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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: 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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Filed under Churches in Kreis Viersen, Cycling in Germany, Six Wheels In Germany

Penelope goes to Venlo

Today Penelope returned to her home country of the Netherlands.

Today is 1st May and in Germany it’s a public holiday – thus most of the shops are shut. So it seemed like a good day to visit the Netherlands (I had already checked and that was still open).

Yesterday I happened to pass the chocolate factory in Kempen and so wandered in to get a few things…

Choc Factory Visit 1

That lot cost me about £8 (9,70€)

I had to fit it all into the velomobile which already had lots of tools, a spare tyre, a large casserole dish, some maps, a water bottle, a heavy lock, some Gü Chocolate Cheesecake dessert Pots, a couple of bread rolls, an Apfeltasche pastry, a loaf of sliced bread and some other stuff too.

Choc Factory Visit 2

You can fit a lot of stuff in a Velomobile although I found the large free blue bucket that I was given by Self (a DIY shop) didn’t fit very well and I had to put it under my chin.

Anyway, 1st May seemed like a good day to take Penelope to Venlo, except I had to do some repairs first. Last night, when cycling back from choir in the dark, I realised that the lights weren’t working properly. A previous owner, Wilfred, had arranged it so I have two front light settings – Bright and Brighter. There’s also the option of flashing the front lights using a button on the handlebars. Last night it became clear that the Bright setting wasn’t working, nor was the flashing, although if I switched on the second front light switch (for Brighter) then there was some light, although not enough to cycle fast on unlit lanes.

Not only that, my car had been off the road for the last six days – the flat battery before I went to SPEZI was still not sorted. Frank (the landlord) had charged up my battery but it wasn’t working so he had brought a replacement from work today.

First things first, a dog walk.

As I stepped out of the house I noticed that the tree outside was decorated with streamers.

Decorated tree

It turns out that this is a May 1 tradition. As friend Olaf explained to me:

It’s a “Maibaum”, erected by young men courting a girl. http://de.wikipedia.org/wiki/Maibaum Have a look at “Liebesmaien”.

“In einigen Teilen Deutschlands, zum Beispiel im Rheinland, …. ist es üblich, dass männliche Jugendliche und junge Männer am Haus der Freundin oder Angebeteten einen Baum anbringen. Üblich sind vor allem mit buntem Krepp-Papier geschmückte Birken, wobei die Farbe der Bänder ursprünglich eine Bedeutung hatte. Am Baum wird ein sogenanntes Maiherz aus Holz oder festem Karton angebracht, in das der Name der Angebeteten eingraviert und in der Regel auch ein Spruch als Zuneigungsbekundung geschrieben wird.”

Clearly it was for Lara (or possibly for Penelope?) but Lara is, as yet, none the wiser as to the secret admirer. Rather fun!

Anyway, Pops and I went out for a good walk in the early morning sunshine. She took her stick with her.

Morning dogwalk

This is a view of Escheln, the hamlet where I live. Idyllic!

Morning view of Escheln

And here is the asparagus growing in the local Spargelhof (where I also get fresh strawberries most days).

Spargel growing

So back to the electric repairs on velomobile and car… with my electronic engineer husband in another country.

Last night Alex, Penelope’s former owner, had told me that it was probably just a plug that had come out through vibration and it’s a pretty easy fix. So I stuck my head in to look – sure enough, the black box which should have had two plugs in it only had one – and the other one was dangling in mid air.

Here’s a photo so you can see what I mean – a photo that was taken on 22 April, so over a week ago. Shows how observant I am that the light wasn’t working!

Penelope unplugged

This is all right in the footwell beyond the pedals so I had to go head-first into the velomobile in a rather inelegant fashion but I plugged the plug in and lo and behold the lights now worked!!

Success!

Buoyed by this, it was time to tackle the car (with Frank’s help).

Dead car

Frank put the new battery in and turned the key.

The engine seemed to turn over OK but it didn’t start.

Oh dear.

Frank then disappeared into the garage and returned with a selection of tools. He proceeded to remove the spark plugs from the car and had a good look at them. With them out he then tried to turn the car on again for a bit – it was all a bit smelly but of course it didn’t start. He then put the spark plugs back in again (he told me the German for them – something Kerzen (candles)), turned the key and lo and behold the car started!

Frank’s diagnosis – because the car had been sitting for a couple of weeks, some unburnt fuel which had been there had settled and got a bit mucky. He suggested I take the car for a 10 minute drive to clear out the pipes and that I would need to use it once a week to keep this from happening again. He said he would also recharge the original battery, put it back in and see if it’s OK.

So I drove my car up towards Stenden and then back again. It was good to have had a successful morning of mechanical repair (although Frank gets all the credit for the car fix). Whilst we were doing the car Gudula took Poppy for a walk. As my Dad said to me earlier, I’ve really fallen on my feet in this household with dog walkers, car menders and more. I’m going to take the family out for a meal in due course to say thankyou for the car fixing.

