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Archeo route sites

Archaeological site Ottersum - Circumvallatielinie

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

Just below the surface, under Ottersum tennis ground and the fields alongside an...

Just below the surface, under Ottersum tennis ground and the fields alongside and behind, lie the remains of part of the circumvallation line protecting Lieutenant-Colonel Ferens’s military camp. The defences were thrown up in 1641, towards the end of the Eighty Years War. This was the Dutch nation’s independence struggle, when Republican armies faced the might of Spain.

In 1635, the nearby fort at Genneper Huys was held by Spanish troops. Prince Frederik Hendrik had been sent by the Dutch government to capture Genneper Huys from the Spaniards. Arriving in Gennep at the head of twenty thousand soldiers, he set up camp at Oeffelt with the bulk of his men. At St Agatha monastery representatives of the Dutch States General came to watch the contest unfold. Around a month later, the Republic’s troops succeeded in taking Genneper Huys.

Around three thousand of the prince’s men were directly involved in attacks on the fortress. The rest of the army were employed in defending the assault force and the prince against attacks from relief troops. A Spanish army of around ten thousand men was approaching from Weert. To protect his men, Frederik Hendrik threw up a circumvallation line, a series of walls, moats and defences. One of these was Ferens’s military camp which held over a thousand men.

Traces of a double moat were discovered during excavations in 2008 and 2020. Remains of Ferens’s camp were also found, including a triangular buttress halfway down the eastern flank as well as an old well and a barrel.
On this side of the River Maas, the line comprised two parallel moats, around twenty metres apart. The earth dug from the moat was used to create a defensive wall. Republican troops were positioned behind the protective earthwork waiting for the Spanish to approach. Because the main Dutch army was stationed south of the Maas, the line was a simpler construction there.

No actual fighting took place here, the Spanish troops did not get this far. After the Spanish surrender, camp was struck and the moats were filled. All the finds were removed from the ground during the excavation, and the remains of the line were covered with sand.

There is little to recall the fierce fighting around Genneper Huys. So get on your bike and explore the Genneper Huys siege route. You can see all the positions taken by the besiegers! And drop in at Petershuis Museum to see the excavated finds!

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 side of the road at the Goorsweg in Ottersum. To the left of the Tennispark TOVIOS.

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Contact and location

Archeologische vindplaats Gennep - Circumvallatielinie
Goorseweg
6595 AM
Ottersum

When

Always open.