Category Archives: Churches in Kreis Viersen

Visiting all of the churches in the region of Viersen in Nordrhein-Westfalen – by bicycle!

Churches in Kreis Viersen 91-98

This is the tenth and final batch of church visits that I’ve blogged about.

You can read about 1-10, 11-20, 21-30, 31-40, 41-50, 51-60, 61-70 and 71-80 and
Churches in Kreis Viersen 81-90 as well.

Churches visited this time

Churches in Kreis Viersen 91-98

91. Hoffnungskirche, Schiefbahn
92. Kloster Mülhausen
93. St Peter und Paul, Leutherheide
94. Sankt Laurentius, Elmpt
95. Herz-Jesu Kirche, Dülken
96. St Peter, Viersen-Bockert
97. St Bernhard Klosterkirche, Schiefbahn Knickelsdorf
98. Kapelle in Irmardisstift Altenheim, Süchteln

And here is the map of all the churches in Kreis Viersen – that I have now visited! All 98 of ’em!

Churches in Kreis Viersen 1-98

91. Hoffnungskirche, Schiefbahn

Schwanenheide, 47877 Willich-Schiefbahn
I’ve visited this church loads of times as it’s where my choir practices but I hadn’t actually officially ‘bagged’ it until a year after my first visit.

Schiefbahn Hoffnungskirche

92. Kloster Mülhausen

Kloster Mülhausen Hauptstraße 87 47929 Grefrath

I cannot tell you how many times I have cycled past this Kloster (Monastery) which is now a school and various other things, but I think it also still functions as a church.

Kloster Muelhausen 1

Kloster Muelhausen 2

93. St Peter und Paul, Leutherheide

http://www.sankt-lambertus-breyell.de/index.php?article_id=395

When I visited this church I realised I had not, in my entire 13 months in Kreis Viersen, ever cycled down this road! So it was a new place to visit, and a lovely little church.

St Peter Paul Leutherheide 1

St Peter Paul Leutherheide 2

Laar Lucia Kapelle

Here I must also mention a chapel that I visited – only to discover it was a tiny one, not a chapel where one might have services. It was in Laar which is in the middle of nowhere really and it was a lovely tranquil spot. But it doesn’t count as a church for this challenge as it is too small!

Laar Lucia Kapelle

Laar Lucia Kapelle Info

94. Sankt Laurentius, Elmpt

Laurentiusstraße 13, 41372 Niederkrüchten

St Laurentius Elmpt 1

I arrived at this church in Penelope, put on the parking brake and got out, and a lady hailed me from across the road. “Hello Helen!”

Lo and behold it was Silke, the landlady of the Ferienwohnung in Nettetal-Sassenfeld that I had stayed in a couple of years ago. A very small world as Elmpt is not that near Nettetal and I was up a tiny road. Anyway we had a chat for a few minutes (she was about to go into work) and she took a photo of me outside the church.

St Laurentius Elmpt 2

95. Herz-Jesu Kirche, Dülken

Kreyenbergstr. 1, 41751 Viersen-Dülken-Nord
http://herzjesu-online.de/

I visited this church on such a windy day that I couldn’t initially get out of Penelope to take a photograph. This was partly because the church buildings created a kind of wind-tunnel effect which meant I was afraid of breaking Penelope’s door lid if I opened her. Eventually I rode to another part of the courtyard which wasn’t so windy and was able to escape. Consequently I haven’t got a decent photo of the whole church.

Herz Jesu Kirche Duelken 1

Herz Jesu Kirche Duelken 3

Herz Jesu Kirche Duelken 2

96. St Peter, Viersen-Bockert

Pastor-Lennartz-Platz 1, 41748 Viersen

This church was visited on my last church-bagging trip with just three left on the list. Klaus accompanied me for this trip and designed a route that took in these quite far-flung churches.

St Peter Bockert 1

St Peter Bockert 2

97. St Bernhard Klosterkirche, Schiefbahn-Knickelsdorf

Albert-Oetker-Straße 98-102, 47877 Willich-Schiefbahn
http://www.limburg-bernd.de/Viersen/DenkWil/Nr.%20114.htm

This building is part of a large area of Schiefbahn which was owned by Albert Oetker (he of the Dr Oetker pizzas fame). The church was tucked away behind the other buildings and we didn’t see a very obvious front door for it either, but it was an interesting octagonal design.

St Bernhard Schiefbahn

98. Kapelle in Irmgardisstift Altenheim, Süchteln

Bergstraße 54, 41749 Viersen
http://www.altenheim-irmgardisstift.de/

I have actually been inside the chapel in this new Old People’s Home to sing with the choir but I went by car so it doesn’t count for this challenge!

But for the very last church in my Churches in Kreis Viersen challenge I went by trike (with Klaus) and, due to not having the site as a waypoint on my Garmin, we spent a fruitless five minutes looking for it (I only knew vaguely where it was) and in the end we gave up as we were going to be late for lunch, so we headed back from our search – past the very place we were looking for!

Irmgardisstift Altenheim Kapelle

Irmgardisstift Altenheim Kapelle 2

Task completed

I have now visited all the churches in Kreis Viersen (that still have services), as well as several small chapels which were on maps but turned out not to have services.

I estimate I have covered about 3000km in total visiting these churches.

The next challenge is all the windmills and watermills in Kreis Viersen – there are about 25 of those altogether so it is a much easier challenge. I will also do all of these starting in Viersen itself (at Klaus’s house on our rides together) rather than starting in Kempen.

I have already made significant progress on these – if you want the link to the windmills/watermills map it is here: https://www.google.com/maps/d/edit?mid=zy_0KHlNFh70.k9Ov-EuSIRyA

Thanks for reading!

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Churches In Kreis Viersen 81-90

This is the ninth batch of church visits that I’ve blogged about.

You can read about 1-10, 11-20, 21-30, 31-40, 41-50, 51-60, 61-70 and 71-80 as well.

Churches visited this time

Churches in Kreis Viersen 81-90

81. Neuapostolische Kirche Dülken
82. Evangelische freikirche, Dülken
83. Amern Evangelische Kirche
84. Evangelische Kirche Bracht-Breyell
85. St Anna, Schaag
86. St Peter Born-Brüggen
87. Kapelle Klein Jerusalem, Neersen
88. St Hubertus, Willich-Schiefbahn
89. St Mariä Himmelfahrt, Waldnieler Heider
90. Evangelische Kirche, Lobberich

And here are all the churches I have been to so far.

Churches in Kreis Viersen 1-90

81. Neuapostolische Kirche Dülken

Eintrachtstraße 54, 41751 Viersen-Dülken

Yet another Neuapostoliche Kirche – there are loads of them around here!

Neuapostolische Kirche Duelken

82. Evangelische Freikirchegemeinde, Dülken

Dammstraße 45, 41751 Viersen
http://www.paulussaal.de/

Another impossible-to-photograph church but it seems like there’s quite a lot going on there, judging by their website.

EK Duelken

83. Evangelische Kirche, Amern

Kockskamp 22, 41366 Schwalmtal

Amern Ev ChurchThis was a very unusual design of church but not one that I particularly liked! It also has the disadvantage of being up a hill so I was tired when I got there.

84. Evangelische Kirche, Bracht-Breyell

Lötscher Weg 1, 41334 Nettetal

This was another very unusual design of church which I visited with Klaus on a rather rainy day!

Bracht-Breyell Ev Kirche 1

Bracht-Breyell Ev Kirche 2

Bracht-Breyell Ev Kirche 3

Bracht-Breyell Ev Kirche 4

85. St Anna, Schaag

An der Kirche 7, 41334 Nettetal-Schaag

I often ride past this church but ended up photographing it on a very rainy day.

St Anna Schaag 1

St Anna Schaag 2

86. St Peter Born-Brüggen

Born 51, 41379 Brüggen

Another church I regularly cycle past – because there’s a rather nice restaurant/cafe just up the road from here! My visit this time was with my friends Klaus, Claudia and Lara and Lara is posing in front of the church to add some scale to the picture!

Born church 1

Born church 2

87. Kapelle Klein Jerusalem, Neersen

http://de.wikipedia.org/wiki/Kapelle_Klein-Jerusalem

This is a lovely little chapel which I am told is well worth a visit inside. Unfortunately when I was there it was locked.

Klein Jerusalem 1

Klein Jerusalem 2

88. St Hubertus, Willich-Schiefbahn

Hubertusstraße 5, 47877 Willich
http://www.st-hubertus-schiefbahn.de/

I visit Schiefbahn regularly for my choir practice but I am usually in a hurry to get there so don’t stop for church visits. I was travelling through Schiefbahn in the dark on a ride (so not in a hurry) so I photographed the church then – but, as you can see, it wasn’t entirely successful.

Very dark church in Schiefbahn

This is what it looks like in daylight:

St Hubertus, Schiefbahn

89. St Mariä Himmelfahrt, Waldnieler Heider

Waldnieler Heide 20 41366 Schwalmtal
http://www.st-mariae-himmelfahrt-schwalmtal.de/

Waldnieler Heide St Mariae Himmelfahrt 1

90. Evangelische Kirche, Lobberich

Steegerstraße 39, 41334 Nettetal-Lobberich

EKIR Lobberich 2

EKIR Lobberich 1

So that’s churches 81-90 done and according to my records there are only ten more churches to visit before I complete the challenge of all the churches in Kreis Viersen, a very pleasing 100 (although it is possible I have missed one or two that i didn’t know about).

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Churches in Kreis Viersen 71-80

This is the eighth batch of church visits that I’ve blogged about. It’s been a while since I’ve added to this as I’ve mostly been riding in the dark (to my choir or language course) which has meant it’s tricky to take photographs but I did visit a few churches over the winter months and now the nice weather is arriving I will hopefully bag the last fifteen or so within the next couple of months.

You can read about 1-10, 11-20, 21-30, 31-40, 41-50, 51-60 and 61-70 as well.

Churches visited this time

Churches in Kreis Viersen 71-80

71. St Konrad, Willich
72. St Maria, Neersen
73. Johanniskirche, Viersen-Süchteln
74. Christuskirche, Dülken
75. St Cornelius, Dülken
76. Evangelische Kirche, Waldniel
77. Kreuzkirche, Viersen
78. Josefskirche, Viersen
79. St Maria Hamm, Viersen
80. St Helena, Viersen-Helenabrunn

And here are all the churches I have been to so far.

Churches in Kreis Viersen 1-80

71. St Konrad, Willich-Anrath

Grenzweg 76, 47877 Willich
http://www.limburg-bernd.de/Viersen/DenkWil/Nr.%20159.htm

On a cycle ride along the Niers river I spotted this church.

St Konrad Willich

This church is now a Denkmal (monument). It lies in the middle of a small settlement along the Niers river. It was built in 1935.

72. St Maria, Neersen

Minoritenplatz 4, 47877 Willich-Neersen
http://st-maria-neersen.de/

I regularly visit Neersen for my choir practices (although the choir meets in the Evangelische Kirche) but hadn’t previously ventured along the high street as the choir church is to the north side of Neersen. I was a little early for the practice in late August so decided to pop along and see the church – which turned out to be very large and a significant site with lots going on.

St Maria Neersen 1

It was a very interesting design with old and new themes.

St Maria Neersen 2

The church community began in 1798 when it belonged to the town of Anrath. Previously there was a monastery which was closed after the French revolution, although a couple of monks remained and were part of the new church when it was built.

