Beesel, Netherlands


Beesel is a place in the Limburg municipality of Beesel. The place had 2,485 inhabitants on January 1, 2020.



Beesel is first mentioned in 1275 and formed one alderman's bank together with Belfeld for centuries. It developed as a wreath field village. At the ends are the hamlets Bussereind, Ouddorp and Rijkel. The first church was built around 1400 in Ouddorp (more than two hundred meters northwest of the current church). For a long time Beesel and Belfeld belonged to the Overkwartier or Spanish Upper Gelre and were part of the Ambt Montfort. In 1713 Beesel joined the United Provinces together with several other municipalities as Staats-Opper-Gelre.



Castle Nieuwenbroeck

Nieuwenbroeck Castle in Beesel was built around 1560 by Johan van Holthuysen after his marriage to Helwig van Holtmeulen, daughter of the local lord. The oldest part consists of an L-shaped house with stepped gables.

The current appearance of the castle is partly due to renovations by the Bosman (ca. 1730) and De Collignon (ca. 1760) families. In 2005 the buildings were renovated again.

General description
The property is located southeast of the village, almost against the center of the village. On the north side is the Huilbeek, on the east side are fields, on the south side it is bordered by an asphalted road (Bakheide) and on the west side is the Ruys de Splintersingel.

The property consists of a 16th-century nobleman's house with a gatehouse on a moated site. The accompanying park, which is located both inside and outside the canal, was newly laid out in the 19th century in late landscape style.

In addition to the monumental parts, the complex contains the following non-protected parts:
Horse stable in the meadow next to the driveway
1950s extension of the gatehouse
Glass conservatory on the east facade of the house, with wooden bridge
Field chapel at the beginning of the driveway: the Kruiskapel
Some gazebos, a swimming pool and a walled rosarium.

The property contains the following monumental parts:

Main building
The main building consists of two wings of two storeys at right angles to each other under a roof construction. A third wing is an extension with stepped gables. The building is topped with gable roofs with gray slate roofs. The entire building is constructed of whitewashed brick with Empire-style windows. There is an oeil de boeuf in the western stepped gable.

The park consists of two avenues, a courtyard, an ornamental garden, a park triangle, meadows and a forest.

The two avenues concern the driveway and an avenue along the northern border of the complex. The driveway leads from the Ruys van Splinterlaan, along the south side of the moat, to the gatehouse via a stone bridge. The north avenue runs from the Ruys van Splinterlaan along the north side of the canal, via the ornamental garden, and changes into a forest path.

The courtyard is surrounded by the main building, the gatehouse and the depot.

The ornamental garden is located directly on the east side of the canal island. The garden is decorated in a modern way. There used to be an orchard and a vegetable garden here as well; however, both have disappeared.

Opposite the gatehouse with access bridge is a triangular park. Two of the three sides are bordered by wide ditches; the third side forms the boundary of the driveway. This park was built in the first half of the 19th century.

The park is surrounded by meadows on the west, south and east sides, which form a transition between the buildings with park layout and the forest. Four of the five sides of the eastern meadow are surrounded by a ditch, the fifth side is on the ornamental garden.

Several hiking trails run through the forest, which covers almost half of the property. Especially the southern part of this forest contains a lot of old wood. The forest extends from the southern part of the complex to the eastern part, ie in a northeasterly direction.

Gatehouse and outbuildings
The monumental outbuildings consist of the gatehouse, the coach house and the pigeon tower.

The elongated gatehouse is parallel to the southern canal. The 18th-century building is covered with a hipped roof with red tiles. The center of this building is built as a tower-shaped pavilion with an entrance gate. The bridge over the moat forms a whole with this gate. The hipped roof of the tower is covered with slates and two wind vanes from 1731. Above the gate is a triangular pediment with a sculpted alliance coat of arms of the Ruys and Van Aefferden families. The brick building, like the main building, is whitewashed. After the Second World War, the gatehouse was expanded with a wing.

Between the main building and the gatehouse with wing is the modest coach house from the 18th century. This depot is currently used as a residence.

Next to the depot is a low round pigeon tower, made of white-painted brick. The tower is covered by a six-sided helmet roof with slates. There are fly holes in the roof surfaces.

Access bridge
The access bridge from the 17th or 18th century runs over the south side of the canal, and connects the park triangle and driveway with the courtyard via the entrance gate, perpendicular to the driveway. The bridge is made of brick with hard stone cover plates on the parapet. the bridge has three arches with buttresses in between.


Owners and resident

The Ruijs family has owned the castle since 1788. A descendant of the first Ruijs to own the castle is Barbara Agnes Maria von Kempis (1947); in 1967 she married Peter Ghyczy de Gicz (1940), architect, residents of Nieuwenbroeck Castle.

