Venray, Netherlands


Venray (Venrays: Venroj or Rooj) is a place in the municipality of the same name in Dutch Limburg. The Venray core is located 36 kilometers south of Nijmegen and 22 kilometers northwest of Venlo. About 28,640 people live in Venray. After Venlo, Venray is the second urban core of North Limburg and the location plays an important role in the region.



First Rodhe (1224) and Rode (1220, copy 14th century), later with Ven- in front of it: Venrode, Venroed, Venroyd, Venroy, Venrooy, and with a, ae, ai, ay instead of o, oe, oi, oy : Venrade, Venraed, Venraid, Venradt, Venrayde, Wenrait, Weenraid, Venray.

First part of the word perhaps from venne "ven"; second word of clearing up, clearing and making land suitable for cultivation by cutting down trees and pulling the roots out of the ground. Field and place names on -rode mainly arose in the 12th to 14th century.

Cf. Venrode estate near Sint-Michielsgestel and the village of Venrath near Erkelenz in Germany.



According to Jac. van Ginneken, the Venray dialect belongs to the group of Gelderland-Limburg regional languages.

Text example of the Venray regional language:

It is a form of waensdaenke, that the sietewasie van vur de jaesteg fallen back, but there is hope. Daenk hiērbeej 's án the lyricists and singers, who are growing in the country, have succeeded with the dialect zoeë-as Ròwwen Hèze, Gerard van Maasakkers, Gé Reinders, Neet oét Lottem, Beppy Kraft, Normal, and I can still do that durgaon. The Netherlands remains open to the dialect, but it is a matter of patience. Räöstig was waiting for that day. (Whose is this again?)

What we have not forgotten is that 'r' n hieël grows ántal Venrojenare òs mojje regional language still speaks, writes and sings and that we rejoice òs de laeste jaore meuge ò n an upcoming interest of ’t Venrods, certainly from the butinge. Daenk hiērbeej án die Venrods praotende elsewhere who unveiled òs mójste kultuūrgoēd nie án eur kiender wille, án the fastidious and tenielverie movement, án òs writers, poets and musekânte die eur aege, tied as pure hobbie, mójreede as pure language .

Publications in the Venray regional language include the Venrays Dictionary, Proverbs in the Venray regional language, Riek zònder caens, Kruumels van ’n boēretoffel, Rooy mien dörp ien de Piël, Gebruke’ t jaor roond and Zoeë was ‘t ien Venroj.



The Legend of Saint Oda

According to a biography written shortly after 1527 in the Venray women's monastery in Jerusalem, the Holy Oda lived for some time in Venray as a hermit. However, she was harassed by annoying farmers (or magpies according to legend) and therefore left for Sint-Oedenrode, which was later named after her. On a hill near the Hiept to the west of Venray she would have turned around for a while and said: "Venray, I will remain your advocate in heaven forever". Sint Oda is therefore Venray's patron saint. According to tradition, she died in 726 in Sint-Oedenrode.


Middle Ages

Venray and surrounding church villages belonged to the county of Gelre early in the 13th century. In 1224, Count Gerard III of Gelre donated the right of patronage and the tithes of the church of Venray (Rodhe) to the newly founded Munsterabdij of Roermond.

The oldest cartulary of the Munster Abbey contains a copy (from the 14th century) of a charter of Pope Honorius III dated December 10, 1220, confirming the Munster Abbey four years earlier in the possession of the tithes of Venray (Rode).

Aldermen are known in Venray from 1323.

From the time that Gelre was divided into four quarters, Venray was located in the so-called Overkwartier or Opper-Gelre, with Roermond (from 1347) as the administrative center. This quarter was in turn (at least from 1352) administratively subdivided into offices. Venray fell under the office of Kessel (in the Land van Kessel) and was ruled as lordship by the minister of Kessel as representative of the duke. The officer van Kessel lived from around 1400 in the castle of Horst.

At least between 1394 and 1402, coins were minted in Venray, including gold guilders, double greats and greats. MONETA OPIDI VENRADEN is featured on one of the gold guilders.