In 1960 the church was renewed, using parts of the old Kloster building.

73. Johanniskirche, Viersen-Süchteln

Johannesstraße 70, Rheinischen Kliniken Viersen
http://www.evkirchesuechteln.de/

This Church is part of the Rheinischen Kliniken Viersen which appears to be some kind of hospital/care complex. I visited the church for a concert of gospel music so of course had to take the opportunity to ‘bag it’ for this challenge as well.

Johanniskirche Viersen Exterior

It had a very interesting exterior with the different colour bricks.

The interior was plain and the acoustics were pretty echoey for the singing.

Johanniskirche Viersen Interior

74. Christuskirche, Dülken

Martin-Luther St 2A, 41751 Viersen-Dülken
http://www.evangelisch-in-duelken.de

I’d cycled past this church a few times when on various cycle tours and not had a chance to stop so decided I definitely ought to bag it and set out on an evening ride.

Christuskirche Duelken

75. St Cornelius, Dülken

Mosel St 6, 41751 Viersen-Dülken

This is a really impressive-looking church and unfortunately I couldn’t fit it all in shot with my phone!

St Cornelius Duelken

I really liked the architecture including very interesting flying buttresses.

St Cornelius Duelken close-up

76. Evanglische Kirche, Waldniel

Lange St, 41366 Schwalmtal

As you can see, by the time I arrived at this church it had got a trifle dark!

Ev Kirche Waldniel

Ev Kirche Waldniel 2

77. Kreuzkirche, Viersen

Hauptstraße 124, 41747 Viersen
http://www.ekir.de/krefeld/kirchenkreis/viersen.php

This was, for once, a very attractive Evangelische Kirche, an old-fashioned brick building rather than a concrete monstrosity!

Viersen Kreuzkirche

78. Josefskirche, Viersen

An der Josefskirche 15, 41747 Viersen
http://www.grabeskirche-viersen.de/
This church was so big, and surrounded by buildings, that I couldn’t get a good photograph of it at all!

Josefskirche Viersen 1

Here’s a picture from their website of the whole building.
Josefskirche

79. St Maria Hamm, Viersen

Pastor-Grünig-Platz 4, 41748 Viersen

This was a sweet little church tucked in amongst some houses with an old people’s home opposite (linked?)

St Maria Hamm Viersen

80. St Helena, Viersen-Helenabrunn

Heimerstraße 9, 41748 Viersen

A lovely church but up a pretty steep hill.

Viersen Helenabrunn

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Churches in Kreis Viersen 61-70

This is the seventh batch of church visits that I’ve blogged about. You can read about 1-10, 11-20, 21-30, 31-40, 41-50 and 51-60 as well.

Churches visited this time

Churches in Kreis Viersen 61-70

61. Neuapostolische Kirche, Willich
62. Auferstehungskirche, Willich
63. St Michael, Waldniel
64. Kapelle St Maria an der Heiden, Overhetfeld
65. St Martin, Oberkrüchten
66. St Sebastian, Nettetal-Lobberich
67. Evangelische Kirche, Elmpt
68. Georg Kapelle, Brempt
69. St Anton, Schwalmtal
70. St Bartholomaus, Niederkrüchten

61. Neuapostolische Kirche, Willich

Franz-Liszt-Straße 9, 47877 Willich
http://www.nak-krefeld.de/site/startseite/gemeinden/willich/

This is the fourth of the Neuapostoliche Kirchen that I have visited here in Kreis Viersen and it looks just like the others (they seem to have very similar designs) and, like the other three, it is located in a residential side street and quite easy to overlook.

Willich NAK 1

Willich NAK 2

Auferstehungskirche, Willich

Krusestraße 20, 47877 Willich
http://www.emmaus-willich.de/auferstehungskirche

This church is already very familiar to me as it’s where the choir that I attend practices some of the time.

Auferstehungskirche Willich

Their website explains that the Auferstehungskirche (Resurrection Church) was built in 1931 as a small wooden chapel opposite the Evangelical school in Willich. The build was possible because of the help of the steelwork company Becker, many of whose workers came from the east of Germany. Many of these were protestants.

In 1962 a new church was needed due to the growth of the Willich congregation and it was constructed in its present form.

Auferstehungskirche Willich 2

You can see the tower on the left, the main church in the middle and the building on the right is part of the extensive church halls/music practice rooms etc.

This is a photo of the stained glass window which makes up the left hand side of the main church.

63. St Michael, Waldniel

Niederstraße 31, 41366 Schwalmtal
http://www.sankt-michael-waldniel.de/

This church is the central point of the pretty town of Waldniel which is in the Schwalmtal area.

Waldniel Church

I visited it partway through a long ride (101km) led by the ADFC. You can read more about that here.

64. Kapelle St Maria an der Heiden, Overhetfeld

An der Kapelle, 41372 Niederkrüchten-Overhetfeld
http://www.sankt-laurentius-elmpt.de/

Visiting this chapel was an almost 70km round trip and I did it on a day which started out in bright sunshine, had a colossal downpour and lightning storm in the middle and finished with warm sunshine again. Penelope was the right choice of vehicle for those conditions although I was a bit hot at times!

Screen shot 2014-07-28 at 17.11.33

I photographed this chapel whilst sheltering under an umbrella during a torrential downpour. It was still very pretty though!

Overhetfeld Kapelle St Maria an der Heiden

The chapel was built in 1703 and as a pilgrimage church was extended in 1734.

Here’s a picture of it from the church’s website in somewhat better weather conditions!

65. St Martin, Oberkrüchten

Kirchstr., 41372 Niederkrüchten
http://www.katholische-kirche-niederkruechten.de/

This church visit isn’t actually in the correct order as I originally spotted what I thought was another church in Breyell and photographed that. It was only later that I discovered I had actually photographed the Pastor’s house and not an actual church. From the photograph below you can see why I made this mistake!

Breyell St Lambertus

Anyway, I did visit St Martin, Oberkrüchten, on the Tour des Monats im Kreis Viersen (during which ride I also visited church number 70).

Here is the church – with a lot of other cyclists outside.

St Martin Oberkruechten

This was another one of the few churches that are actually open outside of services. I understand the reasons for this, of course, as there are valuables in these churches, but it’s a shame you can’t go in most of them. This one had solved that problem by the glass wall method – you can see but not touch!

St Martin Oberkruechten interior

The church has a website with lots of information but not organised in an easy way for someone like me to find out anything much about this church apart from when the services are. But it looks like it’s quite a busy community.

66. St Sebastian, Lobberich

An St. Sebastian 33, 41334 Nettetal
http://www.lobberich.de/stsebastian/

I spent ten days in Lobberich in August 2012 and somehow didn’t ever cycle past this impressively-large church.

St Sebastian Lobberich

The church was originally built in 1818 but as that century neared its close it was too small so in October 1893 the church was enlarged.

It was closed between 1987 and 1990 because of problems with the building (things were falling from the roof!) while repairs were effected.

Their website shows that there is also an almost-identical church, St Aloysius Iserlohn.

67. Evangelische Kirche, Elmpt

Schillerstr. 1, 41372 Niederkrüchten
http://www.kirche-brueggen-elmpt.de/Kirche-Brueggen-Elmpt

This was the church visited on my 126km cycle ride, whose route was as follows:
Screen shot 2014-08-07 at 15.10.18

Stopping to photograph this church almost led to me being flattened by a woman pulling out of a side driveway (as mentioned here). But I survived!

Evangelische Kirche Elmpt 1

Evangelische Kirche Elmpt 2

From the website it looks like they’ve got quite a lot going on.

68. Georg Kapelle, Brempt

https://www.niederkruechten.de/C12574B8002AED90/html/64BA69CCF8017F1AC12576CB00468175?OpenDocument

I went past this church two days running – and seeing as it’s a heck of a long way from Kempen that is quite impressive!

As is the chapel itself.

Georg Kapelle Brempt

Georg Kapelle Brempt 2

The website describes the following:

Zum wertvollsten kulturellen Erbe Niederkrüchtens gehört die St. Georgs-Kapelle von Brempt, die wahrscheinlich von den Herren der Burg Brempt aus gegründet wurde. Der einschiffige Ziegelbau mit dreiseitigem Chorverschluss wurde in spätgotischem Stil etwa um 1500, wahrscheinlich als Burgkapelle erbaut.

The chapel was founded by the lords of Brempt and was built from 1500.

69. St Anton, Schwalmtal

http://www.sankt-anton-schwalmtal.de/

This church was also visited on my 126km ride. It was impossible to get the whole church in shot, unfortunately! But here are Alfie and his friend the Wild One outside the door.

St Anton Schwalmtal 1

Parts of the current church date from 1490, including this inscription:


which, translated into German, is

Anno Domini 1490 und eins legte Wilhelm in der Linde und Lisbeth den ersten Stein, da war es also gestellt, dass ein Malter Roggen 7 ½ Gulden galt.

70. St Bartholomaus, Niederkrüchten

Dr.-Lindemann-Str. 3, 41372 Niederkrüchten
http://www.katholische-kirche-niederkruechten.de/

I visited this church whilst on the Tour des Monats im Kreis Viersen.

Screen shot 2014-08-07 at 15.06.40

The route went three sides of a square around the church but I did a small detour to go and visit it.

St Bartholomaus Niederkruechten

It was a large church with a more English-look to it than most around here.

So that’s church number 70 visited – here is the complete map of all the churches I have visited so far:

Churches in Kreis Viersen 1-70

I bought a new Garmin recently and have had issues getting the remaining church waypoints onto it (well, I managed, but then accidentally deleted them and can’t remember how I did it) so I may have to be a bit more organised about visiting the remaining 30 or so…

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Churches in Kreis Viersen: 51-60

This is the sixth batch of church visits that I’ve blogged about. You can read about 1-10, 11-20, 21-30, 31-40 and 41-50 as well.

Churches visited this time

Churches in Kreis Viersen 51-60

51. Wegekapelle Lind, Boisheim-Lind
52. St Peter, Viersen-Boisheim
53. St Gertrud, Dilkrath
54. Johanneskapelle, Dilkrath
55. St Jakobus, Lüttelforst
56. St Heinrich, Mülhausen
57. Johanneskapelle, Nettetal
58. St Mariae Rosenkranz, Willich
59. St Lambertus, Leuth
60. St Katharina, Willich

51. Wegekapelle Lind, Boisheim-Lind

Linder Straße, Viersen-Boisheim
http://www.viersen.de/C125704A0030C552/html/27C7C0AB9F49CCA5C125705F0033D05B?openDocument

I visited this chapel in the early evening, dragging triker friend Klaus with me. The normal photo of the church with my velomobile or trike now has an extra trike!

Wegkapelle Lind

The chapel is in the middle of the countryside between Boisheim and Dülken in the farming hamlet of Lind and was built in 1911-12 to commemorate the tornado of 1 July 1891. The neo-Romanesque brick chapel was built in a Latin cross plan overlaid on an Octagon. You can see the field of potatoes next door!

Wegkapelle Lind 2

The description of this chapel on the website gives an interesting insight into the purpose of some of these small chapels:

Weiterhin ist sie ein Zeugnis für die Fortführung des Jahrhunderte alten Brauchs, nachdem Hagelkreuze und Wetterkreuze in die “Flur” gesetzt wurden, um Gewitter, Sturm und Hagel abzuwehren.