Descent through the Ruijs family
Henricus Albertus Jacobus Ruys, lord of Nieuwenbroek (1788-) (1753-1824); married Josephina Joanna Baptista Antonetta van Aefferden (1759-1834) in 1785
Ernest Albert Emmanuel Ruys, lord of Nieuwenbroeck (1824-1862) (1786-1862), mayor of Beesel
Felix Henri Joseph Ruys (1792-1869); married in 1813 Mrs. Emerentia Aldegonda Christina Josepha Agnes van Splinter, lady of Ingenraedt (1793-1822), member of the Van Splinter family
Augusta Ruys van Nieuwenbroeck (inherits Nieuwenbroeck from her uncle in 1862) [birth and death unknown]
Constantin Willebrord Philip Hubert Johann Ruys (1816-)
Emerentia Ruys van Nieuwenbroeck (1844-1928); married in 1868 Johann Rudolph Adolf Anton Friedrich Freiherr Geyr von Schweppenburg (1832-1907)
Agnes Maria Aloysia Huberta Kornelia Freiin Geyr von Schweppenburg (1880-1972); married in 1908 Otto von Kempis (1872-1946)
Maximilian Rudolf Maria Otto Hubertus Josef von Kempis (1909-1968)
Barbara Agnes Maria von Kempis (1947); married in 1967 Peter Ghyczy de Gicz (1940), architect, residents of Nieuwenbroeck castle in Beesel [a relative of his was incorporated into the Dutch nobility in 1986 with the name Von Ghyczy]
Gabrielle Josephine Antonie Constante Hubertine Ruys van Nieuwenbroeck (inherits Nieuwenbroeck from her aunt) (1846-1938); married in 1889 her cousin Jhr. Felix Beatrix Constantin Hubert van Splinter (1847-1920), captain, mayor of Beesel, knight in the Military William Order, member of the Van Splinter family


Belt mill De Grauwe Beer

Hoeve Oud Waterloo (1715, expanded in 1780) at Waterloseweg 6
Castle Waterloo (1922-1923) on Waterloseweg, designed by Caspar Franssen on behalf of the marquise Van Villers Grignoncourt from Nispen to Sevenaer.
Saint Gertrude's Church
Dragon statue, on the roundabout on the Rijksweg, the Bussereindseweg and the connection with the A73, made by Rik van Rijswick. This 3-tonne statue, which can breathe fire, was loaned to the municipality in 2009, eventually purchased and inaugurated in 2016.
Grietjens Gericht, where the gallows used to be. Now there are three restored burial mounds and a reconstruction of the wheel.
The Historisch Groentenhof in Rijkel, where rare and special vegetables are grown.


Nature and landscape

Beesel is located near the lower terrace of the Maas, at a height of more than 20 meters. In the neighborhood of Rijkel there is a gravel pond in a Meuse bend. There is also the nature reserve Donderberg, a wooded river dune area. The Beesels Broek, southeast of Beesel, is an area with seepage. The Huilbeek, which has its source there, flows into the Maas to the north of Beesel.

In the south of Beesel, the Swalm forms the border with Swalmen.


Legend about dragon

In the late Middle Ages, the legend of Saint George, the dragon slayer, was very popular and is therefore included in a number of parishes as a symbolic figure in the procession. In Beesel there is a legend according to which a dragon once regularly ate the Beeseler sheep. Even the king's army could not defeat him, so soon there were no livestock left. Now, by drawing lots, people sacrificed humans to satisfy the dragon. However, when the lot fell on the king's daughter, St. George (Sint Joris) came and killed the dragon.

It is not known how old the legend is and when it found its way into church festivals as a ritualized dragon stab (nl. Draaksteken). The earliest evidence dates back to 1736. Since then, the festival has taken place regularly. The old Beeseler Sankt Georgslied, which is said to have originated around 1699, is sung during the performance.

Before the French occupation (1795-1813), the kite engraving took place annually and then only at intervals of a few years, mostly seven. In 1853, the well-known spectacle led to the inclusion of the dragon in the municipal coat of arms. In the period that followed, the festival was transformed and expanded into a more extensive folk drama. There are now five actors with text roles (including Saint George, the princess, the king), the slaying of the dragon on the Maas, a triumphal procession through the village and the slaying of the dragon on the market square.

For financial reasons, it was decided in 1967 to only perform the Drachenstich in one place (at Nieuwenbroeck Castle). The open-air festival has been an integral part of the three-day kite festival ever since.



The dialect group The Holy Goats, founded in 2000, has its origins in Beesel.

Beesel is also home to Harmonie St. Gertrudis Beesel.



Public transport
Public transport in the municipality of Beesel will be provided by Arriva Passenger Transport Netherlands from 11 December 2016 and consists of a bus line that goes to Reuver, Beesel, Tegelen, Swalmen, Venlo and Roermond. There is also a train connection of local trains (2x/hour) to Nijmegen, Roermond and Venlo with number RS11. Kessel can be reached via a ferry across the Maas.