New splendour for old towns

Historic town centres are always worth a visit. With age, they have preserved their special charm, their mediaeval townscape, beautiful houses and romantic alleyways luring in many visitors. Come along on a trip through the picturesque scenery of the Lower Rhine.

The market square with a court lime tree is the beating heart of Kalkar’s historic town centre. Here, the full glory of the former Hanseatic town becomes clear. The Gothic town hall is impressive, while striking stepped gable buildings such as the Municipal Museum and the enormous St Nicholas’ Church fascinate visitors. The windmill (a brewery nowadays) contributes to the mediaeval townscape. It’s worth wandering along the old moats as well.


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Wachtendonk’s historic town centre is listed as a site of historic interest. It has preserved its picturesque townscape right on the River Niers: here, visitors can amble through the cobbled alleyways and enjoy the pleasant atmosphere. The Nature Park Centre is located in Püllen House, one of the oldest architectural monuments. Today, a restaurant for day trippers can be found in the former powder tower, and walking tours of the castle ruins are worthwhile.

What would it have looked like in the Middle Ages? Anybody who wants to get an impression of that era should take a look at Zons. This old toll fortress on the Rhine is simply fairytale-like – not just because of the productions of fairy tales on its open-air stage. Large parts of the city wall have been preserved; old mills, gates and towers form a fascinating picture of past centuries. Visitors can take a leisurely stroll through the narrow alleyways, marvel at street names like ‘Hohes Örtchen’ (roughly: High Loo) or watch mediaeval jousting in Rheinauen.

The old town of Kempen is well worth seeing and a magnet for many visitors. The city wall surrounds the Franciscan Monastery, Church of Our Father, the mill and the castle, and lots of pretty half-timbered houses, notably on Schulstraße, create a very special flair. The shops and restaurants at the Butter Market form the hub. This is where people meet for ice cream, coffee or beer, and to enjoy life.

Siegfried, Kriemhild and the Saga of the Nibelungs

Orsoy is a popular destination on the Rhine. Many walls of the former city fortifications remain intact, as well as the Kuhtor (Cow Gate) and Powder Tower. On top of the wall promenade, which also leads along the Rhine, the bastions of the outer belt of fortifications can be distinguished. Lots of historic buildings in the town centre make the visit an experience.

The historic town centre is simply picturesque. The Gothic House and Baroque-style Evangelical Church on the market square, Klever Tor, the former city gate, which was once even used as a prison: Xanten has spectacular buildings to offer. And the enormous St Victor’s Cathedral soars above everything with its mighty western façade. Kriemhild Mill is still in operation today, and also serves as an observation tower. It’s a reminder that Siegfried, the hero of the Saga of the Nibelungs, is said to have been born in Xanten.

Romantic streets paved with cobblestones, well-preserved half-timbered houses, and large parts of the old city wall attest to Linn’s mediaeval past. The historic town centre with Andreasmarkt (St Andrew’s Square) at its core is listed as a site of historic interest. A walking tour of the historic setting is highly recommended – as well as the large park grounds in the moated castle of Linn, whose museum complex dominates the historic town centre.

Rees is one of the oldest towns along the Lower Rhine. To this day, vast parts of the historic city wall have been preserved, as well as ramparts, casemates and the historic Rhine Promenade. Old gates and towers are still part of the impressive townscape, and in the heart of the old town, the Church of St Mary of the Assumption, built in the classical style, catches the eyes of visitors.

What are you waiting for? Discover our historic town centres. You’ll be amazed!

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