This explains that crosses were placed in the church to ward off thunder, storm and hail, the continuation of a centuries-old rite.

I found this interesting to read as I had, during this cycle ride, asked Klaus if he knew why so many of these little chapels were built. He didn’t really know but wondered if it was to do with collecting lots of money and having to have something tangible to show for it.

On our ride we then visited a third chapel in the middle of nowhere east of Lobberich but as this was a wayside one (no services held there) I couldn’t really include it, but it was in a beautiful location so I’ve put a few pictures here.

This was a chapel to St Hubertus (he seems popular round here – he’s the patron saint of hunting, I believe).

Wayside chapel

Inside there are no seats (and it was all locked up), just a little altar.

Wayside chapel St Hubertus 2

And this was the view if you sat outside the chapel – lovely!

View from St Hubertus wayside chapel

Klaus and I spent about 10 minutes trying to identify what we could see. Kempen was visible in the far distance because of the white tower of the Propsteikirche but we weren’t sure if we could see Grefrath or Oedt directly ahead of us. It turned out to be Oedt, which I had suspected because of the chimney also visible. In the far background we could see the Hülser Berg (near Krefeld) as well as the other moraine upon which Tönisberg sits.

St Peter, Viersen-Boisheim

Pastoratstraße 3, 41751 Viersen
http://st-cornelius-und-peter.de/

I visited this church on the way to visiting the furthest-distance church of my challenge, the church in Lüttelforst. I did a different route there and back, as you can see from the track below. On the way there I took the more western track which passed through Boisheim after I crossed the A61 motorway

Screen shot 2014-06-18 at 09.34.33The church was a very impressive sight, for once not surrounded by buildings.

St Peter Boisheim 1

St Peter Boisheim 2

St Peter Boisheim 3And by the front door was this sign – ‘Church open’

St Peter Boisheim Kirche OffenIt wasn’t completely open, however. Well, you could go in the main doors but there were then some glass doors (with metal gates behind them) to prevent you going right into the church. However I was able to see the windows and it all looked rather nice.

St Peter Boisheim Interior 1There has been a church in this site for quite some time – in historical documents from 1290 it is mentioned that there is a ‘Capella’ in ‘Buyschem’.

A small brick church was built in 1487 and further enlarged in 1899, including the tower. The church was badly damaged in 1945 and repairs were completed in 1954.

53. St Gertrud, Dilkrath

Boisheimer Str. 52, 41366 Schwalmtal-Dilkrath
http://de.wikipedia.org/wiki/St._Gertrudis_%28Dilkrath%29
When I arrived at this church there was a large procession of people walking down the road, a priest talking through a loud-hailer and lots of general activity. It turned out there was a funeral taking place and the church service part had just finished, they were now walking to the cemetery (I presume).

So I waited a bit around the corner until people had left so that I didn’t disturb them with my photograph-taking.

St Gertrud Dilkrath 1Because the church was open following the funeral I popped in to have a quick look.

St Gertrud Dilkrath 2

St Gertrud Dilkrath 3The church was originally built in 1460 and was much enlarged from 1902-1904, including painting the brick red.

54. Johanneskapelle, Dilkrath

Genend, 41366 Schwalmtal-Dilkrath
http://www.limburg-bernd.de/Viersen/DenkSch/Nr.%2022.htm

This was a gorgeous little chapel hiding in the fields – I thought the waypoint on my Garmin must be wrong as I couldn’t see the chapel, just a strange white tower, but the chapel was hiding behind the tower.

Johanneskapelle 2

Johanneskapelle 1

55. St Jakobus, Lüttelforst

Niederstraße 31, 41366 Schwalmtal-Waldniel
http://st-matthias-schwalmtal.kibac.de/#

So I made it to Lüttelforst (which I had always assumed was spelled Lüttelvorst and so had been writing it wrong for ages). It is the furthest-away church in my challenge and was an 80km (50 mile) round trip. Great fun though!

This church is perched on a hill above the road and was a pretty steep climb for Penelope.

St Jakobus Luettelforst 1The church was built in 1802.

St Jakobus Luettelforst 2

This stone shows that a pilgrimage to Santiago de Compostela would be a bit of a trek from here!

St Jakobus Luettelforst 3

It also had rather a lot of mosquitoes buzzing around whilst I was visiting – undoubtedly due to its close proximity to the river.

Lüttelforst seemed a very quiet little village without much going on but apparently there is a good restaurant at Lüttelforster Mühle which I may visit some other time.

56. St Heinrich, Mülhausen

Kirchstraße 4, 47929 Grefrath-Mülhausen
http://www.grefrather-pfarren.de/index.php?id=185

I can’t tell you how many times I’ve passed this church and gazed up at its rather ugly tower.

St Heinrich Muelhausen 2

On my ride back on the main road from Grefrath I have to wait at a traffic light opposite this church and the traffic lights are slow so I see it a lot.

However, I decided to pop in on one particular day as I was doing a nice 30km loop around Kempen.

Screen shot 2014-07-25 at 12.05.09

Apparently it was built in 1900 in the neogothic style but it looks to me like some industrial chimney or something. It goes a long way back and the rest of the church looked reasonably interesting but that tower! It totally takes over the look of the church!

St Heinrich Muelhausen 3

57. Johanneskapelle Nettetal

an der B509 zwischen Leuth und Hinsbeck

At this point I have to admit something shocking – that a few of these church visits have not involved me cycling from Kempen. Instead I have visited them when starting my ride from Viersen (when I have been riding with Klaus). The original plan was to ride to all these churches from Kempen but it seems rude not to bag them when I am passing anyway, and it’s usually on a long ride, and I have probably ridden past them when having cycled from Kempen at some other time, etc etc. Excuses. I let you the reader decide if I have been cheating on my Churches Challenge.

Screen shot 2014-07-25 at 12.07.19

This chapel is situated beside a main road down the hill from Hinsbeck. I think it might be linked to Haus Bey, which is now a golf course/centre near the Krickenbecker See.

Johanneskapelle Nettetal

It was built in 1617 as a memorial to Sophia Gräfin von Schaesberg (1823-1844) and was renovated in 1854 and 1994.

There’s a photograph of the interior, plus further explanation of this chapel in English, on this Flickr page.

58. St Mariae Rosenkrantz, Willich

Krefelder Straße 354, 47877 Willich
http://st-maria-rosenkranz.kibac.de/

This is another church that I visited when riding from Viersen rather than Kempen.

Screen shot 2014-07-25 at 12.15.47

I wasn’t able to take a good photograph but here is one from their website.

Klaus took a picture of me sitting underneath the bells and desperately hoping that they wouldn’t ring…

Helen at Willich Pfarrkirche St Mariae

I wasn’t able to find out much information about this church at all.

59. St Lambertus, Leuth

Johann-Finken-Straße 2, 41334 Nettetal

I had passed this church several times on my travels but decided to visit it whilst leading a group ride with several of Gudula’s friends. I’m not sure they understood exactly why we were stopping at the church and I was photographing it but it was a nice day and time for a water break for them anyway!

Screen shot 2014-07-25 at 12.22.47Here they all are standing outside looking puzzled.

Leuth St Lambertus 1Here is Alfie with Gudula’s bike having a rest beside the church.

Leuth St Lambertus 2The webpage for this church seemed to be dead but this plaque tells you that the tower was built in the second half of the 15th century and the nave 1860-1861 in the neogothic style.

Leuth St Lambertus Plaque

60. St Katharina, Willich

Hülsdonkstraße 11, 47877 Willich
http://gdg-willich.kibac.de/sankt-katharina-willich/

Willich is pretty much at the bottom right hand side of Kreis Viersen and is somewhere I visit for the choir practices at the Auferstehungskirche but I hadn’t actually been into the centre of the town since arriving in Germany.

There were three churches to visit in Willich (including the aforementioned Auferstehungskirche) so I headed off directly to Willich, returning later via Anrath (where there are some nice cafés and for a variation in the route), riding 47km in total.

Screen shot 2014-07-25 at 20.31.55

I arrived at St Katharina – which is easy to see as it is yet another of these colossal churches whose spires are visible for miles around.

But when up close it’s impossible to fit the whole church in the photo!

St Katharina Willich 1

Round the corner, to get the side view, didn’t help much either because of the sun.

St Katharina Willich 2

Here’s a photo from Wikipedia:

“Kath. Kirche “St. Katharina” in Alt-Willich (Fotomontage mit blauem Himmel)” by Rolf van Melis, http://commons.wikimedia.org/wiki/File:St_katharina_willich.jpg

This was another church about which I found it very tricky to find information. There’s plenty of information about services and the kindergarten but little about history. However, Willich’s entry in Wikipedia explains that there was a church here in 800 AD. There was a big fire in 1675 where most of the village of Willich was destroyed, including the church which burned to the ground. The present church was built in 1901 in the neogothic style.

Churches 51-60 complete

So that brings to an end the next batch of 10 churches which have been scattered all over Kreis Viersen (I haven’t been very systematic in my visiting). But the dots on the map are spreading a bit wider now which is good news!

Churches in Kreis Viersen 1-60

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Churches in Kreis Viersen: 41-50

This is the fifth batch of church visits that I’ve blogged about. You can read about 1-10, 11-20, 21-30 and 31-40 as well.

Churches 41-50

Churches visited this time (click on image to expand it):

Churches in Kreis Viersen 41-50

41. St Nikolaus, Brüggen
42. Evangelische Kirche Brüggen
43. St Barbara Kirche in Brüggen-Holterheide
44. St Matthiaskapelle, Lötsch
45. St Maria Helferin der Christen Süchteln-Dornbusch
46. St Irmgardis, Süchteln
47. St Hubert, Kempen-St Hubert
48. Paterskirche/Franziskanerkirche, Kempen
49. Thomaskirche, Kempen
50. Neuapostolische Kirche, Viersen

41. St Nikolaus, Brüggen

Burgweiherplatz 5, 41379 Brüggen
http://www.st-nikolaus-brueggen.de/

I visited this church and a couple of others whilst riding to Brüggen to meet Oliver for cake. It was a 66km round trip as it’s one of the furthest points away from home within Kreis Viersen.

Track to Brueggen

It’s the by-now-familiar large pointy church in the centre of the town. But this time I had people with me so was actually able to appear in one of the photos!

Here am I with young Max.

Max and Helen at Brueggen Church

And here is the church on its own!

Brueggen Church 1

Interestingly the church building seemed to be attached to the other large building at ninety degrees to it (the Rathaus!) It would have been considerably prettier if it didn’t have that weird dark section on the side.

There was a sign saying that the church was open so I went in – but actually it wasn’t totally open but you were able to go into the side section and look through glass doors at the interior.

Inside Brueggen Church 1

Inside Brueggen Church 2

42. Evangelische Kirche, Brüggen

Alter Postweg 2, 41379 Brüggen
http://www.kirche-brueggen-elmpt.de/

I had cycled past this church without noticing it as it wasn’t particularly church-like externally.

Evangelische Kirche Brueggen 1

Although this large sign on the side ought to have given me a bit of a clue!

Evangelische Kirche Brueggen 2

The next-door building was part of the Diakonie which is a Christian healthcare charity. They had a large bell outside – I couldn’t see the bell tower at all from where I was standing.

Evangelische Kirche Brueggen 3

It turns out there was one, but it was right behind the church and not visible. You can see it in this photo.

