Wanna know how the name Geldern came into play? Let’s start with the dragon story.
In 878, two noblemen named Wichard and Lupold of Pont did battle with a fire-breathing dragon — is there any other kind? — and fatally stabbed it with a spear. With its fiery dying breath, the dragon cried out: Gelre! Gelre! To memorialize such an act of bravery, the two men founded a new town with (an approximation of) the dragon’s last words, Geldern.
If the name Geldern sounds familiar, you may remember it from an early Heath Ledger movie, “A Knight’s Tale.” In this film, the late actor’s wannabe-knight character declares that he is from Gelderland, in order to “prove” that he is of noble birth. Perhaps he may have been descended from one of the founding dragon-slayers?
The history of Geldern was just as tumultuous as the young knight’s cinematic adventures. Its location near the Dutch border has always opened the doors to foreign invasion. In its thousand plus year history, the town has played host (and servant) to the Spanish, the Dutch, the Austrians and the French.
As with many German cities and towns, sports and physical activity is an essential part of life. In Geldern, you can bike along a never-completed canal route or hike around the area of the Castle Haag.
In case you’re expecting a typical castle visit you may be surprised by its current state. There are no tours of the gardens or luxurious state rooms. However, if you’re an avid golfer you’ll be overjoyed by the sight of a former castle turned golf club.
Since 1995, Castle Haag has been transformed. The grounds can still be enjoyed with a club and adequate green fees for admittance. In other words, you, the pro golfer, can putt around the still-visible towers of this old castle. :-)
Geldern is also well-known for its annual street art competition. Many international artists arrive in town during the summer months to compete for the prize. Other summer activities include fairs and street parties.