Braamt is a church village, belonging to the municipality Montferland. In the year 1245 the village is mentioned as “Brameth’, probably referring to the many brambles in the area. The so called ‘hole of Braamt’ (official name is Stroombroek) is a former place of sand extraction where a lake arose afterwards. The lake is situated at the foot of the Montferland Hills and is very popular in the summer. On the lakeside is a wellness holiday park, they rent bungalows the entire year. www.landal.nl/parken/stroombroek
Markant Outdoor Centre offers a lot of activities for all sorts of groups during the entire year. Some of them at lake Stroombroek on their own lot at the lakeside. www.markant-outdoorcentrum.nl
Beachclub Stroombroek runs the longest cable water ski-slope (and wakeboard) in The Netherlands! The path is more than one kilometre. At the Beachclub you can have all kinds of meals or make special arrangements. www.kabelwaterskibaan.nl
If you want to treat the children on an awesome day, take them to ‘The Land of Jan Klaassen’ (the puppet Mr. Punch). There is a huge indoor and outdoor playground, a special water playground and a theme camping park with a restaurant. www.janklaassen.nl/nl/en
About ‘s Heerenberg
‘s Heerenberg is a city inside the municipality of Montferland. The name Montferland refers to a hilly forested area near the village Zeddam. The Hetten hill is the highest (91.6m). Around the hills you will find acres overgrown with herbs and hedgerows around them. The name of the forest is the Bergher forest, a large natural area (about 1837 ha) with lots of pine trees. The forest is the home of more than 70 different (predatory) birds!
‘s Heerenberg got his city rights in the year 1379. In the city you will find the castle ‘Huis Bergh’. In this castle you can see beautiful paintings from old Italian artists. ‘s Heerenberg has a fraternity, the brotherhood St. Antonius Fraternity. Their existence goes back to the 11th century. The castle is the largest medieval water castle in The Netherlands. It is very worth a visit or guided tour. You can even sleep in the castle of celebrate your wedding. www.huisbergh.nl/en
The city is famous for the myth about an old widow called Mechteld ten Ham. She was accused by the inhabitants of witchcraft. The threw here into a lake, she kept floating because of the wide black skirts she was always wearing. Back in those days that was enough proof you were indeed a witch. On the 26th of July in 1605 she was sentenced to the funeral pyre. Every year in ‘s Heerenbergh they organize the Mechteld ten Ham weekend to remember the myth. www.mechteldtenham.nl/?page_id=7
Don Rua is a formal monastery in ‘s Heerenberg. The monastery was founded in 1910 by German Jesuits under the name ‘Home of St. Bonifatius’. In 1958 the congregation Salesians of Don Bosco came to the monastery and changed the name to Don Rua (the name of a priest). The started a school for boys, age 12 to 21, to become a monk. The boys lived there until 1971, that year the congregation sold the building because there were not enough pupils anymore. Between 1975 and 1999 the monastery was the home of the largest amateur artists centre in the world, called The Golden Hands. Around the year 2010 the name became quite awkward when several former pupils of Don Rua told they were sexual abused by the priests during their education. Since 2013 the Home of St. Bonifatius is radically redecorated into 46 apartments for seniors. www.youtube.com/watch?v=_MPJr7FsQBw
Stokkum is one of the eleven church villages inside the municipality of Montferland. Stokkum is situated on the edge of the Bergher forest and the Hulzenberg Hill. In this part of the Montferland natural park you can find a wooden watch tower. All the wood of the tower, 21m high, comes from the Bergher forest. On the website of Brockhausen in Stokkum (campingsite) you can get a good impression of the wooden tower. www.brockhausen.nl/uitkijktoren-hulzenberg
Archeological findings made clear that the woods near Stokkum were already inhabited around 2500 years ago! They also found a lot of iron slags in that area. The name Stokkum was first mentioned in the year 1240. The round corn mill in the village was built in 1860. The name of the mill is ‘Düffels Möl’ (the mill of Hein Düffels).
Another quite unique monument in Stokkum is a huge field cross, first mentioned in 1624. The Dutch name is the ‘Hagelkruis’ (hail cross). These monuments were placed by farmers near the fields, on a crossroad, to scare away the demons an protect the crops from damage by hail. The Greek cross is made out of iron, placed on a 10 meters high wooden pale. In the nearby villages Kilder and Beek you can find two more of these crosses.
Stokkum is situated right near the German border. A visit to the Biotope Wildpark Anholter Schweiz is really worthwhile. www.anholter-schweiz.de/en
For decades long tourist from all directions find their way to Zeddam, a beautiful village inside the municipality of Montferland. Zeddam is located on the road from Doetinchem to ‘s Heerenberg, on the edge of the Bergher forest. The village has a higher part (upper Zeddam) and a lower part (below Zeddam).
Upper Zeddam is the location of the St. Oswald Church, a Roman Catholic church with a tower from the 13th century. It is the only parish in The Netherlands with Saint Oswald as their patron. The altar is very precious, a must see. Another beautiful monument in upper Zeddam is the circular corn-mill. It was built before the year 1441! They researched some wood from the hood of the mill, the growth rings verified that the tree that was used must have been chopped down before 1440. The medieval building has very thick walls and ancient flooring boards. Therefor it’s not only the oldest still existing windmill in The Netherlands but also one of the most special ones. www.huisbergh.nl/en/zeddam-mill
Zeddam has also a horse powered capstan, across the circular corn-mill. This mill was built in 1546. Inside the mill you can see a collection of stones and minerals. Regularly the mill is also used for art expositions. Occasionally you can see the horses at work in the mill. Last but not least is a third mill from 1891, called ‘The Volharding’.
Zeddam has many hotels, pensions and bed & breakfasts. Some of them provide English information on their website. www.ruimzicht.com/en