43. St Barbara Kirche in Brüggen-Holterheide

St. Barbara Straße 43, 41379 Brüggen-Holterheide
http://www.limburg-bernd.de/Viersen/DenkBru/Nr.%2055.htm

Before visiting this church I had been told that it was well worth a visit by one of the local ADFC (cycling group) members. He (Hartmut) said:

Kennst du die “Kirche” im heidecamp in Brueggen Bracht? Eine sehr seltene Kirche gebaut aus einem Nissen Haus.

An unusual church built out of a Nissen hut – and indeed it was!

Heide Camp Church 4

Heide Camp Church 3

Heide Camp Church 2

Heide camp church 1

The church was built in 1957 within the barracks area of the former 3 Base Ammunition Depot (3 BAD) Brüggen-Bracht, a British forces area.

It is an elongated corrugated iron shack facing west with a semicircular cross section. The interior was rebuilt in 1965 after a fire.

Here is a photograph of the inside (not taken by me)

This was an interesting area as the barracks was part of the cold war defences, and this ammunition dump was built on an area of 12 square kilometres. It was the largest ammunition depot in Western Europe – although it has now been converted into a holiday camp.

44. St Matthiaskapelle, Lötsch

Lötsch 47a, 41334 Nettetal
http://www.sankt-lambertus-breyell.de/index.php?article_id=405

This church is an extra that wasn’t on my original list but I noticed it as I cycled past!

Although it’s a chapel there was a sign outside showing that it did still have a dozen or so services a year so I think it counts!

Loetsch Kapelle

As you can see, it was rather hiding behind some parked cars.

Loetsch Kapelle 2

According to the website it was built in 1960 on the site where previously there had been another chapel, which was dismantled in 1897.

This chapel is 8.35 metres long, 5.26 metres wide and with a maximum height of 4.8 metres, so pretty tiny! Here’s a picture taken in 1960 of the interior:

45. St. Maria Helferin der Christen Süchteln-Dornbusch

Barionstraße 12, Viersen-Süchteln
http://www.st-clemens-suechteln.de/

When I visited the trees were all in leaf so I couldn’t get a photograph that showed the church. Fortunately Wikipedia has a photo in winter:

This church was one that took a fair bit of effort to visit as it was directly the other side of the Süchtelner Höhen, a moraine which is a bit hilly really (the inclines are 9%-12%, depending on the route/direction). Still, I’d slowly winched my way over in Penelope some time back so I decided to go with Alfie (to make it a bit easier) – I knew this church was right on the other side so headed for it.

Screen shot 2014-06-13 at 22.30.44

The church was closed but I had a look around and took the obligatory bicycle photo.

Alfie at St Maria Hilfe der Christen

I managed to get a photo of the tower.

Tower of St Maria Hilfe der Christen

This church was built in 1855 and was the parish church of the farming communities of Dornbusch, Kölsum and Rennekoven.

One slightly weird thing about my visit was I saw three dead mice in various places around the church. Either they have a very effective cat somewhere or there’s some mystery mouse disease in Dornbusch.

46. St Irmgardis, Süchteln

http://de.wikipedia.org/wiki/Irmgardiskapelle

This was another church that Hartmut had talked about in an email although he hadn’t specified where it was. I certainly wouldn’t have randomly passed this one whilst cycling around as it was in the middle of a wood with just an earth track to reach it.

St Irmgardis Suechteln 1

The chapel is on the Süchtelner Höhen which is a moraine (whose name I can’t properly pronounce) and the particular part that the chapel is on is called Heiligenberg.

St Irmgardis 2

Writings show that in 1498 there was a small church on this site that was completely destroyed in 1589. In 1664 the current church, named for the saint Irmgard von Süchteln.

St Irmgardis 3

In September every year around the time of the Saint’s day for Irmgardis (4th September) there is the special Irmgardisoktav festival which is a procession on the Heiligenberg.

St Irmgardis 4

I assume the procession has something to do with all these stones!

St Irmgardis Stones

The Irmgardiskapelle is the start or ending point of the Irmgardispfad, a walking and pilgrimage route for cyclists and walkers between the Irmgardiskapelle and the Helenenbrunnen (a spring). As I cycled down into Süchteln from this chapel I saw lots of stone wayside pulpits/chapels which are presumably part of this.

47. St Hubertus, St Hubert

Hauptstraße 21, Kempen-St Hubert
http://www.pfarre-st-hubertus.de/

I pass this church at least once every day on my travels but I have waited until church number 47 to visit it!

This is the track of my local visits to this church and two in Kempen.

Kempen Church Bagging

The silhouette of this church is visible from miles around as St Hubert lies on a very flat plain. Close up it was rather tricky to see it in the photograph – I think winter photography might be better for churches!

St Hubertus 2

Here’s a view from the side which shows a bit more!

St Hubertus 1

A small chapel was built here in 1446 following a visit of Karl der Große. The chapel became the parish church in 1790 and was subsequently enlarged and renovated. Apparently the interior has very rich decoration – but the church was shut when I visited.

48. Paterskirche/Franziskanerkirche, Kempen

Burgstraße 19, 47906 Kempen
http://www.min-kempe.de/paterskirche.html
http://www.st-mariae-geburt-kempen.de/unsere-kirchen/paterskirche.html

I wasn’t entirely sure if I should include this church in my challenge as it’s no longer consecrated as a church but is now a museum.

Paterskirche plaque

This plaque gives an overview of the history of this church – it was built in 1631 as a church for the Franciscan order with various improvements over the years. It was badly damaged in WW2 and was repaired in 1953-54. It was closed in 1971 due to building issues and was repaired in 1978-79 to become the Museum for Niederrhein’s Religious Art.

Paterskirche 1

The church is closely surrounded by other buildings so it was hard to get a good look at it.

Paterskirche 2

Paterskirche 3

These metal letters spell out AD 1637, the year the first church was completed.

Paterskirche 4

49. Thomaskirche, Kempen

Kerkener Str. 11, Kempen
http://www.ekir.de/gemeindekempen/

Thomaskirche

I had visited this church for a service last year when I spent a week in Kempen.

Here’s a view inside taken last year.

And again…

The name of the church is a nod to perhaps the most famous person to come from Kempen – Thomas à Kempis, who wrote The Imitation Of Christ, one of the best-known Christian books on devotion, still in print today. In fact, you might be familiar with one of the sayings in the book: “For man proposes, but God disposes” — The Imitation of Christ, Book I, ch. 19.

This church was built in 1910 but the start of the protestant life in Kempen reaches 500 years back. Kempen was a very important pilgrimage town in Niederrhein as it had a relic of the Virgin Mary’s hair (apparently!). Around 1525 the first followers of Martin Luther’s new protestantism came to Kempen. However over the next two hundred years there were strong catholic actions to remove the protestants and the last protestants left the Kempen area around 1730. But things changed, particularly with protestant-friendly Krefeld becoming more important in the area, and soon there were many new residents who were protestant, including, later on, people from Russia, Kazakhstan and Siberia.

50. Neuapostolische Kirche, Viersen

Bismarckstr. 46, 41747 Viersen
http://www.nak-viersen.de/

An organised-by-SMS ride saw me cycling with fellow-triker Klaus in the early evening on a route that he had prepared. As we headed through Viersen I could see one of my church waypoints was just 100 metres or so off the track so I persuaded Klaus to let me divert to have a look at the church.

NAK Viersen

This is the third NAK (Neuapostolische Kirche) that I have visited in my cycling challenge – three out of a total of fifty churches is quite a high number, considering it’s an independent church denomination. There also appears to be one in the next village, Dülken, although I haven’t yet visited that one. As expected at 6pm on a Tuesday, during the Germany vs Portugal World Cup football match (score 4-0 to Germany), there was no-one there to let me in for a look around.

We spent just a couple of minutes stopped at the church but it had a rather beneficial side-effect as when we then continued up the road we bumped into another triker on an ICE Sprint (with Rohloff hub and Windwrap fairing) and ended up chatting to him for half an hour. We were on the same road for probably only 200 metres so a minute earlier or later we would have missed him – it was good to chat to Detlef.

3 trikes in Viersen

So I have now visited my first fifty churches in Kreis Viersen.

Churches in Kreis Viersen 1-50

It’s been a great way to visit some of the different parts of Kreis Viersen, and has required me to cycle over a few hills (something I usually avoid!), but, as you can see from my Google Map or the screenshot below, I still have a lot of places to visit – and they are mostly at least 20km away…

Screen shot 2014-06-17 at 09.17.45

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Churches in Kreis Viersen: 31-40

This is the fourth batch of church visits that I’ve blogged about. You can read about 1-10, 11-20 and 21-30 as well.

Churches 31-40

Churches visited this time:

Churches in Kreis Viersen 31-40

31. Kapelle in Haus Salus, Mülhausen
32. St Notburga, Viersen-Rahser
33. Anrath Evangelische Kirche
34. Pfarrkirche St Johannes Baptist, Anrath
35. St Clemens, Süchteln
36. Evangelische Kirchengemeinde Süchteln
37. St Clemens, Kaldenkirchen
38. Evangelische Kirche, Kaldenkirchen
39. Neuapostoliche Kirche, Lobberich
40. St Maria Helferin, Lüttelbracht-Genholt

31. Kapelle in Haus Salus, Mülhausen

Grasheider Straße 2, 47929 Grefrath-Mülhausen

http://www.snd-deutschland.de/?myELEMENT=220321

Here is the track for the ride to this chapel.

Muelhausen track

I hadn’t originally identified this as a church on my Google Map but I was cycling down Grasheider Strasse and spotted a cross on the roof of an interesting-looking building.

Muelhausen retirement chapelIt appears to be a chapel built into an old people’s home for retired nuns from the Schwestern Unserer Lieben Frau order. The building was constructed in 2003 so is still pretty new – there were people going in and out of the door when I cycled past. Apparently it has a cafeteria for general visitors.

32. St Notburga, Viersen-Rahser

Nelkenweg 3, 41748 Viersen-Rahser

http://www.st-remigius-viersen.de/remigius/gemeindebezirke/stnotburga/index.html

I visited this church when following a track provided to me by trike rider Klaus who regularly cycles past this church. I enjoyed following the route that someone else had prepared and got a chance to visit several new churches too.

Anrath church visit track 2 June 2014

As you approach Viersen-Rahser from Süchteln the square tower of St Notburga is a very obvious landmark on the horizon – and it is also visible from quite a long way to the east after I continued on.

It was a very large church which felt rather heavy and dark when up close.

Notburga Church Viersen-Rahser

This church was built in 1928-1929 with a few later additions. It’s a pretty impressive sight amongst an otherwise fairly quiet village attached to the north of Viersen proper.

Klaus, cycling chum who lives in Rahser, explained:

In the past we have had two churches in Viersen Rahser. One was at the Oberrahserstrasse but this church closed and ended up in an office building. A Kindergarten belongs to that church and you will find the sign in front of the building. The second church is the Notburga Church. It is a big one compared to the size of Viersen-Rahser but it is still in use.

This explained why I couldn’t find a church anywhere near the second waypoint I had in Rahser.

33. Anrath Evangelische Kirche

Jakob-Krebs-Straße 121, 47877 Willich-Anrath
http://www.ev-kirche-anrath-vorst.de/

After visiting St Notburga I felt hungry but couldn’t find a suitable-looking café so decided to ride on and detour into Anrath.

