Tag Archives: Viersen

Alfie goes to the Maas River

The weather in Germany has turned hot.

Anything much over 22 degrees and it’s too hot for the Velomobile (at least for someone with as much personal insulation as I have).

So Alfie has been getting a few more rides recently, mostly in company with his new friend the Steintrikes Wild One (which seems, unfathomably, to not have a name).

A few exchanges of SMS yesterday morning with fellow-triker Klaus and a cycle ride was arranged for the late afternoon – with the Netherlands as our destination.

Once again I drove Alfie to Klaus’s house (he lives 20km away) so we could ride from there. It makes more sense than meeting up somewhere underway, especially as Alfie easily fits into my Honda Jazz with the back seats down. I have now also improved my skills at handling him when folding and didn’t end up covered in oil this time!

trike in car

Last Thursday evening I also rode with Klaus and on that occasion when I unfolded Alfie he had a few minor problems – partly related to his advanced mileage I think. This time, with my improved skills in lifting him folded, after I reassembled him he seemed unscathed. Which was good as this ride would also see him cross the 20,000 mile mark.

Klaus had plotted a route for me which is one he rides occasionally.

Screen shot 2014-07-18 at 12.58.53

What I hadn’t noticed initially is that it goes up a pretty steep hill almost straight away. And boy was I slow – it was 29 degrees, I had spent all day at my desk working before heading out, and I am rubbish up hills anyway.

Screen shot 2014-07-18 at 13.01.31

This was cycling across the Süchtelner Höhen, this very inconvenient moraine that is in the way if you want to go west from Viersen. There are lots of different routes across it of various steepness but Klaus sent us the Höher Busch route which is through some woodland so not asphalted. He took a wrong turn and we started going down a nettley path so had to turn round again – recumbent trikes and nettles and other similar vegetation do not mix well.

Anyway I was slow going up the hill – this is not news but previously I have blamed the fact that it is because I am on a recumbent trike (known for being slow up hills). When I am cycling with someone else on a recumbent trike and they are whizzing off into the distance when going up hills this rather shows that my slowness might be down to the rider rather than the machine!

However I am quicker downhill than Klaus. We had discovered this on a previous ride, that I freewheel downhill much faster, and had discussed a little whether this was because of differences between the trikes or maybe that the Wild One’s tracking wasn’t perfect. I had a great idea to do a test by swapping machines before a downhill and seeing if the ICE Sprint was still quicker.

The answer was no, with me riding the Wild One it went much faster down the hill after we crossed the A61 Motorway. The obvious reason would be that I have greater mass (= heavier) than Klaus but this would clearly be embarrassing for a lady so instead we have been trying to work out other reasons for this speed differential. We are currently working on the hypothesis that I am way more aerodynamic than him. I like to try to fool myself from time to time!

Anyway, having struggled up the side of the Süchtelner Höhen (and seen two other recumbent trikes going past but they didn’t stop for a chat) and had our race down the other side, we were now on flat territory rolling through Bistard, Boisheim and the unfortunately-named Schaag. There is a church in Schaag that I haven’t yet visited as part of my Churches in Kreis Viersen challenge but as we had 70km to ride and had only left Viersen at 5:15pm I thought it best not to delay us by stopping to photograph it.

I learned a few useful bits of information from my riding partner today when discussing the different roads. In the UK we have motorways, A Roads and B Roads (do we have C roads? I think not, I think they are just ‘unclassified’). Anyway, in Germany I have seen A roads, B, L and K but didn’t know exactly how these were specified. It turns out to be quite simple – A = Autobahn (I did know that), which is motorway. B = Bundestraße which is a national road. L is a Landesstraße which are the major main roads within a country and K are something to do with Kreis (district), I didn’t pick up the exact word. So the B, L and K roads are all of the quality and speed we would call an A road in the UK, but I guess different departments pay for maintenance/upkeep. Or something.

From Schaag we headed out into some very flat farmland towards Bracht which I have visited a few times (but from a different direction).

