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City of Hückelhoven
Coordinates: 51 ° 2 ′ 23 ″  N , 6 ° 13 ′ 8 ″  E
Height : 49 m above sea level NN
Residents : 4169  (March 31, 2019)
Postal code : 41836
Area code : 02433
Urban area Hückelhoven, position of the former municipality of Hilfarth highlighted

Hilfarth is a district of Hückelhoven in the Heinsberg district in North Rhine-Westphalia and is located directly on the Rur .

In the 20th century the place experienced rapid growth due to the settlement of miners who were employed in Hückelhoven.



Hilfarth lies in the Rur plain, a bridge leads over the river at the northernmost point of the village. The landscape is characterized by the river, streams and ditches and by the wet meadows, popularly called Benden . In the south of the village lies the Kapbusch, a formerly extensive forest area that stretched from Brachelen to Ratheim . Since the straightening of the Rur in the 1960s, extensive arable land can be found in the northwest of the town near Kaphof. For a long time, extensive wicker crops were typical for the district, from which the raw material for the traditional branch of wickerwork was obtained. As is customary in other landscapes, polluted willows were not pruned. The willows were obtained from shoots that grew directly from the rootstock. In their vegetal appearance, the willow cultures are reminiscent of the Hauberg economy of the Siegerland and Dill Valley.

Neighboring towns are Ratheim , Millich , Hückelhoven , Doverheide, Doveren , Porselen , Baal , Horst, Himmerich, Brachelen and Rurich . To the east of Hilfarth, across the Rur, are the Grittern manor and the Klein- and Groß-Künkel estates .


  • The Rur flows past the eastern and northern outskirts.
  • The Teichbach runs southwest of the village. It flows in a north-westerly direction past the location and near the Kaphof forms an artificial river bifurcation with the Wurm, which flows parallel to the Rur in the direction of Oberbruch, while the Teichbach continues as Erlenbach and flows into the Rur at the "Schanz". Although Hilfarth lay between several rivers, no evidence of a water mill has been found to the left of the Rur. The Bockertsmühle on the right of the Rur is already in the Hückehoven area.

The Rur was diked at the beginning of the 20th century. Until the 1960s, the river's water quality was severely affected by industries on the middle reaches. This changed considerably with the political and legal developments after 1969. As part of extensive regulatory measures after 1965, the river bed was completely redesigned. The reason was not least the catastrophic flood damage that devastated the village in the mid-1960s. An improper elevation of Breitestrasse had the effect of a weir when the Rur between Brachelen and Hilfarth overflowed into the "Benden" and drained back into the actual river bed through a flood ditch ("Bohnekamp-Graben") near Kaphofstrasse. This trench had been dug by the Reich Labor Service and allowed the flood in the "Molle" to flood Breite Straße if necessary. Due to the increased street level and other bad planning, however, the water was diverted into the village because the drainage pipes below Breitestrasse at the level of the Protestant church did not have a sufficient cross-section to be able to cope with the extraordinary amount of water. Only the houses in Wöbelstrasse and Ingermannstrasse, as well as the districts of the old village between Breitestrasse and Kaphofstrasse were completely spared, while in some farms in the center of the village the flood rose to the level of the stable ceiling and caused losses among the cattle. In addition to these losses, the erosion also led to considerable losses of agricultural land when the current on the impact slope northwest of the “Stone Bridge” (“Steene Bröck”) broke parts of a field. The redesign of the Rurlauf partially lost the scenic charm of the bank landscape, but the risk of flooding was averted. The Hilfarths reacted with stoic, Rhenish humor to the catastrophe they had overcome, by uttering the carnival battle cry in the following year: “Help alaaf, un if et humped!” (Hilfarth Alaaf, and if it drowns!).

There are no natural lakes or ponds besides the rivers. Only two " tank traps " from the Second World War have been preserved (behind the Kaphof and on the right of the road to Himmerich).

The last time the Rur was frozen over in the winter of 1952/53, it was possible to skate on the ice.


In the Middle Ages, Hilfarth initially belonged to Randerath and later to the Brachelen jury and the Heinsberg office in the Duchy of Jülich .

