudis to the Abbey of Siegburg in 1064. In 1330 Arcen seceded from Straelen and became a separate manor that was a fief from Gelre. Arcen then already claimed a staple right on the Maas. The glory was allotted to the Van Buren brothers. In the 14th century, Arcen already had a wall with three gates, although it did not have city rights. The wall was supposed to ward off punitive expeditions from competing cities, such as Venlo. In 1503 Arcen obtained the market right. In 1586 Arcen was burned down by the people of Venlo, despite the walls, including the St. Barbara Monastery outside the walls. In 1635 and 1646 Arcen was destroyed by war and in 1681 a city fire raged.

After 1648 Arcen belonged to Spanish Upper Gelre. During the War of the Spanish Succession it was occupied by Prussian troops, and as part of Prussian Upper Guelders it remained German for about a century (until 1814).

The current core was formed during the 19th century, and in the second half of the 20th century some residential areas were added on the north side.

Arcen traditionally belonged to the municipality of Arcen en Velden. In 2010 it was absorbed into the municipality of Venlo.



Castle Arcen with the castle gardens.
Petrus and Pauluskerk, from 1958.
Saint Anne Chapel, near Maasstraat 63, from 1791.
Ruin of the Schans Tower, at Schans 18.
Former town hall, Raadhuisplein 1, from 1950, by Alexander Kropholler.
Residence Raadhuisplein 8, originally from 1666.
House Schans 1, from 1737, with pivoted gable.
Wymarse Molen, watermill on Lingsforterbeek, at Schans 20a.
Kloosterhof farm, closed farm from 1883, at Rijksstraatweg 1.
Remains of the Fossa Eugeniana, a Rhine-Meuse canal built under Spanish rule in the seventeenth century. In the hamlet of Lingsfort, near Lingsforterweg 140, lie the enormous earthen walls of Fort Lingsfort, also known as Fort Hazepoot, which was to protect the canal and the lock complex.
Near the Castle Gardens, but to the east of the provincial road, there is an ice cellar and an enormous wall maze in the forest, the Grote Doolgaard.


Nature and landscape

Arcen is located on the Maas, at an altitude of approximately 16 meters. To the east of Arcen lies an extensive forest belt on a river dune. Here, from north to south, are a series of estates, such as Klein Vink, the Boerenheide and the Roode Vennen. Further south is the Arcen Estate (413 ha) and the Leermarkse Heide (31 ha), near Lingsfort. The Lingsforterbeek also runs here.

Further to the east lies a heavily excavated area - due to sand and gravel extraction - and even further to the east there are new estates, albeit partly dug into puddles. This concerns Walbeckerheide and Dorperheide (together 170 ha), Uvelderheide (10 ha) and Uvelderbos (9 ha).


Coat of arms of Arcen

The aldermen of Arcen act as witnesses for the first time in a deed dated February 22, 1420. The oldest deed with seal of theirs is from October 28, 1420. The aldermen's bench formed a whole with Lomm and Schandelo. The coat of arms shows a covered gatehouse with side towers, all with parapets. In addition, a smaller tower is indicated on either side. Under the gatehouse is the coat of arms of the Lord of Arcen from the Van Büren family. In later times (early 1700) the coat of arms under the gate tower became that of the Van Gelder family. In the coat of arms, therefore, the urban pretension of Arcen is expressed through the walls with towers and gate tower.



Tourism is important to Arcen. The Castle Gardens play a role in this, as does the bungalow park on the Klein Vink estate, which belonged to the Congregation of Missionaries of Mariannhill from 1911-2006. There is also a camping site and a thermal bath on this estate.

Between the river dunes along the Meuse and the high terrace in Germany, sand and gravel were extracted on a large scale, creating an extensive lake area. The lakes have been converted into recreational lakes and/or nature reserves.

Arcen has a beer brewery where Hertog Jan is brewed. Grain distillery "De IJsvogel" uses the remaining malt to distill jenevers and liqueurs. The distillery is located in the Wymarse Molen.


Born here

Theo Appeldoorn (4 September 1943), footballer
Jan van 't Hek (21 February 1945), football player
Stan Valckx (October 20, 1963), football manager and former professional football player
Wouter van Luijn (June 9, 1984), film editor (deceased: July 13, 2018, Mallorca)



A high-rise apartment has been built on the site of the former Maashotel.
On the south side of the village on the Maas side is the ruin of a (river toll) tower with part of the city wall.
The archives of the bench of aldermen are located in the National Archives of Maastricht. The Baptism, Marriage and Death Registers (from 1612) were moved to the municipal archives of Venlo during the reorganization of 2011.
In 1993 and 1995 Arcen was hit by floods from the Meuse. During the flood disaster in Limburg in 2021, the population of Arcen was evacuated. The village escaped major problems. The community is committed to building a flood defense system that will protect the village with its cultural treasures from flooding in the future.