Gemert, Netherlands


Gemert (dialect: Gimmert) is an urbanized village in the municipality of Gemert-Bakel in the Dutch province of North Brabant, located in the Peelrand. Until the municipal reorganization in 1997 it was an independent municipality.



In 1249 Gemert was mentioned as a free manor under the Van Gemert family. At that time there was also talk of a Huis der Teutonen in Gemerthe, or an establishment of the Teutonic Order. This house is probably the result of the fact that one of the members of the ruling family, Rutger van Gemert, joined the Teutonic Order and donated his property to this Order. This event is dated to 1220 or earlier.

Conflicts between the Lord and the Order
However, authority over the manor was shared by Mr van Gemert and the Commander of the Teutonic Knights, who fell under the land commandery of Alden Biesen. In 1270 it was declared by Duke John I of Brabant that Gemert was a free lordship of both the Teutonic Order and Lord Diederik van Gemert. The supreme authority, however, fell to the duke. In 1326, after several skirmishes, a legal demarcation of the rights and property of both parties was introduced.

In 1331 Diederik sold the manor to Johan Cuyst from 's-Hertogenbosch. In 1339 he transferred the glory back to the son of Diederik, who was also called Diederik. Gradually a heated quarrel arose again between the lord and the Order, in which military violence and arson were not shunned. A number of people were also imprisoned by both parties. Finally, the mediation of the ducal couple Joanna of Brabant and Wenceslaus I of Luxembourg was invoked. These ordered the release of the prisoners, while Diederik and his helpers had to make a pilgrimage to Santiago de Compostella. The necessary fines were also imposed. In 1366, the ducal couple ordered Diederik to pose as fief of the Teutonic Order. Now the entire glory fell into the hands of the Teutonic Order and became Reichsheerlijkheid, or a Vrye Souveraine Heerlykheyd and Commandeurye der German Order.

In 1370, however, Diederik's son, Filips van Gemert, came to an agreement with the Teutonic Order. He was banned from the church and had to make a pilgrimage to Saint Judocus and to Our Lady of Aardenburg.

In 1391, the commander of the Teutonic Order, Hendrik Reinaart van Husen, received permission from the Duke to build a castle, provided it was always accessible to the Duke. In 1393 there was again armed conflict between the lord and the Order. The gentleman enlisted the help of the Duke of Gelre, William III of Jülich, but the latter agreed with the Order. In 1404 Philip's son, Gozewijn van Gemert, relinquished the claims in favor of the Teutonic Order.


Gemert as Rijksheerlijkheid

In 1437, the parish of Gemert was founded by the Order, and since 1450 the order priests have served the parish church and some nearby churches. In 1587 the Order founded the Latin School, where Catholic education was given. In contrast to the surrounding meierij of 's-Hertogenbosch, the practice of the Catholic religion in the Reichsheerlijkheid Gemert was allowed. On June 8, 1662, a resolution confirmed that the authority of the manor was with the commandery, thus indirectly with the German Reich. In 1695 the Order acquired full ownership of the Spijkerkapel in neighboring Esdonk.

The Teutonic Order took a neutral position in the many regional conflicts. In 1478 the Teutonic Order received the Brieve of neutrality from Duchess Mary of Burgundy. Neutrality was maintained with regard to the conflicts between the duchies of Brabant and Gelre as they took place during the Guelders Wars. Neutrality was also maintained during the Eighty Years' War.

In 1648, however, Commander Ulric van Hoensbroek broke away from the Order and took an independent position and enlisted the help of the States General of the Netherlands. These occupied the glory on which the Catholic churches were closed. The Grand Master of the Order, Leopold William of Austria, opposed this in order to have repaired all the novelties within Gemert since the decision of peace. All this led to lengthy legal proceedings that were settled in 1662 in favor of the Order. However, the free exercise of the Reformed religion had to be allowed and the Reformed had to be assigned a church building.

The commanders included Bertram Wessel de Loë in Wissen, at the end of the 17th century, and Franciscus van Reisbach from 1786. Both were of noble birth.


