Eersel

 

 

Eersel (Brabant: Irsel) is the capital of the eponymous municipality of Eersel, province of North Brabant and is located in the Kempen region. Eersel is one of the Eight Beatitudes and is particularly known for its atmospheric Market. Together with part of the Hint, it was declared a protected village view on 19 October 1967, to ensure that the authentic character is preserved.

 

Etymology

Ereslo is the oldest form. The ch – ending at Eresloch is due to the fact that the charter was copied at Echternach. For Ereslo or Eresloch no name explanation is given with regard to Eres-, while the “lo exit” means a height of three sides surrounded by lower sandy soils (the meadows). Later this name was corrupted via Eres'l to Eersel, many places and villages ending in 'el' are derived from 'lo'. Another meaning of a 'lo' or a 'loo' is 'clearing in a forest' or 'bush on high sandy ground' derived from the Germanic language. These forests were later reclaimed into arable land and the low lands closest to home used as pasture land. Examples of this are; behind the old town hall (on the Markt), the library and the Hint, where it is clearly lower than on the Markt. But the surrounding hamlets of Stokkelen, Schadewijk and De Hees also had high and low land close to their core.

 

History

Prehistory
About 3,500 years ago (Bronze Age) the area of ​​present-day Eersel was first inhabited and mined by the "burial mound builders". This was continued through the subsequent Urnfield Age into the Iron Age. For example, an urn with cremation remains was found at Schadewijk. The region was inhabited by the Eburones before the arrival of Caesar, but this tribe was completely wiped from the map. Roman finds have also been made. Numerous shards of Roman pottery have been found between the church of Eersel and the hamlet of Schadewijk. The people in these parts around the beginning of the era were called Toxandrians. The Salian Franks who settled in the area in 358 were driven into the Roman area by the Saxons. After Roman times, the region is almost depopulated. No further traces are known from the time of the Great Migrations.

Middle Ages
The Franks settled in the region around 700. They lived where high and low grounds were close together. One of these high grounds was Ereslo. From this time on, there has been government authority in the region. The Franks built their farms around a triangular square called 'the site'. A settlement with a place and fields was a field village, in addition, so-called domains arose which were owned or managed by the high Frankish nobility.

The oldest known written mention of Eersel is found in the Liber aureus of the Abbey of Echternach. Herein is recorded a charter from 712 in which certain Aengilbertus, son of the late Gaobertus, with the consent of his brother Verengaotus, donates his first domain and property in Eresloch, consisting of three tenures, the sala, the small farm with three slaves, their women and children. Eersel was still called Erslo in the year 712. Willibrordus entertained Erslo at the Abbey of Echternach in Luxembourg, domain Diessen.

Until about the year 1000 Eersel belonged to the county of Toxandria. After this it came under the influence of the Count of Gelre. The count of Leuven expanded his territory to the north and in 1203 the region finally joined Brabant. Trade began to develop and Eersel became a crossroads for the routes of Leuven and 's-Hertogenbosch and of Antwerp and Turnhout. The triangular site of the field village Hint (still visible) was expanded in a southerly direction. The new oval square became the Markt, built for trade as a parking lot for carts. Around this, the characteristic buildings for food and lodging such as inns, as well as stables for horses with the necessary blacksmith arose.

In 1325 Eersel obtained the rights of “Freedom” from Duke John III of Brabant. On this basis, the residents were now allowed to appoint their own administrators. Eersel became the main bank for the aldermen's banks of Hapert, Hoogeloon, Vessem, Knegsel, Steensel, Bergeijk, Westerhoven, Dommelen and Borkel and Schaft.

Around the 14th century, Eersel became prosperous and the monumental tower of Eersel was built, together with that of Steensel and Duizel. In 1464 a chapel was built in Eersel between the Markt and the Hint.

