Activities in the region
Sat 23 Dec - Sun 27 May
Expositie: Over volksprenten en actuele beeldtaal
Thu 22 Feb 10:30 am
Fri 23 Feb 10:30 am
Whether you explore Veldhoven’s nature on foot or by bicycle, time and again you will be surprised.
Korenmolen Sint-Jan is an elevated windmill for processing grain. It is located near Hoogeind in Oerle (Veldhoven). From 1985 to 1991, local family De Jongh went about building this mill. They re-used materials from windmills which had been torn down in the 19th century. The octagon comes from Leezen in Germany. The foundation was built with 40.000 bricks originating from a windmill in Vught. Construction on location started in 1984.
The Sint-Jan windmill is surrounded by old farm houses, grazing land, pastures and woods; typical for the Kempen landscape.
The Lady Mary in the Oak
Kapelstraat Zuid 18, in Meerveldhoven
The story goes ‘that in 1264 one of the villagers saw a statue of the Lady Mary in an oak tree. He took the statue home but the next morning it was missing and it turned out to have returned to the oak’. In the legend it is told that the garments of Lady Mary were covered in mud; a sign that she had returned via the same route he had taken her. This happened twice more.
This miraculous incident was considered a sign that the Lady Mary wanted to be honoured at that spot. A simple chapel was built around the oak, of which the lowest branches were taken off in order to diminish the size of the chapel.
The little statue in the oak was the centre of great devotion. In the late Middle Ages, Meerveldhoven became one of the most prominent pilgrimage sites of the Lady Mary in Brabant.
Stories about the miraculous events and answered prayers quickly spread in the Kempen. Especially in the month of May the villagers of Meerveldhoven were astounded by the large stream of visitors. Campsites were set up outside of the village in order to offer pilgrims a place to stay.
The Lady Mary in the Oak is still worshipped at almost the exact same place in the church of Meerveldhoven. Although the oak and the statue are not original, it is still a popular place for rest and meditation. The tree is full of ex-voti, a votive offering to a saint or divinity, that bear witness of obtained cures through the intercession of the Holy Virgin.
Today, the worship of the Lady Mary in the Oak is still extensive. During the year approx 20.000 to 30.000 pilgrims visit the chapel. Especially during May, the month of the Lady Mary, and during the Lady Mary Ascension light procession (15th of August).
John the Baptist, the patron Saint of Oerle
About 90 years ago Oerle (or ‘Oers’ in local dialect) and a few other villages merged and became Veldhoven. However, Oerle has not lost its identity. One of the ways in which this is recognised is the revering of Saint John, the patron of the parish. The celebration of the birthday of Saint John on the 24th of June and the day of his passing on the 29th of August keeps the people in Oerle busy.
Saint John’s ‘tros’
Saint John’s ‘tros’ is a little bouquet of flowers comprising of at least the leaves of a walnut tree (symbolising fertility), corn flowers (symbolising innocence) and of course St John’s Wort (symbolising the sun). It is said that the reddish fluids that come off the flowers of St John’s Wort represent the blood of Saint John. Putting up a Saint John’s tros has been a custom for centuries. This is mentioned in various ancient texts dating back to the early 1600s. Oerle used to be a well known pilgrimage site. According to folklore Saint John’s tros would protect the house against lightning, illness and other mischief. Nowadays the focus is more on holding on to a special tradition. A lot of care is put into making it and it is put up next to the front door after it is blessed in church during mass. Blessing occurs on the 24th of July during a guild-mass, which is dedicated to the (still operating) Saint John guild. After mass the guild offers a banner salute to the Patron Saint and the priest. This banner salute is an impressive play between the drummers and the carriers of the banner, during which the symbolical struggle with injustice and evil is depicted.
During the Sunday after Saint John the yearly St John’s market is held, which attracts many visitors (at the Brink of Zandoerle).
Saint John platter
Usually Saints are memorated by the day of their passing, so it is quite special that Saint John’s birthday is celebrated. John was beheaded by Herod and it is told that his head was placed on a platter. In Oerle this used to be memorated on the 29th of August during a procession through the village with a platter with the head of John on it. The Saint John platter dates from the 16th century. It is made of polychromed oak wood, 36 cm across and was manufactured in Brabant. The bearded head of John the Baptist lies on this wide rimmed simple platter with closed eyes. A replica can be found in the Saint John the Baptist church. The original can be seen at the Museum of Religious Arts at Uden.