Local Heart, Global Soul

October 9, 2017

Another Accidental Crossing Of A Border…

Filed under: BREDA,PHOTOGRAPHY,THE NETHERLANDS — kiwidutch @ 1:00 am
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(photograph © Kiwidutch)

The beautiful building our Breda friends have bought us to see is called: Meersel-Dreef.

There is a large information board (Dutch text only) so translated here:

The name Meersel consists of two parts: “Meer” and “Sele”. “Meer” means “swamp” and Sele means ‘house’ so the meaning of the word is “house near the swamp”.

Little is known about Meersel-Dreef before 1500. It is certain that around 1200 people were already living there.  Perhaps Meersel-Dreef is older than the village of Meerle, because from as early as 1223 there was a chapel there.

Around 1690 Meersel was no more than a few houses around a lonely chapel surrounded by heather and pine trees.

The Dreef was  built after the establishment of a monastery of the Kapucijnen monks on 25 June 1687. “The northern most village.’

Meersel-Dreef  is the northern most village of Belgium. The northern-most tip is near a farm called “De Paal” on the heath end. 

It is marked by a boarder post (as in ancient stone kilometer marker) No. 219. The border between Belgium and the Netherlands lies between border marker No. 217 in Strijbeek and goes a little beyond marker No. 220 in the hamlet of Scheurdekous , a total distance of about 5 kilometres.

The current border was defined on 8 August 1843 via the Maastrict border treaty. This treaty ratified the dividing line between Belgium and the Netherlands. as was decided in 1648 in the treaty of Munster.

The monastery of the Kapucijnen monks.
After the religious wars 1648) the Catholics in the Baronie of Breda struggled to practice their religion. The Calvinists in power prohibited religious services and worship of Mary.

A few influential Catholic families in Breda decided to establish a religious centre / place for prayer, on the soil of the Catholic Spanish Netherlands. Early in 1686 the decision was made to establish a Kapucijnen monastery  in Meersele which would be in aid of the percuted Cathlics within the Baronie of Breda.

Land was bought which was owned by the countess of Hoogstraten; Maria Gabriella de Lalaing.  King Karel  (Carl) of Spain gave official permission on parchment letter to establish a monastery on that land. In the winter of 1687 the plans were made for the future building and shortly afterwards the first four Kapucijnen  monks arrived in Meersele.

The monks were temporarily housed in the “Blauwhoeve’. The monks set to work rapidly and on the 28 September 1688, the church could be consecrated. Around 1728 the church had to be extended because it was so popular. Later on the church and the monastery were extended yet again.”

It’s actually a surprise for me to read that I was in Belgium! Our friend’s Breda house is a ten minute walk away through the woods and even though we came here via the longer road route that goes around the woods, I saw no road signs at all. I later asked Himself if he knew where the boarder was, he said he thought it was about  kilometer away.  The building is beautiful, even if I  accidentally slipped across a border come to see it!

(photograph © Kiwidutch)

(photograph © Kiwidutch)

(photograph © Kiwidutch)

(photograph © Kiwidutch)

(photograph © Kiwidutch)

(photograph © Kiwidutch)

(photograph © Kiwidutch)

(photograph © Kiwidutch)

(photograph © Kiwidutch)

(photograph © Kiwidutch)

(photograph © Kiwidutch)

(photograph © Kiwidutch)

(photograph © Kiwidutch)

(photograph © Kiwidutch)

(photograph © Kiwidutch)

(photograph © Kiwidutch)

(photograph © Kiwidutch)

(photograph © Kiwidutch)

(photograph © Kiwidutch)

(photograph © Kiwidutch)

(photograph © Kiwidutch)

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