castle which was central to the town had risen out
of a former defence construction. During the twelfth
century the Battle of Wassenberg took place between,
on the one side, the Duke of Limburg and the Duke of
Brunswick (later to become Emperor OTTO IV) and on
the other, Phillip of Swabia, son of Emperor
Frederick1 of Germany. It resulted in Otto and
Limburg having to flee to Cologne. Wassenberg was
granted town status in 1273.
The village nearest to the camp was Effeld,
which was about 1.5 Km's away. It was renowned for its friendly pubs
and abundant asparagus fields. The countryside is mainly flat agricultural
land, well wooded with small rivers winding their way through it.
The farmland is fertile and a point of interest is at Rosenthal,
a village close by, where there is ocean sand lying on the surface.
This is probably the only example of this inland in Europe.
In a general line between Wassenberg and Huckelhoven there
are small hills where the finest quality shipping coal used
to be mined.
In addition to the huge
defence tower, which has been converted into a
viewing point, many other parts of the remaining
defence constructions have been restored: the town
wall, defence towers within the wall, delinquents
tower (dungeon) and the 'Rostor'. The major part of
these constructions dates from 1420, whereas the
lower part of the 'Rostor' and the dungeon were from
Other buildings of historical
and cultural importance such as Elsum and Effeld
castles, as well as several churches, are witnesses
of an important past.
In the Middle Ages Wassenberg
became a market town accredited with market status.
The principle sources of income of the inhabitants
were commerce, trade, handicrafts and agriculture.
In the 16th century the cultivation of flax was a
wide-spread source of income. A colouring matter was
grown on the plains of Brul, from which was produced
the dye material for the colouring of linen. This
continued to be used until the introduction of
aniline colouring. A further source of income was
the manufacture of roofing tiles. This stimulated
the economic life of Wassenberg for centuries right
up to the middle of the 19th century. Tile
production took place in the so-called 'Pannenschop'
clay furnaces. These were located in the area around
today's Tante Lucie restaurant but came to a
standstill with the importation of the French lapped
From the turn of the century
the economic structure has been characterised by
small and medium-sized factories as well as cottage
industries. This structure changed with the
introduction of a host of different types of
industry and the industrial estate in Forst was
created. In 1978 a local mining shaft was sunk by
the Sophia Jacoba Company in the Birgelen woods,
from where the miners reach the rich coal fields
under Wassenberg. Apart from commerce, trade and
agriculture the economic life of Wassenberg is
complemented by the cultivation of asparagus and
Due to its beauty and the
multiplicity of its countryside, Wassenberg has
always attracted many visitors. This is all the more
so as Wassenberg is also part of the nature park of
Schwalm-Nette. A total of 1100 hectares of woods and
heathland are connected by well signed paths, ideal