Experience the archaeological story from the late middle ages, whitch took place around the city-park in Weert. Download the app and get face-to-face on site with our archaeologist. He tells you the history and the importance of the Van Horne dynasty through most modern virtual technology.
This makes you feel as if you transform into the past.
Late middle ages
If you look at the Limburg provincial coat of arms, you’ll notice three little horns in the bottom left corner. They come from the Counts of Horne family crest. The Van Hornes arrived in Weert in the thirteenth century. They settled in Weert in De Aldenborgh castle at Biest 43.
In 1435, construction of De Nijenburgh castle began at Biest 1. Archaeological research has shown that the castle’s forecourt, main fort and tithe barn are still largely preserved underground.
The Counts of Horne
The Lords of Weert were given the title of Count by the ruling Holy Roman Emperor, Frederik III (1450). From that time on they were called the Counts of Horne. The last count of this dynastic lineage was Philip of Horne. He was a cousin of William of Orange and was beheaded on 5 June 1568 on Grote Markt square in Brussels together with Lamoraal van Egmont. This dramatic event was one of the triggers that started the Eighty Years’ War.
Urbanisation of Weert
From the fourteenth century on, the Van Horne dynasty largely determined how Weert developed. Many characteristics from that time are still visible or preserved underground. For example, at De Nijenburgh castle, the Martinus Church, the monastery of the Order of the Friars Minor (formerly De Aldenborgh), the Bridgettine convent, roads which were formerly city canals, the town well on Markt square, the layout of the streets, the Weerterbeek and on the city gates (marked by cannon).
Midway through the fifteenth century, three town militias emerged from local Catholic brotherhoods, with support from the Van Hornes. ‘De Jonge Schutten’ still exists today as the historical St. Catherinagilde 1480 (St Catherine’s Guild) and the re-established Maria Brotherhood also still exists.
In 1500 the Van Hornes initiated the refurbishment of the St Martinus Church. In 1550 Count Philip of Horne built the town hall on Markt square. All these things combined make Weert a real Van Horne town. And the town still boasts an immaterial heritage, too… within its canal district (the historical town centre) people still speak a different variety of the local Weert dialect than in the periphery.