In 1422 a house or convent of Sisters of Common Life was founded in Venray, which later became the Jerusalem monastery. From 1467 the sisters lived according to the rule of the Canonesses Regular of Saint Augustine (cf. Congregation of Windesheim and Modern Devotion) and the monastery became the official "monastery of Saint Ursula with the eleven thousand virgins and of Saint Anthony Abbot in Jerusalem. at Venray ".

Around 1462 the construction of the gothic St. Peter's Bandenkerk started.


Early modern age

With the Treaty of Venlo in 1543, the whole of Guelders came to Charles V of Habsburg and in 1555 to his son Philip II of Spain, so that Venray and surroundings became part of the Habsburg Netherlands.


At the end of the Eighty Years' War, the former Duchy of Gelre was finally divided at the Peace of Münster in 1648. Upper Guelders (with Venray) remained part of the (Catholic) Spanish or Southern Netherlands under the Spanish Habsburgs, and remained part of the Holy Roman Empire; the three northern quarters of Gelre came as Gelderland to the (reformed) Republic of the Seven United Netherlands, which had separated itself from the Holy Roman Empire.

Venray now became a stronghold of Catholic culture. In 1649 the Catholics of neighboring Deurne founded a border chapel on Venray's territory. Deurne was in Staats-Brabant, where the practice of Catholic worship was prohibited. In 1650 the first stone was laid for a Franciscan monastery (Friars Minor) and in 1651 Venray received a Latin school, founded by Archduke Leopold Willem of Austria, governor of the Southern Netherlands. The Catholics of Vierlingsbeek founded a border chapel in Venray near the Smakt in 1656, which they dedicated to Saint Lucia.

King Charles II of Spain sold the Venray manor together with Helden in 1674 to the noble Bouwens van der Boije family, Heren van Macken in Holthees. Johan Albert Bouwens van der Boije founded the chapel of Saint Joseph in the Smakt in 1699.

After the War of the Spanish Succession, Upper Gelre was divided among the victors by the Treaty of Utrecht in 1713 and the Barrier tract in 1715. Venlo and its surroundings were added to the Republic as a Generality Land, Roermond came to the Austrian Netherlands, Venray and Geldern became Prussian. Venray remained part of Prussian Upper Guelders until it came to France at the Peace of Basel in 1795, along with all other Prussian areas west of the Rhine.


Modern time

From 1795 to 1815 Venray was part of the French Roerdpartement. This department stretched along the left bank of the Rhine, from Cologne in the south to Cleves in the north. Aachen was the capital. By order of Napoleon, all monasteries were closed in 1802 and the religious were expelled. That fate struck the Venray Augustinian Monastery Jerusalem and the Monastery of the Friars Minor. The Latin School was closed in 1810.

At the Congress of Vienna in 1815, Venray was separated from the parts of Prussian Upper Gelre located east of the Maas, and added to the newly formed province of Limburg in the much enlarged Kingdom of the Netherlands. The border, which ran through the middle of the former Upper Guelders, was placed one cannon shot away from the Maas (800 Rhenish rods, about 3 km).

Dissatisfied with all kinds of things, Limburg joined the Belgian Revolt in 1830. For nine years Venray was in fact a Belgian village, until Limburg was split into a Belgian Limburg and a Dutch Limburg in 1839. The Dutch Limburg (in which Venray) was a member of the German Confederation as the newly formed Duchy of Limburg, with the Dutch king as duke. In 1866 Limburg left the German Confederation.

In the 19th century the sheep companies from Venray dominated the European sheep trade. Around 1809 a few farmers had already left for the first time on foot from Venray with a herd of sheep to Paris to sell them there. It was about the meat, not the wool. A month later they returned with a bag full of money. The Grote Compagnie was founded around 1826. In the peak years of the second half of the 19th century, this organization converted more than a million guilders annually. The sheep were transported to the markets of Northern France and Paris, later also by train, and by ship to London. The Poels, Raedts, Trynes, van Meijel and Elbers families grew up with it. A kind of transit point was created in Warcoing near Tournai. There were also some smaller companies. At the end of the century, the meat trade in the slaughterhouses of Paris, London and Antwerp was largely in the hands of the Venrayse Grote Compagnie.

