Handel is a village in the municipality of Gemert-Bakel with about 2000 inhabitants. Handel is the oldest Maria pilgrimage town in North Brabant, whose history dates back to 1368.
Behind the church is a procession park, in which the "wonderful well" lies, whose water would have a healing effect. Another legend tells us that the maria image found in the church is in a tree. This so-called "Mariaboom" was hit by the lightning and gap. In the middle of the tree was the maria image found. The now-dead Mariaboom is still in the woods. A more common story relates to the stock of thorns or the Meidoorn, in which the maria image would have appeared to a shepherd whose sheep were spontaneously killing.
One of the best-known and largest pilgrims to Trade is the Handelse Procession, which is taken on foot by 40km from Valkenswaard, 40 km away, by about a thousand pilgrims. This procession also runs along the Kèskesdijk. This road from Gemert to Trade is flanked by seven kèskes, which are small chapels with a niche. There is an image group that always refers to one of the seven sorrows of Maria.
Sights in Trade include the Church of Our Lady in Heaven, the procession park, the Kèskesdijk, Huis Bloemendaal and 't Museumke (a private museum with Brabantse hats and poffers). Together with the Capucinian Monastery and the Ossenkapel, the church is part of the ten national monuments that Trade counts.
The area of Handel provides ample opportunity for walking or cycling. There are pine forests that are planted on former pollen ridges. There is also a visitor center, where local nature organizations sit and exhibitions are also held. Several hiking trails are set aside from here. Since 2005 there is also a herb garden, De Zonnestraal.