It was easy to see the spire of the Catholic church as I approached across some fields but as I whizzed down one of the main roads into the town I saw this rather lovely little church.

Anrath Evangelische Kirche

I had finally found a protestant church in this part of the Germany that I liked the look of!!

What’s interesting is that in other areas of Germany the churches are the other way round (the protestants have the old churches and the catholics the new), as was confirmed by one of my blog readers Gerhard who sent me photos of the churches in his area. Quite a different generally visual effect than the ones around here – much less use of white concrete!!

This church was built in 1910 but I was unable to find out any other information about it. I would have liked to see inside as it seemed so pretty outside but there was no-one at home!

34. Pfarrkirche St Johannes Baptist, Anrath

Kirchplatz 2, Willich-Anrath
http://gdg-willich.kibac.de/seiten/sankt-johannes-anrath/kirche

Anrath is dominated by the Pfarrkirche St Johannes, around which I regularly cycle on my way to choir practices in Neersen.

Wikimedia Commons image

Here is the photograph that I took.

Anrath Catholic Church

There happens to be a rather good bakery right opposite the church (as well as several others) so I think Anrath will become a regular stopping point.

Anyway, this church was built in 1898 in the popular Gothic Revival style. There had previously been a Romanesque-Gothic church from 1740 on the site but very little was preserved when the new building was started.

In World War 2 the pressure waves from bombs destroyed the historic glazing in the nave of the church and new windows were added in 1956.

This church spire is one of the highest in the surrounding area (79 metres to the weather vane) and its tower offers a wonderful view of the Niederrhein landscape from Düsseldorf to beyond the Süchtelner heights (according to a website – I shall have to go and have a look sometime!)

And, as an aside, ‘Süchteln’ the place name is something I have real trouble saying; it’s an entirely un-English-sounding word. So maybe I will have to ride up the heights (a moraine) sometime to see if that improves my pronunciation!

35. St Clemens, Süchteln

Ostring 22m 41749 Viersen-Süchteln
http://www.st-clemens-suechteln.de/

The day after I visited Viersen-Rahser and Anrath with Alfie I decided to do the same 52km round trip again, this time in Penelope, to compare my speeds. Obviously I didn’t bother visiting the churches in Rahser and Anrath again, instead I detoured to Süchteln to visit a couple there.

Suechteln church visit track 3 June 2014

(for general information, my average speed on Alfie was 18km/h for the 52km and in Penelope was 20.5km/h, so that’s how much faster I am in the velomobile).

Once again the main church of Süchteln (there’s that unpronounceable word again!), St Clemens, is what you see when approaching the village from all angles.

The church was built in 1481 and has a well preserved tower of 73 metres tall. It proved extremely difficult to get a photograph with the whole church in – but you can just see Penelope at the bottom.

St Clemens Suechteln

After taking some photos I stopped for a cake at a rather nice café.

36. Evangelische Kirchengemeinde Süchteln

Westring 23, 41749 Viersen-Süchteln
http://www.evkirchesuechteln.de/

This church was on my Garmin as a waypoint called ‘Evangelische Stadtkirche’ so it sounded pretty important. However I couldn’t quite see where it was and cycled around the general area without finding anything. Then I saw a lady who had been eating in the café where I had my cake and seemed to know a lot of passers-by at the time; she was clearly a local. So I asked her where the church was and she said “We only have one church in Süchteln, the Catholic Church.” This seemed odd but no doubt she knew. I set off down the only road in the general area I hadn’t ridden along yet and lo and behold saw a noticeboard for the Evangelische Kirchengemeinde. And there was the church!

Evangelische Kirchengemeinde Suechteln 1

It was rather tricky to get the whole church in without the sun making the photo too washed out. I didn’t really succeed but here is Penelope outside the church!

Evangelische Kirchengemeinde Suechteln 2

A bit of subsequent Googling suggests this building is called Katharina von Bora-Haus (Katharina was the wife of Martin Luther) and there’s another building that belongs to the Evangelical Church as well. I will have to make another visit!

37. St Clemens, Kaldenkirchen

Kehrstraße 30, 41334 Nettetal-Kaldenkirchen
http://www.stclemens-kaldenkirchen.de/ – a very colourful website!

I visited two churches in Kaldenkirchen and one in Lobberich on a hot afternoon’s ride on Alfie – hoping that the fresh air outside on the bike would be a bit cooler than staying inside the house. It sort-of worked.

This was my route to Kaldenkirchen and then Lobberich, with a scenic detour to avoid Kempen on the way back.

Kaldenkirchen churches track

St Clemens was the church right in the centre, of course, so I headed for that navigating by sight (you could see the spire most of the time). I had been to Kaldenkirchen before and enjoyed a waffle at the Eiscafé beside the church so I did the same (except they had run out of waffle mix so I had to have an ice cream).

Here is the church.

St Clemens Kaldenkirchen 1

It had this useful plaque with historical information.

St Clemens plaque

There have been several churches on this site since around 1450. This one was built in the late 1890s.

Alfie at St Clemens

The website for the church shows that there’s loads going on and it seems a pretty lively and active place.

38. Evangelische Kirche Kaldenkirchen

Kehrstraße 59-61, 41334 Nettetal-Kaldenkirchen
Gemeindebüro Friedrichstraße 46, 41334 Nettetal-Kaldenkirchen
http://evangelische-kirche-kaldenkirchen.de/

I had a waypoint for this church on my Garmin but when I arrived I saw this:

Kaldenkirchen Evangelical Church Hall

This is the Gemeindebüro (the office), not the actual church, as I soon realised. I have given both addresses above. I kinda wanted this to count as two churches in my visiting but it doesn’t really so it’s all just number 38!

The Gemindebüro, this building, was also the young people’s hall and they had lots of stuff going on, including this graffiti placard.

Kaldenkirchen Evangelical Church Hall Graffiti

The games hall for kids.

Kaldenkirchen Evangelical Church Hall Spielecke

Having seen the website for this church, they are also pretty busy with stuff going on. Clearly Kaldenkirchen is less moribund than many towns with regard to churches!

I needed to find the actual church so I looked on my Garmin map’s Points of Interest and it had the church so I followed the Garmin’s route and ended up pretty much round the corner from St Clemens.

Kaldenkirchen vangelische Kirche with St Clemens in background

This church was painted an unusual yellow, but I liked it – it looked very cheerful!

Kaldenkirchen Evangelical Church

The church was first built in 1672 but lots of renovations, cleaning and other improvements have been necessary over its lifetime.

Kaldenkirchen Evangelische Kirche Main Door

It was difficult to see the front façade as there were other buildings far too close – my back is against the wall of a building to take this photo.

Kaldenkirchen Evangelische Kirche front facade

A helpful plaque giving the history of the Evangelical church in Kaldenkirchen – and the info that some people left from here to the colonies in Pennsylvania in 1683.

Kaldenkirchen Evangelische Kirche plaque

39. Neuapostoliche Kirche Lobberich

Schulzenburgweg 1a, 41334 Nettetal-Lobberich
http://nak-krefeld.de/site/startseite/gemeinden/nettetal-lobberich/

As I headed back from Kaldenkirchen I passed through Lobberich and decided to divert to visit the nearest church, which happened to be another NAK (Neuapostoliche Kirche).

 

Lobberich NAK

I have visited the NAK church in Kempen already and written a little bit about it – many say that the NAK are a cult. I don’t know about that, but I was fortunate to bump into a couple of people coming out from the church. The lady had been taking away the old flowers and let me in to have a look at their main sanctuary. She said I could take a photo.

Lobberich NAK Interior

40. St Maria Helferin, Lüttelbracht-Genholt

Genholterstraße, Lüttelbracht-Genholt
http://www.rp-online.de/nrw/staedte/viersen/ein-platz-fuer-200-glaeubige-aid-1.1291921

I visited this church as part of a ride to Brüggen to meet fellow velomobile rider Oliver.

Track to Brueggen

This church was about 100 metres off my planned route so I thought it worth a visit – and it was!

St Maria Helferin Luettelbracht 1

St Maria Helferin Luettelbracht 2

You can see a chap cutting the hedge in the photos – when I arrived a couple were working on the gardens, with the lady mowing the lawn. The whole place was beautifully tended and there were some picnic benches at the corner of the plot. It was clearly lovingly cared for.

I chatted to the lady mowing the lawn and she said the church had celebrated its sixtieth anniversary a few years ago (as described in the newspaper article linked to above). It wasn’t built as a replacement for a church damaged in the war but was newly built in 1951 with space for 200 people, although the lady lamented that not very many people came any longer.

It was a rather lovely building, though, and the lady said she would have loved to show me inside but they didn’t have the keys with them today.

I found this website which has pictures of the stained glass windows inside: http://www.glasmalerei-ev.de/pages/b317/b317.shtml

All churches visited so far

Here’s the map of all 40 churches visited so far.

Churches in Kreis Viersen 1-40

Don’t forget you can also look at the zoomable Google Map here: https://mapsengine.google.com/map/edit?mid=zy_0KHlNFh70.k3R_awnvgbPs

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Churches in Kreis Viersen: 21-30

This is the third batch of church visits that I’ve blogged about. You can read about 1-10 and 11-20 as well.

Churches 21-30

Churches visited this time:

Churches 21-30

21. St Vitus, Oedt

22. Versöhnungskirche, Oedt

23. Kreuzkapelle, Kempen

24. St Cornelius, Tönisvorst-St Tönis

25. Evangelische Kirchengemeinde Sankt Tönis

26. St Remigius, Viersen

27. St Franziskus, Süchteln

28. St Mariä Himmelfahrt, Bracht

29. Evangelische Kirche, Bracht

30. Evangelisch – Freikirchliche Gemeinde, Bracht

So this is the map of all 30 churches visited so far.

Churches 1-30

 

21. St Vitus, Oedt

Kirchplatz 2, 47929 Grefrath-Oedt

www.grefrather-pfarren.de/index.php?id=184

I visited this church on Tuesday 14 May, also visiting churches in Tönisvorst on my way to Oedt.

Vorst and Oedt TrackSt Vitus was yet another blindingly-obvious church in the centre of the small village of Oedt.

It seemed like an enormous church although was built right beside a fairly busy road which made it rather difficult to park Penelope near it – she ended up at the side, being dwarfed by the building.

Penelope dwarfed by St Vitus OedtThe church itself was built between 1901 and 1903 although the tower wasn’t begun until 1910 due to lack of funds. It was completed in 1912.

St Vitus Oedt 1As I was cycling towards Tönisvorst on the start of this little journey I could see a church spire and a bit chimney close to each other – it turns out this was Oedt. No doubt the chimney is a very useful landmark for the locals – it’s visible in this photo.

Church and ChimneyThe chimney is for the company of Johannes Girmes & Co, founded in 1879.

 

22. Versöhnungskirche, Oedt

Bergweg 2, 47929 Grefrath-Oedt

http://www.ekir.de/krefeld/kirchenkreis/grefrath-oedt.php

This is the Evangelische church for Oedt and was less than 200 metres from St Vitus.

Versöhnungskirche Oedt 1You can see the Girmes chimney in the background as well.

The church had a plaque on the front that showed it was built in 1957. I think I prefer the red brick look to the white concrete of most of the other Evangelische churches I have visited so far.

I tried the door to the right hand side of the church and, lo and behold, it opened!

There was this painting that I rather liked as you walked in the door.