Whilst we were trundling along beside a road I suddenly realised that Alfie must have crossed over his magic 20,000 mile mark (unfortunately the mounting point for my bike computer wheel magnet thingie had snapped a few days ago so the trike’s trip computer wasn’t working, I only had my Garmin). So I stopped to take a photo of Alfie after his 20k miles – he doesn’t look too bad for having travelled that far in three years, all weathers.

Alfie at 20,000 miles

I’ll be writing a blog post about the 20,000 miles in due course.

Klaus made the mistake of saying to me that he doesn’t like riding in groups normally because it’s tricky to ride safely with other different bikes (a well known problem for recumbenteers – exacerbated by the fact that all you see in front of you are people’s backsides) but that he found it much easier to cycle with me. As we were riding side-by-side at that time I did a quick swerve towards him to see how he reacted. The answer was quickly, and nearly steered himself into a ditch. Oops! I wouldn’t have hit his trike (I am too sensible for that!) but clearly caught him out. Later in the ride he tried to do the same to me but I didn’t budge – I am made of sterner stuff (or more trusting?). Either that or I am now immune to this as yesterday I was cycling with an upright bike whilst I was in Penelope and there was a braking issue and the cyclist crashed into the side of Penelope. No harm done but after that I was feeling fairly invincible as of course I was entirely protected within the shell of Penelope. But the basic situation is indeed that two trikes riding together find it much easier than a trike with an upright bike (or even recumbent two-wheeler) as the speed and braking profiles/performances are much more similar.

From Bracht we crossed under the B221 and then headed through the hamlet of Heidhausen before entering the Brachter Wald. I feared we might find lots of mosquitoes but there weren’t any – it was probably too hot for them! The journey through the Brachter Wald is a long, slow downhill which gets steeper at the end until the border with NL where you have to do a 90 degree right turn through some traffic calming. I decided to see how fast Alfie would roll downhill with me on board – we managed to hit 47.9 km/h which was a bit disappointing (I did 60km/h when going down a short hill back in England a couple of weeks ago). I think it just isn’t hilly enough in Niederrhein to really get going. Which is actually a relief.

We crossed the border into the Netherlands at the De Witte Stein pub where we had been with the Trike Treffen group. There’s nothing obvious to make you realise you are in NL until you travel a bit further and come through the towns where you see different road signs and also slightly different designs in buildings.

I was now in a phone blackout though (I don’t use data when roaming) which meant all went very quiet on my phone – my husband is currently doing a sailing challenge of going round the British Isles (well, halfway round). He has just joined the boat in Oban in Scotland and they are making their way down the west coast. He’s been sending lots of iMessages to update his location and send photos of the amazing scenery – but once I crossed into the Dutch phone area it all went quiet. Which felt quite odd really.

We rode through Reuver and were soon at the Maas river, where we had to wait for a minute for the ferry.

Maas Ferry at Reuver

It is worth noting at this point that there was an ice cream van selling ice creams near the ferry point but I said nothing. Klaus’s last blog post suggested I kept whinging about lack of cake on our rides so I had resolved to be quiet about the fact he seems to ignore the need to refuel whilst underway. Which was mostly successful, in that I didn’t whinge, but an ice cream at that point would have been fab!

We rolled onto the ferry and the chap who came to take our 60 cents for the crossing had a good chat with us in multiple languages (a mixture of English and German, we couldn’t quite fix on what language we were going to speak).

Here are the trikes on the ferry as we have almost reached the other side. It was a chain ferry and the river is probably less than 100 metres wide at that point.

Trikes on Maas Ferry

We got off the ferry (I had an unexpected bit of heel strike due to the steep ramp, which might explain why the heels of my cycling sandals seem to be coming unglued) and then headed into the little village. There were several cafés and Klaus asked if I wanted to stop for a drink. I said no as we weren’t yet halfway round the tour and then checked on my Garmin – it said 25km to go, and we’d already done 29, so I changed my mind. Halfway point is a good time to stop.

Trikes at tea stop

We found a nice café with some shade (it was still really hot) and stopped. I ordered a cup of Teewasser/hot water for tea with milk and miracle of miracles, that is actually what I got! In Germany I usually don’t get any milk, despite specifically asking for it, and then have to wait for ages for them to remember. But I had my tea and then a glass of water and enjoyed a bit of a break from the sun.