Dissolution of the Order

The end of the Reichsheerlijkheid was approaching, however, as the French troops seized the goods of the Teutonic Order in 1794, and in 1809 this order was dissolved by Napoleon Bonaparte. The last priest of the Order died in 1799 and the last priest of the Order left Gemert in 1819.


Nineteenth and Twentieth Centuries

Gemert became an independent municipality. The goods were allotted to the local monarchs. In 1810, Marshal Nicolas Charles Oudinot acquired the manor of Gemert. This was sold in 1813 to Adriaan van Riemsdijk who was a member of the Knighthood of the Duchy of Limburg. In 1832 he bought a number of farms that had previously belonged to the Order. The castle also housed the cotton spinning mill of Volkert & Comp for some time. established.

Adriaan van Riemsdijk was succeeded by his son-in-law and this one by his granddaughter, Maria Lüps, who married Mr. E.H. Scheidius. He sold the castle to the Jesuits in 1881. These would come to live in the castle in 1881, but then a fire broke out. In 1900 they finally established their novitiate there. The Jesuits left during the First World War. However, in 1914 the Congregation of the Holy Spirit entered the castle. These were mission patrons and brothers who were active in countries such as Brazil and Africa.

In the nineteenth century Gemert owned a considerable textile industry, but not without social conflicts. In February 1849 there was an uproar of weavers. The place is occupied by the army for almost two months.

In the early morning of May 11, 1940, a group of German scouts arrived by bicycle in Gemert. They explored the area. One of the spying soldiers was suddenly shot from a house. The Germans believed that this fire was fired by civilians. The Germans then took several hundred civilians of Gemert hostage and houses were combed through. Then the Germans discovered Dutch military trucks in the square opposite the castle. There were indeed about 70 engineers under a captain. They only had carbines and pistols. The Germans initially only used small arms, but eventually light artillery. An hour-long shot change followed, with the guns eventually setting fire to the castle. In addition, German armored cars began to arrive in the area. The Dutch soldiers then had to surrender, but 40 of them managed to escape. Two civilians were shot dead, some wounded. One soldier was killed on the German side and two on the Dutch side. Gemert was liberated on September 25, 1944.

In 1997 the municipality of Gemert merged with Bakel en Milheeze to form the merged municipality of Gemert-Bakel.



The core of Gemert is the Ridderplein and the surrounding area. To the north lies the castle and to the north the church of St. John's Beheading. The town hall and a number of cafés are also located on this square. There are many shops on the main streets leading to the Ridderplein. Gemert therefore functions as a regional center. To the west, there has never been much new construction, so that you can quickly get to the countryside via the road next to the castle or even via the old streets that lead to the west. Many historic buildings can still be found on the original streets.

To the east, in addition to a few older streets, there are also new housing estates. The Rips flows between the houses, but it is hardly noticeable in the bowl of Gemert.

The construction of Gemert Castle started in 1391. It was in use by the Teutonic Order until 1794. Since 1916 it has been used as a missionary monastery by the Congregation of the Holy Spirit. In 2007 the Congregation announced that it was going to sell the castle. The re-use of the castle is causing a fierce debate in Gemert-Bakel and can be followed via.

The predecessor of the current castle, used by the Lords of Gemert in the High Middle Ages, was further west and was excavated around 1995.

Castle Park
There is a castle park around the Castle of Gemert on the Ridderplein. This was used by the fathers and brothers in the past. There are a number of impressive trees in the castle park. The most famous of these is a giant sequoia (Sequoiadendron giganteum), which was planted in 1863 and has a circumference of 5 meters by 1.3 meters high. The tree is 27 meters high, but it lost its top in a lightning strike that must have occurred around 1938.


There are a number of peculiarities in this park:
The liberation monument from 1947.
The statue Pedita, from 1992, by Martien Hendriks. The heavy female figure is made of 12,000 kg bluestone, the final statue weighs 6,000 kg and it took 11 years to complete.
A spherical equatorial sundial of the Armillary sphere type, believed to have come from the Jesuits who lived in the castle from 1881 to 1916.
An 1860 gazebo that was rebuilt in 2004.
The burial place of the Fathers and Brothers Spiritines, including many who have worked in mission areas.