Versöhnungskirche Painting

There was a lady pottering about in the kitchen to the side and she came out to see me. I explained I was visiting lots of churches and asked if I could have a look inside the main sanctuary. She said of course, took out some keys (it was locked) and unlocked it for me so I could have a peek in.

Versöhnungskirche Oedt 2

I asked about the white ribbons on the chairs – were they for a wedding? She said no, for their confirmation service which was taking place this Sunday.

The church had some very faintly-coloured windows.

Versöhnungskirche Oedt Windows

The lady then decided to show me around the rest of the church – it has several rooms which she said they let out to lots of groups in Oedt.

This was the main hall – it was prepared for the choir practice later that evening.

Versöhnungskirche Oedt Church Hall

I commented that choirs seemed really popular in churches. She thought it odd that most UK churches don’t have one. I guess it depends what you’re used to but I, for one, like the fact there’s plenty of chance to join a singing or other music group in Germany.

She then showed me another room which had a divider from the previous room (but the whole area could be opened out). This was set out for a social tea and cake afternoon that would be happening there shortly. And, yes, there was a black-forest gateau on the table. I left without stealing any!

Versöhnungskirche Oedt Cake EventThe lady told me she was 82 and still very much involved in the church. It gave the impression of a place that was well used which was nice to see.

23. Kreuzkapelle, Kempen

An der Kreuzkapelle, 47906 Kempen
http://www.st-mariae-geburt-kempen.de/unsere-kirchen/kreuzkapelle.html

I visited this very small chapel on the way back from a random cycle ride to Krefeld. The track I’ve included is from the Kreuzkapelle home, rather than the wiggly track of my outward journey as well.

Track to Kreuzkapelle

The Chapel is situated on the edge of what is currently a building site for new homes on the south side of Kempen. I realised I was in the right place, though, because of the name of the road – Alter Prozessionsweg.

Alter Prozessionsweg

The chapel was originally built in 1639 according to an inscription in the main door. The chapel was also mentioned by the Kempen chronicler Johannes Wilmius (1584-1655). It’s currently only open on Good Friday and for other special events – and it was most decidedly closed when I got there. The gate in the fencing around the chapel was locked and it was all quite overgrown so hard to see.

Kempener Kreuzkapelle

Kempener Kreuzkapelle 2

It also serves as the 12th Station of the Cross, apparently – I spotted two others on my ride into Kempen but haven’t been able to find out any more information about them.

Kempener Kreuzstation 1

Kempener Kreuzstation 4

24. St Cornelius, Tönisvorst-St Tönis

Kirchplatz 17, 47918 Tönisvorst-St Tönis

http://www.st-cornelius-st-toenis.de/

I decided to visit the two churches in Sankt Tönis (part of a general area called Tönisvorst) on the 22nd May 2014.

This was my route to these two churches from home.

Track to Sankt Toenis

As you can see, on the way back I diverted through Krefeld-Hüls (to have a slice of cake and to have more of a variety of roads for the journey).

St Cornelius is the church that you can see from a long way away as you approach Tönisvorst on the Landstraßen, although once you actually get into the town you can’t see the whole building.

St Cornelius ToenisvorstHere is the obligatory photo of Penelope outside the church.

Penelope outside St CorneliusThere has been a chapel or church on this site since 1380. Part of the current tower dates from 1483 but it was mostly rebuilt in the middle of the 19th century, with the rest of the neogothic brick basilica built from 1903. There was some damage in the second world war which was repaired fairly quickly.

As usual the church was locked (I guess the problem with the catholic churches is the expensive decoration within that can’t be left for random people to pinch bits!) but I was very impressed by these flying buttresses on the side!

St Cornelius Toenisvorst Flying Buttresses

25. Evangelische Kirchengemeinde Sankt Tönis

Hülser Straße 57, 47918 Tönisvorst

http://www.ekir.de/krefeld/kirchenkreis/st-toenis.php

This church was just a short distance from St Cornelius (which was slap bang in the centre of Sankt Tönis), along the road that leads out towards Krefeld.

Evangelische Kirchengemeinde St Toenis

The flag that is flying to the right of the tower says ‘Kirche geöffnet’ – and indeed it was open!

Evangelische Kirchengemeinde St Toenis Interior 1

I walked up to the balcony to have a bit more of a look.Evangelische Kirchengemeinde St Toenis Interior 2

You can see how plain these Evangelische churches are. In some ways I quite like it but it doesn’t always feel that warm.

Outside was the now-familiar bell tower out on its own.

Evangelische Kirchengemeinde St Toenis belltower

26. St Remigius, Viersen

Goetersstraße 8, 41747 Viersen

http://www.st-remigius-viersen.de/remigius/index.php

I wanted to cycle to Viersen to check out the VHS (Volkshochschule, a kind of adult education college) so headed off on the 45km round trip. As I passed right by the main church in the centre of Viersen, St Remigius, I decided to stop and have a quick look. Here’s my track for the day, including an unfortunate diversion when I made the mistake of following official cycle route signs!

Track to Viersen and SuechtelnAnyway, here is St Remigius, a rather attractive light-coloured church but one which it was impossible to get in the frame!

St Remigius Viersen

There was a nice pedestrian square outside the church but it was still impossible to get a view of the whole building!St Remigius Tower

As Penelope wasn’t in the last two shots I decided to get a picture of her whilst eating a cake at a café which faced the church.Penelope and St Remigius ViersenI couldn’t find any historical information about this church on the website or elsewhere, unfortunately. Maybe some locals to Viersen can tell me a bit more about it!

 

27. St Franziskus, Süchteln-Vorst

Franziskusstraße, Süchteln-Vorst

http://www.st-clemens-suechteln.de/

As part of my unexpected diversion I cycled right by this church so stopped to take a photo.

St Franziskus Suechteln There were a few children hanging around outside this church on a Friday afternoon and I see from the website that there’s a kindergarten affiliated to it (although these children were too old for that), so it seems as though they have some events for youth as well.

However, once again I couldn’t find out any information about the history and buildings of this church on their website.

28. St Mariä Himmelfahrt, Bracht

Kirchplatz, 41379 Brüggen-Bracht

http://www.st-mariae-himmelfahrt-bracht.de/

I visited this church, and the two others in Bracht, on the way back from a gathering of recumbent trikes and velomobiles just over the border in the Netherlands. Here’s the route for the ride to Bracht.

Ride to Bracht track

St Mariä Himmelfahrt (which I visited on the day of Christi Himmelfahrt which seemed fitting) was another of the churches that are set in the centre of the town with buildings clustered around it. It was therefore impossible to get a photo of the whole church.

I caught this glimpse of the tower above a beergarden.

St Mariae Himmelfahrt 2

Here is Penelope outside the front door.

St Mariae Himmelfahrt 1

There seemed rather a lack of information about this church on the website – well, there was plenty of info about events taking place there but nothing much about its history!

29. Evangelische Kirche, Bracht

Königstraße/Ecke Marktstraße, 41379 Brüggen

http://www.ekir.de/krefeld/kirchenkreis/bracht-breyell.php

Just along the main street from the Catholic church was the Evangelische Kirche, looking initially just like one of the other buildings and houses along the road except for its spire.

Ev Kirche Bracht

It had this plaque on the wall with a short summary of its history.

Ev Kirche Bracht plaque

30. Evangelisch – Freikirchliche Gemeinde, Bracht

Stifterstraße 18-20, 41379 Brüggen-Bracht

http://www.baptisten-bracht.de/

This church is a baptist church (the first I’ve seen on my travels in Kreis Viersen, which is interesting compared to the UK which has a lot of baptist churches).

Baptist Bracht

The church has been in Bracht for 30 years and, as a free church, is not part of the state system. Their website says “membership of our church is of your own free will”. What this also means is that they don’t get church tax money so rely on the congregation to financially support them. They have a pastor and a couple of other church workers.

On the day that I visited, Christi Himmelfahrt, the whole road had been decorated!

Christi Himmelfahrt Decorations 2

Here is a close-up:

Christi Himmelfahrt Decorations 1

A look through their website gives the impression that this is very similar to a lot of the baptist churches in the UK, of the more conservative angle.

So I have now visited 30 of the 112 churches I have identified (green star means I have visited it, purple diamond means I have attended a service there, red pin means it is yet to be visited by bike)

All Churches Screenshot

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Churches in Kreis Viersen: 11-20

See here for my first blog post on visiting the 105 churches in Kreis Viersen that I have so far identified.

Churches 11-20

Churches visited this time:

Kreis Viersen churches 11-20

11. Kapelle Heumischhof, Kempen-Ziegelheide

12. Maria-Hilf Kriegergedächtniskapelle, Kempen

13. Evangelische Kirchengemeinde Tönisberg

14. St Antonius, Tönisberg

15. St Josef, Vinkrath

16. Friedenskirche Grefrath

17. Pfarrkirche St Laurentius, Grefrath

18. Kapelle St Peter, Kempen

19. St Godehard, Vorst

20. Evanglische Kirchengemeinde, Vorst

 

11. Kapelle Heumischhof, Kempen-Wall

Am Heumischhof, 47906 Kempen

www.st-mariae-geburt-kempen.de/unsere-kirchen/kapelle-heumischhof.html

This church was visited on Monday 5 May on a short ride in Penelope the Velomobile (I also visited number 12).

CIKV 5 May Track

I’d seen a sign for this church when cycling past a few days previously but it turned out to be slightly tricky to find as initially I just thought it was a barn.

Kapelle Heumischhof Sign

Kapelle Heumischhof

The door (with a sign that it’s a Denkmal or memorial/monument) showed that I had found the right place.

Kapelle Heumischhof door

The door was closed but a lady came out of the house next door and I had a brief chat. She didn’t know much about the church as she just rents the house next to it but said that it isn’t open for services very often but that the caretaker lives a couple of hundred metres away and I could always ask to have a look round. I didn’t want to disturb the caretaker so just took a photo of Penelope outside before heading off.

Kapelle Heumischhof and PenelopeI’ve subsequently found a bit more information on the website of the Kempen Catholic Church: Kapelle Heumischhof. Basically the chapel was originally built in 1908 as part of a planned additional Benedictine Abbey to the one at Mariendonk. However the huge rise in inflation meant that the Abbey couldn’t be built but the chapel at Heumischhof continued to exist and served the rural population as a house of worship and had its own priest. In 1941 it was completely destroyed by incendiary bombs but was rebuilt in the same year. Since the mid-90s the chapel hasn’t had its own priest and services are now only held there on special occasions.

 

12. Maria-Hilf Kriegergedächtniskapelle, Kempen-Ziegelheide

Kapellenweg, 47884 Kempen-Ziegelheide

www.limburg-bernd.de/Viersen/DenkKem/Nr.%20146.htm

This was less than half a mile from the Heumischhof Kapelle.

Maria-Hilf Kriegergedächtniskirche Sign

In amongst a very small hamlet of maybe eight houses I found this rather attractive little chapel.

Maria-Hilf Kriegergedächtniskirche

The Denkmal website for it explains that it was built in 1875 in the Gothic Revival style. The residents of Ziegelheide had wanted to produce a sign of their faithfulness to the Catholic Church because of the culture wars around the time of the First Vatican Council (1870-71). They called the church Maria-Hilf (Maria-Help) as it was built in honour of Mary, the comforter of the afflicted and helper of Christians. In October 1926 the chapel was turned into a war memorial.

The chapel was shut but I attempted to take a photo through one of the windows.

