Once upon a time Leopold and Wichard, the sons of Sir Otto, heard there was a dragon which was a disaster for the society. He chased the people and their animals to tear them apart. The sons decided to kill the beast and went on the journey. They found the dragon under an old bush. The cry that dragon roared at them was: “Gelre, Gelre.” The dragon was slain by Wichard. At the place the dragon was defeated, the brothers finally founded a stronghold and called it “Gelre”, to the cry the dragon roared to them. Since Leopold died childless his younger brother  Wichard, who was married to the lady Margaret of Hameland, succeeded him. He took three Gelderian roses in his shield to commemorate the old medlar bush under which the dragon was slain. The name Gelre turned into (in common parlance) Gelderland. On older coats of arms from Gelderland there are often three “Guelder roses”.

The country Gelderland that grew around the strongholt consisted of two parts: Lower Gelre (now the province of Gelderland) and Upper Gelre. The last part got in the course of the years more and more fragmented. Pieces of them are located in the north of the present province of Limburg, others, such as the town where the Gelre history with the dragon would have occurred, even became German.


The province of Gelderland
The Province in the north adjacent to Overijssel, in the east and in the southeast to Germany, in the south, to a small piece of Limburg and North Brabant, in the southwest to South Holland in the west to Utrecht and the northwest to Flevoland. The land area is the largest in the Dutch provinces. (If the water is included Friesland is the largest).

The capital city is Arnhem, although the cities Nijmegen and Apeldoorn have today more inhabitants. The population density is 405 inhabitants./km2.

The province consists of the “quarters”: the realm of Nijmegen with the riverlands (the Betuwe, ancient home to the eastern tribe of the Batavians); the Veluwe with Arnhem as the main city and the Achterhoek (also called “de Graafschap – “the county”, with Zutphen as the main city). The 4th quarter, with Roermond as city, is fragmented, these pieces became divided between the province Limburg and Germany.

vlag gelderland               Provincial coat of arms                                       Provincial flag

Two Dutch Lions are the shieldholders and the shield is covered by a ducal crown. On the shield are two lions together depicted beholding (gold: the Dutch lion – Lower Guelders and black: the lion of Upper Guelders). The Lions are shown struggling (face to face). The flag shows the weapon colors (blue, yellow and black) of the shield. That black lion is also seen in the arms of Limburg (some parts of the former Upper Gelre are indeed among others, now parts of  the Dutch province of Limburg).

Provincial broadcast: Radio gldTV-gld & (no teletext anymore).
The provincie Gelria in a birds eye & Weather in Gelria & Weather warnings in Gelria.
Geldrian government &  Houses of the Geldrian “states” (parliament) (photo’s).
Tourisme in Gelria.

Athem: Ons Gelderland (Our Gelderland).

Dutch                                                   English

-1-   (Veluwe)                                       -1- (Veluwe)
Waar der beuken breede kronen         Where the broad beech crowns
Ons heur koele schaduw biên;            Offer us their cool shadows;
Waar we groene dennebosschen,       Where we see green pine forests,
Paarse heidevelden zien;                    And the purple moors;
Waar de blonde roggeakker                Where the blonde rye fields
En het beekje ons oog bekoort,           And the brooks attract our eyes,
Daar is onze “Vale Ouwe”,                  There’s our “Sallow Old one”,
Kost’lijk deel van Gelre’s oord,            Precious part of Gelria’s lands,
Kost’lijk deel van Gelre’s oord.            Precious part of Gelria’s lands.

-2- (Betuwe)                                         -2- (Betuwe)
Waar bij zomerzon de boomgaard,     Where summer sun at the orchard,
Kleurig ooft den wand’laar toont.         Colours the fruits to show to the walker.
En de vruchtb’re korenakker,               And the fertile corn fields,
Stagen arbeid rijk’lijk loont.                  Pays off richly the staging work.
Waar het aorige rivierke,                     Where a lovely little river,
Rustig stroomt langs groenen boord,  Smoothly flows along green boards
Daar is onze “rijke Betuw”,                 There is our “rich Betuwe”,
Kost’lijk deel van Gelre’s oord,            Precious part of Gelria’s lands,
Kost’lijk deel van Gelre’s oord.            Precious part of Gelria’s lands.

-3-  (Graafschap/Achterhoek)               -3- (Graafschap/Achterhoek)
Waar kasteelen statig rijzen                Where stately castles rices
Rond door park en bosch omringd,      Around surrounded by park and forest
Waar het voog’lenkoor zijn lied’ren      Where the bird choir sings
In het dichte loover zingt;                     Its songs in the dense foliage;
Waar ‘t lief’lijk schoon na ‘t landschap Where the lovely beauty of the landscape
‘t Oog des schilders steeds bekoort,   The eye of the painters still captivates,
Daar is onze “olde Graafschap”,         There’s our “old county”,
Kost’lijk deel van Gelre’s oord.            Precious part of Gelria’s lands,
Kost’lijk deel van Gelre’s oord.            Precious part of Gelria’s lands,

History of Gelderland
Lord Gerard IV Antoing (Hainaut) acquired in 1021 the knighthood Gelre from Emperor Henry II. To that area belonged the villages Gelre, Pont along the river Niers and, further south, Wassenberg which lies on the banks of the Roer (German: Ruhr). (The town, Roermond, that lies at the end of the river Roer was, for some time, the capital of Upper Guelders).

