Archeo route sites

Archaeological site Heijen - Huys Heijen

Experience the archaeological story from the Huys Heijen in Gennep. Download the app and get face-to-face on site with our archaeologist. He tells you the history and the importance of Huys Heijen through most modern virtual technology. This makes you feel as if you transform into the past.

Duke Johan ll of Cleves (1458-1521) granted Henrich Spanrebock permission to bui...

Duke Johan ll of Cleves (1458-1521) granted Henrich Spanrebock permission to build Huis Heijen on its present site around 1500. The manor expanded as new sections were added and it became a castle: a moated castle. Massive brick fragments of wall, cannonballs, breaches in the tower, rusty dagger blades and pieces of sword recovered from the silted moat testify to successive sieges and fighting.

Arndt, the last of the Spanrebocks, died in 1577, fighting for the Dutch Republic at the siege of Boxmeer, a castle held by Spain. Around 1610, First Lieutenant Alter Knippink, lord of Heijen castle, was commissioned to recruit a Fahlein of 125 mercenaries, pay them, clothe them, provide ammunition and guns, and match and powder. Later, in 1622, he was instructed to organise the billeting of (Spanish) soldiers in farmhouses around Heijen. Republican troops sent from The Hague were wreaking havoc in the Maas and Niers region, where Spain still ruled. The impoverished inhabitants suffered hugely wegens des immer werrenden Niederl?ndischen Kriegs.
Plague was rampant in 1635/1636, when Spanish units and Croatian mercenaries were brought in to reinforce the Spanish stronghold of Genneper Huys and garrisoned in sheep pens by Galand Knippink, lady of Heijen castle. A Spanish general was also quartered at the castle. The sheriffs of Heijen reported that considerable thieving had taken place in 1640. So many died of the Black Death, that there were insufficient hands to bring in the harvest.
The cannonball embedded in the wall bears silent testimony to the violent confrontations of the Eighty Years War. While Huis Heijen was not always involved in the fighting, it seems likely that the people of Heijen had little choice but to bring their spades and wheelbarrows, their horses and carts and to support the Republican siege of the Spanish garrison at Genneperhuis in the summer of 1641. Indeed, the Dutch troops also needed feeding.

Huis Heijen was badly damaged by British bombs dropped in 1944. Sculptor Peter Roovers, who moved into the castle in 1948, restored the building with bricks from the similarly ruined Castle Bleijenbeek in Afferden.

Tourist information
Museum Het Petershuis
Niersstraat 2, 6591 CB Gennep
For opening times see www.museumhetpetershuis.nl

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NOTE: The spear is at the T-junction of Hoofdstraat and Kraneveld. It stands in the verge next to the bicycle path. You look out over a meadow where Huys Heijen is located. 

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Contact and location

Archeologische vindplaats Gennep - Huys Heijen
Hoofdstraat 57
6598 BA


Always open.