Inside Maria-Hilf Kriegergedächtniskirche

13. Evangelische Kirchengemeinde Tönisberg

Feldweg 8, 47906 Kempen-Tönisberg

www.ekir.de/krefeld/kirchenkreis/toenisberg.php

It’s surprising it’s taken me this long (five weeks) to visit this church as it’s pretty near, just three and a half miles away, and it’s also linked to the church that I attend in St Hubert (it shares the same minister, etc).

On a rainy afternoon I decided to pop out for a quick spin in Penelope and found myself heading towards Tönisberg. The clue’s in the name – it’s a mountain! (well, not quite, it’s a moraine and not thaaaat high) but I felt like I had enough energy to winch myself up in my heavy velomobile. So I did.

My Garmin had one church in Tönisberg but it became apparent very quickly that that church, the Evangelische Kirche, was not the only one – I could see a whacking great church spire which was not where my church waypoint suggested. No surprises, it was a large catholic church, which I visited next.

Anyway, this was my route to the two Tönisberg churches:

Tönisberg Churches Track

The Evangelische Kirche is tucked away down a quiet residential street with just a fairly small road sign pointing to it. It wasn’t even that obvious as the church tower was hiding behind a tree as you viewed it from the road.

Tönisberg Evangelische Kirche 1Up a bit closer it still looked a bit weird – like a bungalow with a strange concrete tower outside.

Tönisberg Evangelische Kirche 2And it looked as though it was built on top of someone’s house!

Tönisberg Evangelische Kirche 3

I wondered if this was the house of the Pfarrer (the minister) but friend Anja told me it’s where the church caretaker/verger lives. The Pfarrer lives in one of the houses opposite.

Despite having the church magazine for this church I couldn’t find out any information about its history except for a plaque on the front showing that it was built in 1974.

14. St Antonius, Tönisberg

Dr.-Laakmann-Gasse 2, 47906 Kempen-Tönisberg

www.hubertus-nikolaus.de

This is the church that was the owner of the large steeple I could see as I cycled into Tönisberg.

St Antonius 1

It was yet another of these buildings that was so large, but closely surrounded by houses and shops, that you can’t really see the whole thing at once.

This history plaque was beside the front door to the church.

St Antonius Plaque

In summary, there had been various chapels in the general area linked with the name St Antonius from the early 14th century. The present church was completed in 1898.St Antonius 2

St Antonius 3Reading the Wikipedia article on this church, it appears that in 2012 it ceased to have its own Priest and was joined in a group with the St Hubertus Schaephuysen and St Nikolaus Rheurdt churches.

It was a shame I couldn’t look inside as I expect it is rather nice, seeing how high it is. The external view is rather dark and forbidding, however, with all the red brick.

15. St Josef, Vinkrath

Dorfstraße 3, 47929 Grefrath-Vinkrath

http://www.grefrather-pfarren.de/index.php?id=183

On 13 May I decided to ride to Vinkrath to check out the church I had on the map as I wanted to visit Grefrath briefly and Vinkrath was on the way. I ended up visiting three churches (numbers 15, 16 and 17) and this is the route that I took:

Vinkrath and Grefrath trackMy route to Vinkrath went past Abtei Mariendonk (as usual), as I took the more northerly route on my outward journey.

St Josef is a beautiful little church set in the middle of a small group of houses that makes up the hamlet of Vinkrath, barely 500 metres from the larger town of Grefrath.

St Josef VinkrathThe website for the church (given above) seems to have an amazing lack of information. It just says:

Die vergleichsweise kleine Josefskirche in Vinkrath mit der großen Rosette über dem Hauptportal weist eine interessante Innenraumgestaltung mit zahlreichen modernen Elementen auf.

In other words, it’s got a large Rosette window above the main door and an interesting interior (which I couldn’t see as it was shut) which includes lots of modern elements.

I could see on my Garmin another church listed fairly near so I headed off to it but it turned out to be one of the wayside chapels – I’m not including them on my Churches in Kreis Viersen challenge!

16. Friedenskirche Grefrath (Evangelische Kirchengemeinde Grefrath)

Friedenskirche Grefrath, An der Ev. Kirche 23, 47929 Grefrath

http://www.ekir-grefrath.de/

Another modern Protestant church of the Square-Edged concrete variety.

Friedenskirche GrefrathThe red van outside contained a workman eating his lunch and there was another chap doing building stuff around the side. I wandered to the main doors (to the left of the picture) and found, to my surprise, that they were open.

There was no-one about but I thought it OK to take a quick peep inside the church.

Friedenskirche Grefrath Interior 1The stained glass windows were very pale – they let a lot of light in which was good with that very dark wooden wall at the front.

Friedenskirche Grefrath Interior 2I was pleased to be able to see inside – I think most of these protestant churches are better from the inside with the coloured glass windows and other decoration; the white, blocky exteriors aren’t very appealing to me.

17. Pfarrkirche St Laurentius, Grefrath

Deversdonk, Grefrath

http://www.grefrather-pfarren.de/

This church is right in the middle of the pedestrian bit of Grefrath and it took me a while to work my way by bike to the front (there were steps from the side which I decided not to drag Penelope up).

Pfarrkirche St Laurentius GrefrathThe church is the oldest building in Grefrath, parts of it being first constructed in  1492. It has a variety of different building styles – a romanesque tower of sandstone, gothic main church building and a 1960s extension of neo-romanesque red brick.

I liked the Greek ‘Ichthus’ (fish) lettering as you approached the main doors. For those who aren’t aware of this, Ichthus was an early code word for Christians, with the letters spelling out the Greek words “Jesus Christ God’s Son Saviour”. It’s why you get fish plaques on the back of cars – usually cars driven badly!

St Antonius Brickwork FloorWhat really caught my attention, however, was a stone memorial around the side of the church.

Grefrath Memorial 1There was a Menorah (Jewish Candle) design at the top and then some further engraving.

Grefrath Memorial 2It’s a memorial to the murdered Jews of Grefrath and Oedt in the second world war.

There was a list of names on the other side.

Grefrath Memorial 3I thought this was a very effective memorial and it is obviously used as a focal point for some memorial events, as this newspaper article from January 2014 explains.

 

18. Kapelle St Peter, Kempen

St. Peter, 47906 Kempen
http://www.st-mariae-geburt-kempen.de/unsere-kirchen/kapelle-st-peter.html

I visited this chapel (and the four churches following) on Tuesday 14 May, a day when the sun was shining and it was ideal weather for a little cycle ride.

This is the route I took to visit this chapel in Kempen, two churches in Vorst and two in Oedt.

Vorst and Oedt TrackI had been past this church before on one of my previous visits to the area, on the 17 March 2013, and had taken a quick photograph of it. Now was my chance to get a closer look.

St Peter Kapelle KempenThe chapel was shut, unfortunately, but there was a tall stone outside which had a fair bit of information.

Kapelle St Peter Plaque TallIt explains that the Chapel of St Peter is the oldest church in the Kempen area.

Kapelle St Peter PlaqueThe plaque goes on to explain that, according to legend, Charlemagne got lost around 800 AD in the woods here. After he found out his way out again, he ordered the building of this chapel.

Around 1000 AD the main body of the church and the east Choir were built in romanesque style. At the end of the 14th century the baptism chapel (today the sacristy) was built to the south.

In the belltower there’s a 50kg bronze bell that was poured in 1667.

There’s a bit more information about the interior and then the plaque finishes with the words “Every Sunday many believers from the local area celebrate Mass here” – it was nice to know that this chapel was still in use as several of the others that I’ve visited are no longer used for services.

 

19. St Godehard, Vorst

Kuhstraße 11, 47918 Tönisvorst

http://www.godehard-vorst.de/

This church is fantastically situated right in the middle of Vorst (as one might expect) but, as a bonus, there is a road directly opposite it so it means I was actually able to take a photograph of the entire front façade of the church for once!

St Godehard VorstThe church was closed but there was a very nice bakery next to it so I went and had a slice of cake and chatted to several locals.

According to the website of this church, it was built in the neogothic style in the late 19th century. The cross-shaped main sanctuary is 40 metres long and 20 metres wide and there is space for 2,100 people. The tower is 75 metres high and there are 100 steps up to the balustrade.

Here is a picture of the interior lifted from the church’s website:

After visiting this church I went to see one of the ‘unknown’ ones that I had found on my map of Kreis Viersen. Here’s the map with the relevant church circled in blue:

Vorst Missing ChurchTo the left of this (above the cup icon) is the red church symbol for St Godehard, the black church symbol to the south-west is the Evangelical church that I visited next (number 20 below) but I couldn’t find any sign of a church at this location slightly to the east of the centre. All I could find was a school there – and my Garmin (which has its own list of Points of Interest from OpenStreetMaps) didn’t have a church listed in this place. So it’s either a map error or a church that has been knocked down and turned into a school (mind you, the school didn’t look that new).

Mystery unsolved, I headed off to the next church in Vorst.

20. Evangelische Kirchengemeinde Vorst

Lutherstraße 2c, 47918 Tönisvorst

http://www.ev-kirche-anrath-vorst.de/

This was yet another Evangelical church tucked away in a housing area but, rather unusually, it wasn’t painted white but was instead of red brick.

Evangelische Kirche Vorst 1

And from the other side

Evangelische Kirche Vorst 2It also had a rather dramatically unattached spire. It was extremely difficult to fit the whole thing in a photograph – I just about managed here.

Evangelische Kirche Vorst Spire

This was from the other side – better light but no chance to fit the whole thing in; I had my back to the wall of the neighbouring CVJM building (a German YMCA).

Evangelische Kirche Vorst Spire 2The website for this church is being changed so there was no information about it available.

20 of 105 churches visited

Below is a screenshot of my Google Maps document with all the churches to visit (red symbols). Green are those visited, purple diamond is a church visited and which I’ve actually attended a service in, and pink square is a church I couldn’t find (the one in Vorst today). Bearing in mind that I live at the top right hand side of the map (near the purple diamond of St Hubert) I’ve got some quite long cycle rides to visit some of the churches at the bottom left hand side in due course! Churches in Kreis Viersen - 22 out of 105

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Churches in Kreis Viersen: 1-10

One of my challenges for my year (or more) in Germany is to cycle to all the churches in Kreis Viersen.

Kreis Viersen is sort-of equivalent to a UK local council area, such as Tendring in Essex where I live. Here is some information from the German Wikipedia site about Kreis Viersen:
Kreis Viersen details

So with an area of 570 square kilometres which makes it 1/37th of the size of Wales or the same size as 78,820 football pitches (two random measurement units often found in the UK media – I couldn’t find out how many Double Decker Buses would fit in a square kilometre, unfortunately) it’s a reasonably large area. Kempen is also right at the top right hand side of Viersen so I would be ranging a reasonable distance to visit churches on the bottom left hand side, roughly 36km or 22 miles.

Here is the map of Kreis Viersen (roughly). Click to enlarge.

Detailed map of Kreis ViersenI have made a Google Map with all the churches (that I have so far identified) marked on it – red if I haven’t yet visited them, green stars if I have been outside them and purple diamond if I have attended a service there.

As there are rather a lot of churches to visit I thought I’d break up my reports into batches of 10. I am not planning to visit the churches in any particular order, I’ll just visit whichever ones I am passing or that take my fancy one day. I have all 112 as waypoints on my bike’s Garmin so can see when I am passing reasonably near to them and can divert a little.

