Small village, great people!

Elsendorp is a reclamation village in the municipality of Gemert-Bakel, province of North Brabant. At the end of the nineteenth century the municipalityGemert sold a large part of the heathland in its possession to mainly Protestant capital owners who had the heathland reclaimed, usually by the Heidemij, into forest and agricultural land.

One of these individuals was Samuel Cornelis van Musschenbroek, who founded the Maatschappij tot Ontginning van de Peel and in 1891 founded two model farms at the site of present-day Elsendorp. One of them was called De Dompt and this was also the original name for the reclamation village.

At the junction of the road between Gemert and Oploo and the road to De Rips, a number of middlemen settled in the early twentieth century. A public school was also founded here in 1925, which was converted into a Roman Catholic school in 1935. In 1926, a Roman Catholic emergency church was founded and the village was named after Father Gerlacus van den Elsen. Because the name Van den Elsendorp was considered too long, it became Elsendorp. The emergency church was dedicated to St. John Evangelist. To finance the construction of a new church, the building pastor of Elsendorp, Rector Busscher, organized car blessings. These continued even after the church was completed and gave Elsendorp national fame in the 1960s.

Vossenberg is a hamlet in Elsendorp and within it in the Particular is that Vossenberg is a Protestant enclave in a predominantly Catholic region.
The first Protestants settled in de Peel in 1894. These were landowners who made the land suitable for agriculture, cattle breeding and forestry. For the reclamation of this, tenants, farm managers, foresters and workers came to de Peel from all parts of the country. They went to the Protestant churches in Boxmeer - 14 kilometers away - and Veghel 23 kilometers away. Quite an undertaking in the days of horse and cart over unpaved roads.
In 1918 a wooden workers' house became available at Vossenberg. The first church services were held there. The then owners of the De Vossenberg estate, the Groskamp family, donated the land for the church, parsonage and cemetery. From there, money was raised for construction. The building costs of the church - 6,500 guilders or about 3,000 euros in our current currency - were raised by congregation members with small and large sums of money. The church was completed in 1927, the rectory a year later. At the same time, hard work went into founding a congregation of our own. This was a reality in 1936.

In 1980/1981 the little church was thoroughly rebuilt to fully meet its present task: a good place to meet in many ways as a congregation of Jesus Christ. (source: Protestant Congregation Gemert-Boekel).

Barefoot trail

Feel with your bare feet the special stimuli of wood, stones, tree chips, grass, loam and water on a specially constructed path and enjoy this special sensation with all your senses. Feel cold and hot, damp and dry, pleasant, uplifting and tantalizing on a trail of almost 2 km. The first barefoot trail in Brabant at the Christoffelhoeve offers hikers a delightful sensation in a natural environment. A specially constructed path, there are water features, sand hills, steep slopes, a wooden watchtower, a maze, a suspension bridge, etc.

At the Christoffelhoeve there are several activities. For arrangements, children's parties, family and groups a unique place to spend the day relaxing.
B&B Christoffelhoeve in hiker's huts and Mini-camping Christoffelhoeve especially for short stays. The farm, St. Christoffelhoeve, from 1939 is located in Elsendorp, since 1936 pilgrimage place of St. Christoffel, patron saint of travelers and namesake of our farm.

Jan and Christa Fonken, Zeelandsedijk 35, Elsendorp
Phone 0492-351488
Jan 06200330759
Christa 0648205252
Website: www.christoffelhoeve.com
E-mail: christafonken@hotmail.com

See also Barefoot Path


The Heerlijckheid Gemert-Bakel consists of 7 Church villages. Gemert, Bakel, De Mortel, Handel, Elsendorp, De Rips and Milheeze. Each village has its own rich history. Each village here is unique. Click here for a short introductory film about Gemert-Bakel:'Kom ook naar Gemert-Bakel'. It is definitely worthwhile to come and visit the church villages. For a day out, a weekend trip or an overnight stay in nature. In Gemert-Bakel there is plenty for adults and children to see, do and experience.


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