War memorial
On the other side of the outer moat of the castle, on the edge of the Ridderplein, or the mertveld as they say in Gemert, is the War Memorial, where the Remembrance Day takes place every year on 4 May. It was unveiled on July 8, 1947 and is a tribute to all the fallen from Gemert and all allied soldiers who died in Gemert's area.


Religious buildings

The Church of St. John's Beheading still has wall work and a side chapel dating from the 15th century: the parish was founded in 1437 and was previously subordinate to that in Bakel. The nave dates from this year, while the choir and sacristy date from 1467-1482. The church was radically rebuilt and expanded in neo-Gothic style in 1853 by Hendrik Jacobus van Tulder. A very pointed tower has also been added. In the side aisles hangs a painting of Saint Dominic from 1745 and of Saint John from 1830. In the Lady Chapel hangs a medieval crucifix and there is a 15th-century baptismal font. The neo-Gothic main altar was designed by Hendrik van der Geld. The church is located to the north of the castle.
The Sint-Gerardus Majella Church is located east of the center. It is a church with a separate tower, built in the style of the Bossche School, from 1957. The architect was Jan de Jong.
The Chapel of St. Tunnis in the Deel is dedicated to St. Anthony Abbot. In 1564 the first mention was made of den Deelse Boom aent heijligen huiske. In 1841 it was restored to look like it does today, although it originally had a thatched roof. After World War II, the chapel fell into disrepair, but it was restored in 1966 and has been maintained ever since. The chapel was consecrated again in 1990. It is a small rectangular building with a gable roof with a roof rider with a clock on the roof.
The Sint-Anna chapel is located at the intersection of the Sint-Anna Street and the Molenakkerstraat. It was rebuilt in 1947 after a previous building had become dilapidated. The building or keske contains a niche in which a Saint Anna statue. This statue was stolen in 1973 but returned in 1981. Now a replica of this statue is in the niche.
The Chapel at the Kruiseind ​​is at a crossroads. There would once have been a road cross here. The current chapel is a four-sided brick building from 1911 with a niche on each side containing a statue. These are statues of Saint Anne, Saint Michael, John the Baptist and the crucified Christ.
The Mariakèske (= box) is on the corner of the Stereind and the Binderseind. It is a tower-like structure from 1992 with a niche containing a bronze statue of the Virgin Mary. It replaced a chapel from about 1800 that was demolished in 1962 for traffic purposes. It contained a sandstone statue of the Virgin Mary from the second half of the 15th century. The current image was made by Toon Grassens and is a copy of the original image.
The Nazareth Monastery was founded in 1848 by the Franciscans of the Nazareth Monastery in Oirschot. It is located at the Binderseind. Although a modern monastery building can be seen on the street side, behind it is an older part with a chapel from 1857. This water state chapel is decorated but no longer contains any religious statues. There is, however, an organ from 1893, which was manufactured by the Gebr. Franssen in Roermond. The sisters left for their mother house in Oirschot in 2000. After that, the monastery was used as a town hall for some time, as the existing town hall was renovated. The chapel is a national monument and is now used for cultural purposes.
The Kèskesdijk is the old pilgrimage road from Gemert to Handel. Along this line are a number of small chapels (kèskes) and also the larger Ox Chapel.