Ursulines from Tildonk, Belgium, settled in the dilapidated Jerusalem monastery in 1838. There they provided free education for girls and founded a boarding school for girls, which had to be paid for. Franciscans returned to Venray in 1844 and took over the Latin school, which was reopened in 1837. In 1857 this school was incorporated into the Dutch education system as Gymnasium Immaculatae Conceptionis.

In 1905 the construction of the insane asylum St. Servatius for men was started by the Brothers of Charity from Ghent in Belgium. The first patients arrived in 1907. The Sisters of Charity built the Sint Anna insane asylum for women in 1908. The first patients arrived in 1909. Today this institution still exists and is called Vincent van Gogh, for mental health care.


In the early 20th century, especially during the First World War, large parts of the Peel were mined. This is how the village of Ysselsteyn was created in 1921. At this time, municipalities could receive interest-free advances and technical assistance from the government to afforest their desolate, unexplored land. Venray was the first municipality in the Netherlands to receive an interest-free advance, for the afforestation of the area around the Ballonzuil from 1907. In the period between these first reclaimed forests and 1935, almost all municipal forests were created.

The gymnasium "Saint Angela" of the Ursulines of Jerusalem, opened in 1915, was the first gymnasium for girls in Roman Catholic Netherlands.

In 1934 Venray got its own hospital, founded by the Franciscan Sisters of the Congregation Charitas from Roosendaal.



At the end of the Second World War, heavy fighting took place in and around Venray and great destruction was caused. In early October 1944, one of the largest tank battles was fought at Overloon between the 107th German Armored Brigade on the one hand and the 7th American and 11th British Tank Divisions on the other: the Battle of Overloon. Many hundreds were killed on both sides. Venray was liberated by the 3rd British Infantry Division on 18 October 1944. A week later, however, a general evacuation took place by order of the British staff and Venray remained uninhabited front area throughout the winter of 1944/1945. When the population gradually returned in 1945, a devastated core was found, thoroughly destroyed and ransacked by friends and foes.

The military cemetery in Ysselsteyn, the only German military cemetery in the Netherlands, contains 31,598 German soldiers.

The former Peace Church is located on Kennedyplein. The church and the accompanying monument were realized through efforts of Germany, the United States, Canada, the United Kingdom and the Netherlands. The whole symbolizes forgiveness and reconciliation. The monument has various parts. Underneath a carrillon, a tombstone and columns. The columns bear the names of 17 war-affected cities in England, Germany and the Netherlands that contributed to the realization of the church and monument. These cities include Liverpool, Stuttgart, Nijmegen and Rotterdam.


Reconstruction and industrialization

Soon after the war it turned out that Venray - traditionally an agrarian municipality - had to take new roads. Industrialization had become a necessity to cope with structural unemployment. From 1949 a few small industries settled on a site on the Maasheseweg. Industrialization only got off to a good start when Venray was designated by the government in 1953 as the industrialization center.

In the early 1950s, large-scale reclamations took place in the northwest of the municipality of Venray in De Peel. Partly as a result of the government scheme for subsidizing farm building on reclaimed land, the village of Vredepeel, Venray's tenth church village, was created here in 1955. A military airfield was built near Vredepeel in 1954: airbase de Peel. It was taken out of use as an airport in 1993. In 2009, the Commander of the Armed Forces decided to merge the Guided Weapons Group of the Air Force and the Commando Anti-Aircraft Artillery of the Army into one Ground-Based Air Defense Command, under the responsibility of the Commander of the Army. This command is now the Defense Ground-Based Air Defense Command and became operational in 2012. It is believed to provide protection against air threats at all heights; both against aircraft and against ballistic and cruise missiles.