Teuten
After the Middle Ages, the region became poorer and the villages did not grow between 1500 and 1800. This is the period of the Teuten. The Teuten from Eersel were merchants who mainly traded in copper and women's hair (and also pig hair). A relic of this time are the "Teutenhuizen" on the Markt. During the time of King Willem I an improvement occurred. The provincial road to Eindhoven and the Postelseweg were paved and a steam tramway was constructed (1897).

 

Industrial Revolution
Since 1900, the forests have been cleared and the cigar industry emerged. During the crisis, the cigar industry ensured that unemployment was not very high, although life was also poor in Eersel at the time.

The most famous factory is that of Henri Wintermans, who started in Eersel in 1934. Eersel is still known as the largest cigar exporter in the Netherlands and still occupies an important place in the world market of cigar producers.

After the Second World War, there was a rapid population growth in Eersel from 3,700 to 12,500 inhabitants.

 

Sights

The oldest church in Eersel may have been a simple wooden house, founded by the Abbey of Echternach. The Willibrord Church is first mentioned in 1480. The tower dates from the second half of the 14th century. The showpiece of the church is the monumental organ. It was completely restored in 1972 under national monument protection. It is a combination of work by two famous organ builders: Bernard Petrus van Hirtum from Hilvarenbeek (1838) and the Smits brothers from Reek (1852).

The chapel of Our Lady of the Campine
The chapel, built in Gothic style in 1464, is the oldest building on the Markt. It is beautiful in proportion and color. Such old chapels are rarely found, and this one is unique in the Kempen. After the Peace of Münster (1648) it was closed to worship and served as a town hall, prison and repository for the fire engine. The bourgeoisie of Eersel donated the stained glass windows in 1948 - the chapel was then used as a town hall for 300 years.

Pump and kiosk
Indispensable for the atmosphere of the Market is the beautiful bluestone village pump from 1864, with the coat of arms of Eersel. The music kiosk has also contributed to the atmosphere for more than a century. The current one was accurately recreated in 2004 after the original drawing.

Butter lime
In earlier years, farmers' women sold their butter on market days under the "Boterlinde". To keep their wares cool, they found a place under the foliage of this tree. In a special way this has been led and grown into a domed roof.

The Contente man
The 'Contente mens' (Brabantian: 'satisfied man') is a statue made by Richard Bertels (c. 1957) that is located in front of the VVV. The content man is a dying race, and with this image has been immortalized in bronze, as a symbol of what is disappearing in our time, but does have value.

Pronte woman (1969)
Artist: Guus Hellegers

Protestant church
Church built in 1812 and rebuilt in 1861. It is a simple, brick hall church. The ceiling has a barrel vault, which gives very good acoustics. The plan shows an elongated octagon, closed on three sides on the north and south sides with a turret on the roof. In the west wall a memorial stone with an inscription commemorating the foundation.

Former town hall
The former town hall (Markt 28), converted into six apartments, is also known for the carillon that plays every half hour.

Regional museum De Acht Zaliteiten
Regional museum 'De Acht Zaligheid' is located in a Kempen long gable farm. The aim is to give interested visitors and residents an impression of the (agricultural) life from about 1850 to about 1950, focused on the Kempen and in particular the part of it called "The Eight Beatitudes".

 

Nature and landscape

The area around Eersel is partly urbanized by business parks and busy roads. Furthermore, there is a lot of agricultural area in the area from which, however, much of the original small-scale structure has disappeared due to land consolidation. Some older hamlets are still there.

The Run and its tributary, the Diepreitsche Waterloop, flow south of Eersel. Southwest of Eersel, mainly on the territory of the village of Hapert near the hamlet De Pan, the De Kempen nature reserve, is a municipal forest planted with mainly coniferous wood, so that a walk has been set out.

De Heestert, also municipal property, is a coniferous forest area bordering the Cartierheide.

 

Trivia

During Carnival the village is called 'Buurtgat'.
Eersel's nickname is 'The pearl of the Kempen.'
Eersel is one of the Eight Beatitudes and is also considered the capital of this select group.