By the time I was ready to head out in Penelope it was 11:30. Gudula was in the front garden doing some pruning with Poppy helping so I asked her to hold on to Poppy as I headed off else Poppy would try to come with me. So Gudula picked Poppy up and talked to her while I headed off, following my Garmin’s route, towards the Netherlands.

After about half a mile I heard a weird noise – weird, but familiar. The sound of running paws. Sure enough Poppy had just caught up with me. I stopped, opened the lid of Penelope and Poppy jumped onto my lap. I turned round and headed back to Escheln, seeing Gudula coming round the corner in hot pursuit. She said Poppy had gone first one way, then the correct one, trying to catch up with me, the little rotter! Poppy was panting after all her running and probably glad to be carried back to the house.

I carried on another 200 metres or so and then stopped and waited for five minutes to check that Poppy didn’t reappear (she didn’t). Then it was full steam ahead to Venlo.

I had plotted different routes there and back, the route to Venlo would be the most direct one and the route back a scenic option, if I felt energetic enough to do it.

Today's TrackThe northernmost track is my outward journey, through Wachtendonk, Wankum and Herongen.

This is the elevation profile for the day as well – when the Garmin was switched off in Venlo for lunch it got its elevation a bit confused but it gives a general idea.

Elevation ProfileI headed on the familiar route to Wachtendonk which goes under the A61 motorway on some farm tracks. However, today being 1 May there were more unusual things to see – not just the decorated tree. You can just see ahead in this photograph a tractor towing a sort of caravan thing decorated with tree boughs. This caravan thing was full of young Germans shouting and being generally noisy (probably with beer in their hands) and every time it passed a house the tractor sounded its horn at length. People then came out to see what was going on.

Wachtendonk tractorA closer view – various arms were hanging out of the back window just before the branches at some points.

Wachtendonk tractor 2Eventually the tractor pulled over and a mini queue of cars (two, and of course me) went past. I was rather surprised to note that the tractor driver was a young girl – she can’t have been older than 20! It was all good fun and good natured.

After Wachtendonk I ignored all the cycle route signs (I’ve done this trip enough times now) and took the main road to Wankum. Couldn’t resist photographing this bus stop sign.

Bus stop near WachtendonkFrom Wankum (which was up a bit of a hill – was quite hard work) I headed to Herongen. Some young lady in Herongen also had an admirer!

Decorated tree in HerongenHerongen is right on the border with the Netherlands and I soon arrived at this sign, 1km to go to the border. There were two ladies taking photographs of themselves by the sign so I offered to take some photos of them together (which they were pleased about) and they then took this pic of me in return.

Almost in NLHere are the ladies who were out on a random ride from Krefeld just to see where they got to. They said they do quite a lot of inline skating in the general area of Krefeld so I might see them about now and again.

My new friends from KrefeldWhilst talking to this lady I noticed my Union Jack jersey was fantastically reflected in her glasses – unfortunately it hasn’t come out very well on the photo.

Lady with glassesAfter a ten minute chat we headed off towards Venlo. Here is Penelope being welcomed back into her country of birth.

Welcome to VenloIt was an easy ride along some reasonably main roads to the centre of Venlo. I was impressed by these bins for bicycle riders though – you could just chuck your litter into them.

Waste bin for cyclists 1

Waste Bin for cyclists 2Less impressive were the buttons for the traffic light crossings – they tended to be difficult for me to reach from the velomobile (the ones in Germany seem to be in a slightly easier position).

My original plan was to find some poffertjes (the little mini Dutch pancakes which I love) but I had failed to find them in Venlo twice before. However, this time I was a bit more successful in finding the pedestrian centre of Venlo, through which I cycled at least twice. No obvious poffertjes cafés. There was one café that said it did pannenkoeken but I asked the lady if they did pofferjes and she said no.

At one point two policemen were walking past so I stopped them and asked if they knew of anywhere that served poffertjes. They said no but looked at me as if I was bonkers – clearly you don’t ask policemen for directions in NL like you can in the UK.

In the end I gave up on the poffertjes quest (again!) and decided to just pick a random café to have lunch. As it happened I moved from the first one as the prices were really steep. I have noticed that in NL the cafés and restaurants don’t seem to have to display their menus outside so you don’t know what’s available until they bring you a menu. In Germany by law they have to display the menu outside the door of the building so you can check what’s what before you go in or sit down outside.

The second place I stopped at seemed nice and I had a good view of Penelope – she had already garnered huge attention as I rode very slowly through the pedestrian area, now she was parked up people constantly peered in or photographed her.

Busy Venlo pedestrian area

Checking out Penelope 1

Checking out Penelope 2I ordered onion soup and hot water for my tea as the other meals were quite expensive (relative to German prices). The onion soup came with a side dish of extra onions 🙂

Onion soupService was a bit slow but I wasn’t in a hurry particularly.

I was interested to note that almost everyone around me was German. I barely heard any Dutch spoken. I suppose it was a normal working day for Dutch people whereas it was a day off for Germans but it was amusing. I did all my ordering and talking with the waitress in German – seemed easier.