His grandson (1131 – 1182) married Ermgard daughter of Count Otto I of Zutphen. In 1179 the Gueldrian heirs get along that line the county (city and country of Zutphen). Their son Otto I of Guelders (1182 – 1206) was the first Duke of Guelders and Zutphen. <<<To add why>>>

Count William II of Holland was chosen by the electors to “Roman King”. That means he had to be come “Roman Emperor” just by anointed by the Pope. To get so far as he needed lots of money. The money he lacked he borrowed from the count of Guelders as collateral with the city of Nijmegen. However, he was killed by the Frisians before the pope could anoint him Emperor. By his death that loan was not repaid and Otto II received Nijmegen (town and country) in full ownership (1248).

The old Gelderland thus consisted of the quarters: 1. Zutphen (east of the Gelderland IJssel, the County). 2. Arnhem (Gelderland IJssel West of the Veluwe). 3. Nijmegen (south of the Rhine, the Betuwe and the realm of Nijmegen). 4. Roermond fell into parts (into now Germany) and parts into the province of Limburg).

In the dialect, the Veluwe is called “Vale Auwe” (poor area) and the Betuwe is called “Beste Auwe” (best area). The Veluwe was always very sandy and dry, the Betuwe consists of clay and is washed by rivers. So in the Veluwe life was vale (poor) and in the Betuwe best (rich). The old word “Auwe” (area) can be retranslated by “landscape” (in modern words).

Gelderland wars (1502 – 1543):
The Gelderland wars were actually one war with three “lows”:  “The Saxon feud” (1514 – 1517); “The “Gelderian feud” (1531 – 1534) and the “The “Counts feud” (1534-1536).

The struggle was between:
1. Holland, Flanders and Brabant, led by Charles V (Habsburg),
2. Gelderland, Groningen and Friesland and its Ommelanden, led by Karel van Gelre,
3 The Sticht, the Oversticht and East Friesland, led by the Saxonian nobility.

The “Gelderian wars” ended with the last “victory” of the ‘Burgundian Netherlands. All provinces came under the rule of Emperor Charles V. The borders of the present Netherlands were the consequences of these (so important) Gelderland Wars:

* A state of Lower Saxony (Gelderland, Overijssel, Drenthe, Groningen and Friesland) was not achieved. Most provinces continued to pursue coherence. * Emperor Charles V gave, (as a punishment?), areas in the east of the Netherlands, like: East Frisia (1517), Jülich (1534) and Bentheim/Lingen (1543) to Germany. As a result, the Dutch East-borders (the present ones) were determined to a large extent. This together amplified the growing problems between catholics and protestants what lead to the Eighty Years War for freedom by the northern provinciën. * During that Eighty Years’ War, which as a revolt against the catholic ruling class, the split between the Northern and the Southern Netherlands was born. As a result of that war, the southern borders were defined.

Because of all this misery Northern “Provinciën” started very carefully to become “Dutch provincies”, the “Northern Netherlands” started to grow, step by step, to be “Nederland”.

Folktale “Woeste Hoeve”

Along the formerly lonely road from Arnhem to Apeldoorn once there was a farm. The farm was a beloved tavern for travelers. There lived and worked a mother with her two sons and a maid. The eldest son was smart and industrious, the youngest a bit dumber and slower.

Both sons fell in love with the handsome maid, but never told each other. The younger son made the first court but did it so clumsily that the girl laughed. The youngest son felt this as being laughed at and turned away. Embittered, he had to watch his older brother have his proposal successfully accomplished.

After some time the mother swapped the temporal to the eternal life. After they waited a year in mourning, the eldest son and the girl decided to marry. The whole family felt that a good plan and helped in the preparations for the wedding. After they had decorated the chairs of bride and groom with pine branches and holly, an aunt asked the youngest son to decorate the floor with fine white sand with the traditional figures., That son refused and left the farm.

So the aunt did that last job itself and almost immediately after they had finished it, the couple and the guests came. Until late at night was dinner, toasts to the brides couple, Rozenwalsen dancing and singing. After the last guests had left and the young couple was asleep in the bedroom, the youngest son returned secretly. He wiped some embers from the fire covered in a test, went back to the stables and threw them in the hay. Then he ran away.

When the first customers came by in the next morning, they saw with deep sadness the charred remains of the couple, in the coffin. The youngest son was able to hide some time in the “unholy woods” but was caught later anyway. He is deceased years later in prison. After this event, the corps  gele rijders” (yellow riders) was stationed in Arnhem and is the home bases of the gendarmerie (military police) was moved into Apeldoorn. So that lonely road is very safe today 😉

The Woeste Hoeve, is rebuilt and is today a restaurant and today a very popular destination for holidaymakers.

Han Tiggelaar

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