Employment was boosted by the establishment of Rank Xerox in the mid-1960s. During its heyday, several thousand employees work at the Venray branch of the Xerox concern. When the company sold all production facilities to Flextronics in 2001 as part of a global restructuring, nearly 1,000 employees changed employers. Some strategic activities will continue under Xerox's banner. After several reorganisations, it was announced in October 2007 that the site was to close in June 2008. In 2016 it was announced that the toner plant will also be closed.



Churches and chapels
Sint-Petrus' Bandenkerk, at Grote Markt 24, from 1475.
Our Lady of Seven Sorrows Church, at Leunseweg 3, from 1927.
Peace Church or Christ the King Church, on Kennedyplein, from 1964.
Zonneliedkerk, at Kiosk 6, built in 1977 as a Roman Catholic chapel, since 1995 a Protestant church.
Saint Anne Chapel (Langeweg), 19th century
Saint Anne Chapel (Sint Servatiusweg), 17th century
Saint Anthony's chapel, 17th century
Saint Hubert and Antonius Abbot Chapel, 17th century
Saint Oda Chapel, 18th century
Saint Roch's chapel, 17th century


Monasteries and institutions

Ursuline Monastery, established in 1838 in the former Augustinian Monastery "Jerusalem", which existed from 1422-1802. In 1888 a girls' boarding house called "Jerusalem" was established at 1 Raadhuisstraat, which was closed in 1973 and converted into a town hall in 1978-1979. A second building, the Sint-Oda Monastery at Merseloseweg 75, was built in 1950 and is a rest home for elderly sisters of the Congregation.
Sint-Jozefklooster on the Eindstraat, was opened in 1880 and closed in 1980.
Franciscan monastery at Paterstraat 39, out of use in 1995. Franciscans were in Venray from 1647 on. This monastery was closed in 1802 and returned to use in 1844.
Mission house Mill Hill, on Westsingel, from 1962
Sint-Annagesticht, psychiatric hospital at Noordsingel 39, from 1907, founded by the Sisters of Charity.
Sint-Servatiusgesticht, psychiatric hospital at Stationsweg 46, from 1905, founded by the Brothers of Charity.
Sint-Anna and Sint-Servatius merge in 1976. In 1992 the congregations step down for good, in 2003: GGZ-NML and from 2010 Vincent van Gogh and Servaashof.
Sint-Vincentius house, from 1935, founded by the Sisters of Divine Providence, for the care of chronic psychiatric patients. Since 1968: House of Saint Vincent.
Saint Elisabeth Hospital, founded in 1934 by the Franciscan Sisters. Today: VieCuri.



Gitzelsmolen, a windmill from 1856, at Sportlaan 10.
Old Town Hall, from 1885, on the Grote Markt.
Sint-Petrus' Bandenkerk (Grote Kerk), from 1450, on the Grote Markt.



The Venrays Museum was located in 't Freulekeshuus from 1981 to 2017. In 2017 the museum moved to a new building at the Mgr. Goumansplein.
The Museum Psychiatrie Venray was opened in 1977 and contains objects and documents relating to the history of psychiatry in Venray, from 1905 to the present day.


Nature and landscape

Venray is located on sandy soil, at a height of approximately 25 meters. The most important nature reserves are located west of the center: Odapark and Vlakwater. The Sint-Anna psychiatric institution, to the north of the center, has a wooded area, the Sint-Anna forest. In the northeast you will find the Boschhuizerbergen. The Loobeek basin is located in the northwest.



Venray has several sports clubs, the best known are the football club SV Venray and hockey club MHCV. SV Venray plays at the sports complex "De Wiën". Furthermore, HV Manual is the local handball club and VC Rooij the volleyball club. GCC Geijsteren (golf) is also located in Venray.



Venray has many music associations, including many joekskapellen and some concert / fanfare orchestras. The largest harmony in Venray is the Koninklijke Harmonie "Euterpe". Venray also has a show corps, namely M.M.S.K. "St. Petrus' Tires".
The Venray's Mannenkoor, founded in 1909, is one of the larger men's choirs in the Netherlands.
Founded in 1959, Zangers van St. Frans who represent Venray all over the world.