Another thing I noticed is that there seemed to be more fat people than I normally see in Germany (although they were probably Germans so perhaps they just don’t hang out in the Niederrhein area generally). It was also very noticeable, whilst sitting outside, that there are lots more smokers than in the UK. I kept getting smoke wafting past me – I don’t like it very much.

After an hour of lazing around with my food and generally people-watching it was time to head back.

I set my Garmin for my alternative route back (the longer, more scenic version) as my legs still felt reasonable.

I found myself passing an unexpected dinosaur.

Unexpected dinosaurAnd shortly after I was at Venlo station – I waved goodbye to James here three weeks ago.

Venlo stationThe route out of Venlo when heading for the Hinsbeck area (rather than Herongen) is quite a steep climb. I’ve done it several times before (I visited Venlo a few times when holidaying in Nettetal a couple of years ago) and I got it wrong most times. This time I had what I thought was a good route plotted but lo and behold a cut-through between two roads (which cuts out a longer stretch of road) was clearly not velomobile-friendly.

Cycle route goes off-roadSo I stuck to the main road and probably had an extra kilometre or so to ride – not a problem.

I was slow up the hill out of Venlo but not appallingly so. I think I’m getting slightly more accustomed to the weight of the Versatile – I am certainly spinning the pedals more (which is good). Wilfred, who owned Penelope before Alex, reckons I could gear her down a bit more with changing the sprocket on the rear wheel, maybe to increase it by two teeth, and still be within the allowed range of the Rohloff. It’s not necessary for this bit of Germany but if I take Penelope back to England then I will probably have to do this, or something similar, otherwise I’ll conk out on some of our impressive hills.

Anyway, I made it up the hill out of Venlo, riding on quiet residential roads so I wasn’t annoying any vehicular traffic.

I was soon going past the glider airfield – very familiar territory for me. And then it was time to take the traditional photo of the Grenzgänger bicycle…

I took this picture a couple of years ago of Alfie with a foot in both countries:

And here is Penelope in the same location:

Penelope on the border

And from the other side (better lighting).

Penelope as GrenzgängerHer front wheels are in Germany, the rear wheel is in the Netherlands.

This route is really familiar to me and I whizzed onward through the crowds of cyclists (they were everywhere – to be expected on a bank holiday I suppose!) It’s all asphalted track with no cars so is a great route for cycling.

I saw this lady with a sausage dog in a basket on the back and asked if I could take a photo (she said yes). Photo was taken whilst I was cycling at about 25kph…

Dog in large basketNow the route that I took was a bit weird – you may have noticed that if you looked at the map at the top of this blog post. Here it is again as a reminder:

Today's Track

You can see that once I cross into Germany I do a bit of a detour to the south when there looks like a much shorter route through Hinsbeck. The reason for this is highlighted below:

HillYes, my big detour was to avoid a hill. aren’t I lazy! I probably added about 5km to the distance to avoid going up and over Hinsbeck but I enjoyed the quiet cycle lanes and joined the Bahnradweg pretty much at its start and followed it right through to Kempen.

Not without stopping at Secretis, a restaurant/Eiscafé near Sassenfeld which I have visited before. It was a really warm day so time for an ice cream and, miracle of miracles, they provided me with real milk for my tea!

Ice Cream at SecretisAs I was heading off to leave after enjoying my ice cream the waitress and another customer came to talk to me about Penelope for ages. I have had lots of people asking me about her today, the most frequent question being whether she has electric assist. “Nur Muskelkraft” I reply.

I still tend to ride faster than everyone else around (despite being a pretty slow recumbenteer/velomobiler). I think that Germans tend to use their bikes for utility cycling and they often have big, heavy, slow bikes that just keep going. Well, half of them are also dealing with the weight of electric assist too. There were a few racers out today I noticed but they tended to be on the roads not cycle paths and didn’t acknowledge me, even if I grinned at them (I can’t wave as my hands aren’t visible).

The stretch from Lobberich back home is one I’ve done five or six times since I’ve been here so it’s becoming very familiar, and familiarity makes it seem a lot shorter. I whizzed back, although with so many people on the Bahnradweg I had to keep the speed down (only had a short stretch at 40kph). I used my useless hooter a fair bit and people didn’t hear it or realise what it was so I was reduced to shouting ‘Achtung!’ or ‘Vorsicht!’ instead which was marginally more successful.

Rather than doing the little ring road around Kempen I went through the centre so that I could stop at a bakery which always seems to be open. And it was! I bought myself a cake and provided some entertainment to all the people sitting at cafés in Kempen as I sailed past.

Healthy cakeWhen I got back Poppy was safely in the apartment (and hadn’t run halfway to Venlo) and I was pleased to see that my lights on Penelope were still working well. All in all a very enjoyable day’s ride but I still didn’t get any poffertjes!!

The figures for today’s ride as as follows:

Distance: 35.51 miles/57.14km
Time taken: 3 hours 15 minutes
Average heart rate: 133
Maximum heart rate: 186
Maximum speed: 25.6mph/41.2kph
Calories burned: 1,677
Moving average: 10.9mph/17.5kph

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Filed under Cycling in Germany, Penelope the Velomobile, Six Wheels In Germany