It was time to get going again so we headed off on the road alongside the Maas. It’s not just a cycle path, there were some cars and quite a few mopeds whizzing along. There were also loads of roadie cyclists in packs. We weren’t overtaken that often though because we were riding at a decent pace. At one point I heard a nasty grinding noise from the back of my trike when rounding a corner – only to discover that I still had my parking brake on. It’s not a very effective parking brake but it does make you work harder if you ride for two kilometres with it on!

What was annoying was I could see that my light was flickering (I have a front light permanently burning on Alfie as it’s from the dynohub). I couldn’t tell if the fault was from the dynohub, the cabling or within the light itself but a bit of fiddling suggested that it might be the on/off/senseo switch which might possibly have experienced some water ingress in the last three years. It seemed to sort itself out after another 10km but it’s something I need to watch as I didn’t have a backup light with me – I will need to start carrying a torch as well in case something happens to the light.

The other thing I noticed was that my Garmin was counting up with the ‘distance to destination’ field. This is because we were doing the track the reverse way round than normal and I hadn’t realised this. So when we stopped with 25km to go that was actually false – we had another 35km to go. Well at least I had enjoyed my cuppa by the Maas.

I didn’t actually know where I was a lot of the time – just following someone else makes for very easy routefinding (unless they lose you!) but meant I kept asking where we were. This roundabout had a useful series of signs on it so I could tell roughly where I was.

Roundabout in NL somewhere

The section cycling along the Maas seemed to go really quickly for some reason – perhaps because it was a fairly fast, wide track. The views across the river were very nice and there were even some hills in evidence.

The plan was to cross the river again in Venlo on the motorway bridge (the A73). This is a shared motorway/bike bridge and is quite impressive.

Bridge crossing at Venlo

You feel well separated from the traffic which is good.

Trikes and traffic crossing Venlo bridge

From there Klaus wended a route through Venlo to the east and I was completely lost. I kept thinking I recognised sections but then was in unfamiliar territory again. I assumed we were heading to the Glider Airfield which is the route I always take out of Venlo but no, we were going by Leuth instead. We crossed back into Germany, passed another as-yet-unvisited church in Leuth and then headed towards the De-Witt-See, joining the Bahnradweg (which I cycle at least once a week) to head back.

This is such a great bit of cycle track – smooth, straight, wide enough for two trikes side-by-side (mostly) and not very busy at 9pm at night. We whizzed along, passing Sassenfeld where I had a week’s holiday in August 2012, then the top edge of Lobberich before heading towards Grefrath. Because our final destination was Viersen rather than Kempen we left the Bahnradweg before Grefrath and had to go up a bit of a hill – which seemed unexpectedly hard! – before heading to Hagenbroich, around Vorst and then to Süchteln on the Nordkanal route before arriving back at Klaus’s place. As usual he sped up for the last few miles (presumably thinking about home cooking and cups of tea and things like that) so it was all I could do to hang on. A booster rocket would be useful to help me keep up in these situations.

Alfie was packed away into the car in no time at all but I needed a few minutes’ breather before heading off as I felt really tired after the last few miles. I’d run out of water which probably didn’t help. By the time I had driven home I felt back to normal fortunately and had a very good feeling after such a good cycling workout.

Just under 70km for me and I burned over 2000 calories which was a bonus – and only had a cup of tea on the ride!

Klaus records his track with an iPhone App and I have here the two data files side-by-side when imported into my cycling software. The calories figure is wrong for Klaus’s side (the right hand side) – somehow my software is reading the wrong thing. His software gave him 1800 calories for the ride.

Distsance Data combined

And here is the elevation information – the iPhone app does not record this very well as you can see! (Again, my info is on the left, Klaus’s on the right)

elevation data

I was back at the car at 10pm so we were less than five hours on the road which wasn’t bad for a ride of this length and with a fairly good stop. Klaus usually rides these distances without stopping but I like having a loo break and a cup of tea if possible. I am still slightly amazed that I yet again didn’t manage to have a cake though!

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Filed under Alfie the Trike, Cycling in Germany, Six Wheels In Germany

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

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: 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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