Buck rider

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Statue of a buck rider in Schaesberg

The Bockreiter ( Bokkenrijders in Dutch and Bokkeriejersj in Limburgish ), according to tradition one were gang that from 1730 to 1780 in the area of Limburg , in Herzogenrath and Schinnen was active. At that time Limburg was an area that belonged together, whereas today it is divided into three states : Belgium , Germany and the Netherlands .


One of the leaders of the buck riders was the "Black Captain". Since the buck riders often gave their booty away to the poor, they were also called the Robin Hood Gang of the Netherlands.

Roughly speaking, there were two Bockreiter periods, one around 1740 and another around 1770. The first Bockreiter gang emerged in Wolfhagen, part of the municipality of Schinnen. The leader was called Geerling Daniels. A particularly notorious goat rider of the time was the French Jacques du Jardin, a former soldier who made his living as a minstrel (he played the violin ). His nickname was "de Keukelaer". He was hanged in 1751 on the Danikerberg (the border between Geleen and Schinnen) .

During the second buck rider period, 328 men and women in the region were executed after confessions obtained through torture. One of the gang leaders is said to have been the Herzogenrath surgeon Joseph Kirchhoff . Whether he was guilty or innocent is still debated today.

Gang leaders Operating area Court case (year) Number of gang members
Sentenced Accused
1. Mathias Ponts Herzogenrath - Nieuwstadt 1743-1745 87 140
2. de Gaverelle-de Preez Schinnen - Geleen 1749-1751 31 45
3. Broers Kerckhoffs (questionable Joseph Kirchhoffs ) Herzogenrath - Valkenburg ( Limburg ) 1771-1776 230 450
4. Voortmans - Van Muysen Waves ( Belgium ) 1774-1776 31 350
5. Philip Mertens-H. Houben Ophoven - Geistingen 1785-1786 16 45
6. Nolleke van Geleen Bree - Bocholt 1789-1791 23 60
7. Pelsers-Bollen Neeroeteren - Maaseik 1793-1794 50 80

Based on the 1986 youth novel Ontsnapt aan de galg (German: "Dem Galgen escaped") by Ton van Reen, the television series De Legende van de Bokkenrijders was filmed in 1993 , which was also broadcast in Germany under the title Die Bockreiter .

The Mad House Villa Volta is located in the Dutch leisure park Efteling , which also addresses the gang's deeds.


  • Josef Ponten : The buck riders. Novella. German publishing house, Stuttgart, Berlin 1919.
  • Ton van Reen: The buck riders. Or: escaped the gallows. Youth novel . Anrich-Verlag, Kevelaer 1987, ISBN 3-89106-292-3 (contains the volumes Dem Galgen escaped and Die fierigen Reiter ).
  • Marianne and Heinz-Hermann Oster: The Enchantress's Medallion - A fantastic journey into the time of the buck riders . Shaker Verlag, Aachen 2001, ISBN 3-8265-4420-X .
  • Viola Huber: Frekje and the buck riders. Children's and youth novel . Books on Demand, 2000, ISBN 3-8311-0840-4 .
  • Ludwig Kahlen, Die Bockreiter 1st part - in the land of Herzogenrath, printing works Dünner
  • Ludwig Kahlen, Die Bockreiter 2nd part - surgeon and robber captain, printing and publishing company Alwin Handels
  • Hermann-Josef Welfens, Merkstein Volume 4, (Bockreiter in Merkstein), printing and publishing house "wirmachdruck.de" Backnang
  • Friedrich Christian Avé-Lallemant : The Mersener buck riders of the 18th and 19th centuries. Supplementary contribution to the history of the German crook Brockhaus, Leipzig 1880.
  • Hartmut Friesen: gangs of robbers. Thieves, crooks and buck riders . Mercator-Verlag, Duisburg 1992, ISBN 3-87463-194-X .
  • Oswald Willems: The buck riders. Correction of a legend; based on historical documents . ALRAC-Verlag, Düren 1991, ISBN 3-9801651-1-6 .
  • José (phus) Speetjens: Limburg, Land van de Bokkerrijders. myth, history, fiction. Edition Stichting Bokkeryder, Groot-Genhout 2000, ISBN 99904-0-591-3 .

Web links

Individual evidence

  1. Stories, judgment on soetele.de
  2. Die Bockreiter in the Roder and Jülich Land, Kerkrade 2014