Accommodations in Handel

Handel is a village in the municipality of Gemert-Bakel with about 2000 inhabitants. Handel is the oldest Marian pilgrimage site in North Brabant, whose history dates back to at least 1368.

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Behind the church is a processional park, in which lies the ‘miraculous well’, the water of which is said to have medicinal properties. Another legend says that the statue of the Virgin Mary in the church was found in a tree. This so-called “Mary tree” was struck by lightning and cracked open. The statue of the Virgin Mary was found in the middle of the tree. The now dead Marian tree still stands in the forest. A more common story concerns the thorn stock or hawthorn, in which the statue of Mary is said to have appeared to a shepherd, whose sheep spontaneously knelt down.

One of the best-known and largest pilgrimages to Handel is the Handelse Procession, which is made annually by about a thousand pilgrims on foot from Valkenswaard, 40 km away. This procession also takes you along the Kèskesdijk. This road that leads from Gemert to Handel is flanked by seven kèskes, which are small chapels with a niche. It contains a group of statues that always refer to one of the Seven Sorrows of Mary.

Places of interest in Handel include the Church of Our Lady of the Assumption Opening, the procession park, the Kèskesdijk, Huis Bloemendaal and ‘t Museumke (a private museum with Brabant hats and poffers). The church, together with the Capuchin monastery and the Ox Chapel, is part of the ten national monuments in Handel.

The surroundings of Handel offer ample opportunity for walking or cycling. There are coniferous forests to be found, which are planted on former drifting sand ridges. There is also a visitor centre here, where local nature organisations are seated and exhibitions are also held. Several hiking trails have been set out from here. Since 2005 there is also a herb garden here, De Zonnestraal.

View the other group accommodations in North Brabant here

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