It’s funny how you could come to Germany and another language is more widely spoken than German. Oh, sure you’re asking where in Germany is that possible?
OK, so maybe that’s not happening today but, it was the case back in the 19th century in the town of Kranenburg. And no, Kranenburg wasn’t part of the Netherlands, it just sits on its border.
Whether you speak Dutch or German, you’ll have a good deal to see and do on your visit here. Start by taking a trip to the Mühlenturm or Mill Tower, housing the Local History Museum (look for the word Heimatmuseum). You’re bound to appreciate all the sites around town a bit more that way. As will a stop at Kranenburg’s Visitors Center.
— Top Areas Of Interest
Another way to appreciate what you’re seeing is taking a guided historical City Center tour or a Nightwatchman Tour (sounds fun!). Along the way, you’ll find pieces of the town’s original Stadtmauer, the German word for the village’s original defense wall. Hey, life in medieval & Renaissance Europe wasn’t a picnic; and villagers did everything they could to protect themselves.
Castles were another form of protection from marauders. Haus Zelhem is one such castle built in the 12th century, although it was renovated in the Renaissance style you see today. If you really want a gander at medieval architecture the 11th century St. Martins Church is it.
One of Kranenburg’s more fun sites to see (and participate in) is the Draisinenbahn, a Bike Trolley Course with “trolleys” that can seat 4 to 14 people, following along on old railroad tracks through the countryside from Cleves, Germany to Groesbeek, Netherlands. You’re only limited by your leg-power and the distance of the tracks.
By the way, this very Draisinenbahn was chosen as one of the Top 50 things one has to do and experience in North Rhine-Westphalia before dying! :-)
If you rather try something less strenuous, just pick a walking path in the Kranenburger Nature Area.
Of course, if you want some fresh air with some history follow devout pilgrims as they make their way to the Kreuzheiligturm, as they have for the last 700 years. Quite interesting that this hasn’t changed in seven centuries, unlike what language is spoken around these parts. ;-)