For centuries before the birth of Christ, this area was inhabited by people who made pottery, from drinking cups to urns. Everything they needed was on hand: clay from the old river beds and wood from the forests for their kilns. Products could be transported along the Meuse river and various through roads. Pottery from Roman times has and continues to be found to this day.
At the beginning of the twentieth century, domestic pottery was increasingly produced on a large scale in factories. The potters switched to flower pots to supply the flower growers in Lent and Aalsmeer. There were more than ten flower pot factories in Gennep, Gennep Noord and Milsbeek. One of these was the Van den Hoogen brothers’ factory, which now houses the De Oude Pottenbakkerij museum. With the advent of plastic flower pots, these businesses disappeared. When two potters realised that money could also be made with decorative pottery, they renamed their flower pot factory De Olde Kruyk, i.e. Ye Old Jug pottery.
The company developed a type of pottery with new shapes and a distinctive decoration: Milsbeeks Bont. This was exported all over Western Europe as well as to the United States and Australia. They even supplied the royal family. The company still continues as a small pottery and can be visited.
Many new potteries emerged from the Olde Kruyk, because employees went into business for themselves. Several of their children also went on to become potters. At the end of the 1980s, a number of potters formed the Noord-Limburg Potters Collective. Every year they organize the Keramisto ceramics fair at Mookerplas lake in Plasmolen, one of the most important ceramic markets in Europe. Collections of old and modern earthenware can be viewed in the Oude Pottenbakkerij, De Olde Kruyk and the Petershuis in Gennep. Also visit Stonehands-Milsbeek, the Ellen Hofman Square with its beautifully inlaid paving or the Gennep ceramic wall.
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NOTE: This location is at the car park of the old pottery, Rijksweg 22. Opposite the roundabout at the corner of Rijksweg and Zwarteweg. There you will find an information board and a corten steel tile.
TIP: This location is part of the Archaeological Experience Route Roermond. On the Archeo Route Limburg app, you can find this route as a whole.