So… churches 1 to 10 which were visited in April were:

1. Evangelische Kirchengemeinde St Hubert (Gustav-Adolf Kirche)
2. Katholische Pfarre St Josef, Kempen-Kamperlings
3. Christus Centrum Kempen
4. Christ König, Kempen
5. Neuapostolische Kirche, Kempen
6. St Marien – Die Propsteikirche St Mariae Geburt
7. Friedenskirche Neersen,  Willich
8. Abtei Mariendonk
9. Evangelische Kirchengemeinde Hinsbeck
10. St Peter Nettetal-Hinsbeck

And here are the locations on the map (click to enlarge)

Churches of Kreis Viersen 1-10

1. Evangelische Kirchengemeinde St Hubert (Gustav-Adolf Kirche)

Martin-Luther-Straße, 47906 Kempen-St Hubert

www.ekir.de/krefeld/kirchenkreis/st-hubert.php

Gustav-Adolf Kirche SignThe church is situated in a residential street on the western outer edge of the village of St Hubert.

It is the church that I have been attending as a ‘regular punter’ since I arrived in Kempen.

Gustav-Adolf Kirche Outside

This is a small wooden church but with a lot of rooms behind in which the choir, for example, practice. The bell is not in the bell tower but on the ground outside the front of the church. It is rung during the Lord’s Prayer and at other times (during confirmations), as well as before the service.

Gustav-Adolf Kirche Bell

Gustav-Adolf Kirche Bell Plaque

There are some rather lovely stained glass windows inside.
Gustav-Adolf Kirche Window

The history of the church was briefly explained to me by a parishioner. She said that originally St Hubert only had a catholic church and the protestants in the village had to go to the Thomaskirche in Kempen, two miles away. There wasn’t a lot of money amongst the parishioners so they didn’t think they could build a church. However, a businessman in Sweden offered to pay for all the wood to build the church and to send over some local builders to construct it and so the church was built.

The interior of the church is (not unsurprisingly) generally of wood with a corresponding dry acoustic for the singing. The chairs looked fairly new and were of a different, light wood and were reasonably comfortable – always important in German churches where you seem to sit for quite a long time (they don’t stand up to sing hymns).

Gustav-Adolf KircheThe organ, which seemed quite decent, is seven years old and has two manuals and the church is very proud of the fundraising which enabled them to build it.

It’s a very friendly community and they seem to have welcomed me. I’ve been to a communion service and a confirmation service already and it seems they have a lot going on within the community – they also hire out their rooms to the local catholic church (much larger) when they have special events such as First Communions and need more rooms for the after-event parties! Members of the Da Capo Choir, with whom I sing, sometimes sing for services at this church; several attend the Catholic church in St Hubert so it’s nice to see people visiting each others’ churches.

2. Katholische Pfarre St Josef, Kempen-Kamperlings

Eibenweg 1, 47906 Kempen

www.st-mariae-geburt-kempen.de/unsere-kirchen/st-josef.html

I visited this church when also bagging several others in Kempen, on Alfie the trike, as this GPX track from my Garmin shows:

CIKV 11 April Track

It’s one I’ve cycled past many times as it’s on the old Bahn Radweg (railway cycle route) which goes from Nettetal-Lobberich to Kempen.

There was originally a church on this site in 1970 but it was a prefabricated building and in not very good repair with some structural defects so the diocese decided to build a new church, parish hall and office area. The church was consecrated in 1990.

The architecture consists of a mainly polygonal structure with lots of nested spaces under one tent roof. The centre of the building is dominated by the 38 metre high tower. The church is roofed with lead and has some attractive stained-glass windows created by the artist Josef Ebnöther.

St Josef Kempen Kamperlings

The noticeboard showed that they have quite a lot going on – I wasn’t surprised as I saw several people going into the church despite me visiting on a weekday.

St Josef Kempen Kamperlings Service ListThe church is located right in the middle of a housing area and I liked its overall design and position – the tower is visible from the Bahnradweg although you can’t see the rest of the church due to all the foliage around.

3. Christus Centrum Kempen

Dunantstraße 23, 47906 Kempen

www.christus-centrum-kempen.de

I had looked at this church’s website before I moved to Germany and had downloaded a couple of their podcasts of sermons to see what they were like. They seemed most like some of the more charismatic evangelical free churches in the UK and their style isn’t something I like (nor, do I imagine, we would agree much on theology). However I was interested to see that there are some of the newer churches in Germany and it’s not just the traditional Catholic and Protestant churches in Kempen.

I initially cycled past the building. I’m not sure what I was expecting but it looked just like a car tyre shop or some other basic shop front.

Christus Centrum 1

Christus Centrum 2

I had arrived outside of their office opening times and there wasn’t much to see so I headed off to the next church, just around the corner.

4. Christ König, Kempen

Concordienplatz 12, 47906 Kempen

www.st-mariae-geburt-kempen.de/unsere-kirchen/christ-koenig.html

This is another catholic church in Kempen affiliated to the main group (Mariae Geburt). It was built in 1968 when Kempen the town had expanded to the north and it was felt that a new church was needed to serve the people there. Unfortunately some major structural problems with the building were discovered in the mid 1980s and it had to be rebuilt.

Christ König 1991The new church was consecrated in 1993.

Christ König

The main idea of the church is “The King Jesus Christ rules through service”. The symbolism is in the address, Concordienplatz (place of concord) which faces the King’s Wall. The interlocking of the church and the secular area (which has some shops) is another part of the theme of this parish.

Christ Koenig

I was rather disappointed that the church was shut as I had hoped to get a look from inside at these windows – I think they would be quite impressive. Instead you can see me with the shops reflected behind.

Stained Glass Helen

5. Neuapostolische Kirche Kempen

Birkenallee 15, 47906 Kempen

http://nak-krefeld.de/site/startseite/gemeinden/kempen/

It took me a little longer to find this church than I expected as I cycled straight past it – it looked rather like the houses that surrounded it.

NAK Kempen

NAK Kempen CloserI had seen a NAK church before in Falkensee near Berlin and a friend there had mentioned that they are a cult. I know very little about them but there’s a fairly extensive Wikipedia article which gives more information.

6. St Marien – Die Propsteikirche St Mariae Geburt

An St Marien, 47906 Kempen

www.st-mariae-geburt-kempen.de/unsere-kirchen/st-marien.html

Full marks to this church for having such an excellently long name, having the road it sits on named after it and – best of all – for being open when I visited on a weekday.

Propsteikirche 2

Propsteikirche 3

It’s such a large building and in the middle of the fairly densely-packed centre of Kempen that I couldn’t get a picture with the whole church in the frame. From outside Kempen, as you approach on some of the main roads in, it’s clearly obvious as the highest point for a few miles around. I like that aspect of towns and villages in this part of Germany – the churches are what you can see.

Propsteikirche 1

The interior was lovely.

Propsteikirche Interior 1

Propsteikirche Interior 2

This is the main Catholic church in Kempen and the other Catholic churches are linked to it. Almost all the other churches I’ve visited so far have been under 100 years old but this one is rather older – the original foundation stone was laid in 1200. The original small brick church had various additions in the 14th and 15th centuries, as well as a Lady Chapel built in the north aisle.

Kempen was a place of pilgrimage and received a large influx of pilgrims until the growing importance of the Kevelaer Pilgrimage route reduced its popularity. In 1490 the present church was completed.

Shortly before the end of World War 2 the church was badly damaged in a bombing raid. Fortunately the works of art and altars had been relocated or protected and so they were preserved. Restoration of the church took five years and it has had subsequent renovation work from 1980 to 1993.

I gather that they have a decent organ here and have some organ concerts and other music so I expect I will be visiting before too long for some cultural music!

 

7. Friedenskirche Neersen, near Willich

Bengdbruchstraße 1, 47877 Willich
www.emmaus-willich.de/friedenskirche

Friedenskirche Neersen Official PhotoI did cycle to this church and was able to get in and have a look around but this was because I combined my church visit with a choir practice at this very church.

Neersen TrackThe Friedenskirche is a member of the Evangelische Emmaus-Kirchengemeinde, a group of three Protestant churches in Willich. We will be having our choir practices in all three.

Friedenskirche Neersen Sign

It is another church of the rather concrete-and-sharp-angles school of design. There are few old protestant churches in this part of Nordrhein-Westfalen, it seems, and the 60s architecture can be a bit hard on the eyes.

Friedenskirche Neersen TowerWe were there on quite a warm day and I was consequently wearing summer clothing. Everyone else had jumpers and scarves when they arrived – it turns out the church is usually freezing. However something was clearly wrong with the heating as it was at 24 degrees and everyone was roasting – except me! The Pfarrer appeared to see if he could fix the heating and he turned out to be surprisingly dishy; I may visit again!

Friedenskirche Neersen

8. Abtei Mariendonk

Niederfeld 11, 4929 Grefrath

www.mariendonk.de

Abtei Mariendonk

I have cycled past this church what feels like dozens of times over the last couple of years as whenever I have holidayed in Niederrhein (and I have stayed here three times) I have used local GPS tracks for good cycle routes and most of them go past Abtei Mariendonk at some point.

It’s a still-functioning Benedictine Convent and I did once see three nuns cycling out of a gate. However since I’ve moved to Kempen I’ve cycled past four times and not seen anyone about at all. They seem to be having building work (I believe to create step-free access for disabled people) but there is never any sign of people doing work, just a few machines sitting idly.

Although the church itself looks nice it is surrounded by some less-attractive buildings.

Abtei Mariendonk buildingsYou can stay there apparently for a retreat or quiet time and it’s nicely in the middle of nowhere so that would be rather pleasant – although there are always cyclists passing, of course!

9. Evangelische Kirchengemeinde Hinsbeck

Parkstraße 22, 41334 Nettetal-Hinsbeck

www.lobberich.de/kirchen/evangelisch/start-rechts.htm

The same day that I visited Abtei Mariendonk I carried on to Hinsbeck (which is a hill!) and visited the two churches on the top of the hill.

CIKV 21 April TrackAs I approached Hinsbeck it was clear to see the competition between the Catholics and the Protestants as to who had the best spire. The Catholics won!

Battle of the SteeplesThe Evangelische Kirche was tucked away in a residential part of the village. Mind you, it wasn’t exactly easy on the eye so perhaps good that it wasn’t that easy to spot!

Hinsbeck Evangelische Kirche 1

This photo was taken by some very nice people I bumped into, although they weren’t able to get the top of the church in as well.

Hinsbeck Evangelische Kirche 2I chatted at length to these passers-by who said that the Evangelical church in Kaldenkirchen is much more attractive – I assured them that I would be seeing ’em all!

This church was also closed as it was a weekday.

10. St Peter Nettetal-Hinsbeck

Oberstraße 16, 41334 Nettetal

http://st-peter-nettetal-hinsbeck.kibac.de/index.html

This is the large Catholic church in Hinsbeck and its website looks like it has lots going on.

Hinsbeck Catholic Church

It was built in 1882 and the 64 metre high steeple became a focal point of the village. However there had been a previous church on the site with aspects dating to 1441.

Not only the church but most of Hinsbeck seemed closed when I visited (no bakeries open!) so I didn’t stay long but headed back.

 

I hope you’ve enjoyed this brief look at some of the churches in Niederrhein and their variety (as well as their similarities!)   Only another 102 to go!

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