Public art

Gemert has two Sacred Heart statues: the statue of Jan Custers (1918), which previously stood at St Jan, and the statue (1930) at the presbytery, which was made by Wim Harzing.
Klaïda is a meter-high and colorful work of art with numerous ornaments reminiscent of churches and castles. It is made up of metal parts and is located on the western ring road. This "Poort van Gemert" was designed by Gerard van Lankveld, a representative of outsider art who has constructed a large collection of colorful fantasy structures in and around his own house, at Stereind 3, which are also reminiscent of church towers.
The Piramide is a cast concrete sculpture by Jan van Gemert from 1955. The sculpture originally stood at the gym of the former Willibrord-ULO on the corner of De Stroom and Berglarenstraat, but was moved a few years ago to the Beatrixplantsoen behind the town hall. After thorough restoration by Jan van Gemert's sons, Gregoor and Theo and Toon, Jan van Gemert's brother, it has been placed back on the Stroom.
Tamboer en Vaandeldragers is a large bronze work of art on the Ridderplein. It was made by Toon Grassens and placed in 1987. This monument pays tribute to the two militia guilds of Gemert.
The Holy Losbol is a statue of Saint Dionysius of Paris, patron of the Gemert fair and placed in 2007. The statue of the bishop taking up his own head was made by stone and restoration sculptor Ton Mooy from Amersfoort.
Unique in the Netherlands are the reliefs by Jan van Gemert in the facades above the front doors in the Molenakker and Berglaren districts, including in the Diederikstraat, the Predikherenstraat, the Van Beekstraat and the Wachtendonkstraat. Other reliefs by the same artist can be found on the White-Yellow-Cross building on De Stroom; on private homes at Frans Brugske 24 and 28; at the former police station on Frans Brugske; and at the Commanderij College on the Sleutelbosch. The baptismal font in the church in Elsendorp was made by Jan van Gemert.


Civil buildings

Town hall on Ridderplein, from 1941. In addition, new construction was built in 1984, while an extension of the town hall was completed in 2002. In honor of social leader and pastor Lambert Poell (1872-1937), a carillon was donated to the town hall in 1964.
Residential houses with a neck gable, such as De Klokhoed at Binderseind ​​25, Binderseind ​​3A, and Ridderplein 33.
Villa-Polder is a large mansion from 1884 in eclectic style, on Hill 4, which was built by order of the physician Johannes Cornelis Kuijper (1841-1921), who obtained his doctorate in 1879 with a dissertation on lead poisoning and was considered a selfless friend of the poor and the oppressed. The house, which now houses the restaurant Kastanjehof, is still in almost original condition and it also has a garden with ponds, tall chestnut trees and marble statues. The coach house is to the left of the villa.
Short facade farm, Oudestraat 8
Some stately houses, such as Kerkstraat 8, from 1885 and Kerkstraat 24A, which still bears the year 1677.
Latin School, a striking building from 1887 on Ruijschenbergstraat, with a number of coats of arms, dates and slogans and a statue of Saint Catherine in the facades. The school was founded by the Teutonic Order in 1587. Today it houses a Heemkamer and the Municipal Archives.
In the Ruijschenbergstraat there are a number of stately houses, such as' t Hofgoet and Den Hobert.



The Boerenbondsmuseum is located in the hamlet of Pandelaar, about two kilometers from the Ridderplein in the direction of Erp. Here are buildings and objects that revive the farming business from around 1900.



Existing mills
Eight-sided windmill De Bijenkorf, at Den Elding, since 1908.
Round stone windmill De Volks Vriend, on the Oudestraat, from 1887. This is back to its original state after repairs in mid-2016.
Both mills are managed by the Gemert-Bakel mill foundation.

Lost mills
Gemertse Watermolen, which existed from 1210-1590 and of which a number of memories have been brought to life in the new residential area De Watermolen.
Windmill 't Zoutvat, from 1543-1917, corner Virmundstraat-Frans Brugske.
Tower mill De Beer, built in the 14th century on Sint-Annastraat and demolished around 1880.
De Musterdpot was a white round stone belt mill on Molenakkerstraat. It was destroyed by fire in 1954.
De Peperbus, which must have been in the vicinity of De Musterdpot.


Nature and landscape

Gemert has a relatively large amount of green space. Apart from that, the surroundings of the castle in particular are still rural. Here are also a number of farms that belonged to the lords of the castle and were previously associated with the Teutonic Order. Bicycle paths run through this rural area and walks have been plotted.

Gemert has various herb gardens. For example, there is the Velt garden (Association of Ecological Cultivation), which manages a public herb garden of 3 ha. In addition, there are, among others, in the hamlet of Pandelaar other herb gardens that can be visited.