The name "Em Spansch" ("In Spanish") also gives a clear indication of the history. This refers to the original town center at the intersection of Breitestrasse with Kaphofstrasse and Kreuzstrasse, where the traditional restaurant “Pütz” was located until a few years ago, as well as a striking cross that served as a station for the Corpus Christi procession. The Kaphofstraße led in a westerly, later north-westerly direction, past the Kaphof to the L 227 (from Ratheim to Oberbruch). Not far from the confluence of the Kaphofstraße with the L 227, at the mouth of the Teichbach in the Rur, there is a restaurant ("Zur Schanz"), which roughly marks the historic border crossing into the Netherlands- Spanish Netherlands . In this respect, Hilfarth was the border town between the Duchy of Jülich and the Netherlands, ruled by the Spanish Habsburgs, until the final end of the Eighty Years' War in 1648.

The village was entitled to the neighboring forest, the Kappbusch.

In 1815, after the end of the French era, Hilfarth was united with Porselen to form the mayor's office.

The above-mentioned tank traps are relics from the difficult recent history of the village, whose location on the Rur caused considerable destruction in the last weeks of the Second World War. They are part of the west wall, which stretched directly south of the location. Bunkers that were blown up by the Allies after the end of the war were also distributed over the entire district in this area. The bizarre rubble was used as playground by the children of the village until it was finally razed in the 1980s. The tank traps were also the only open, stagnant bodies of water that were popular bathing lakes for a long time, but were closed to recreational use after several bathing accidents. The old Rurbrücke, which was replaced by a new one at the end of the 1960s, was one of the few undestroyed bridges over the Rur, which led to considerable fighting between advancing Allied troops and retreating remnants of the Ardennes offensive. In several air strikes, numerous buildings were destroyed or damaged by the use of air mines. Even in the months after the liberation, the ammunition and duds left behind claimed civilian victims among the population.

Place name

The basic word "-farth" means ford , transit or crossing and refers to the location on the banks of the Rur. The epithet in the place name is unclear (perhaps from hale , hali : bay?). Another explanation seeks the root of the epithet in addition to the ford in the medieval word "hal" or "hell", which refers to salt. The geographical extension of the ford to the north-east ends in the area of ​​the Hellweg, a medieval trade route that linked today's Central German regions with Flemish Hanseatic and port cities as part of long-distance trade. In this context, the naming from the traffic function should be understood as "Salzfurt".


In 1524 there was a chapel and a monastery of the Franciscan nuns . The place originally belonged to the parish Brachelen. The chapel was elevated to a Catholic parish church in 1803 and is consecrated to St. Leonhard . The neo-Gothic St. Leonhard Church was built between 1904 and 1906 .

Until it was demolished in the 1970s, the old church had a changeful fate. In the end it was a dilapidated ruin, in which only the crypt was still used by the boy scouts and the walled-up gallery as a parish library. Only old gymnastics equipment from the time when the nave was used as a gymnasium gathered dust in the nave.

In the 1950s and 1960s the new, neo-Gothic church was significantly redesigned. The original high altar was replaced by a modern high altar made of polished black stone, which took into account the liturgical changes following the Second Vatican Council . At the same time, a modern tabernacle was built. The peal received another, larger bell and was electrified. Later renovations of the tower followed, through which the last war damage was removed. For the renovation of the tower, a self-supporting tubular steel frame was used for the first time to the amazement of the population. A grenade case in the masonry to the right of the west portal still reminds of the Second World War.

At the beginning of the 19th century around a third of the population was Protestant . Hilfarth belongs to the area of ​​the evangelical parish of the neighboring village Hückelhoven. A church has existed in the village since the 1960s. Until the phase of dramatic growth in the fifties, the Protestants in the old village center were a small, but economically extremely successful minority, who were highly regarded in the field of agriculture as well as for services in demand.

With the arrival of Turkish miners , Muslims now also live in Hilfarth.



There used to be basket-making in the village. At its heyday, the handicraft employed over half of the working male population. The material for making the baskets was obtained in wicker plantations on the Rur. The poplar stocks of the Rur Valley were for a time the basis for the clog-making trade, which, however, disappeared from Hilfarth long before the basket-making trade and, in contrast to this, completely. The basket-making trade remained quite formative for the townscape until the 1960s. There were a number of smaller workshops in which the basket makers sat individually or in small teams on the "plank". Along Breitestrasse in the direction of Brachelen there were two artificial ponds that could be flooded if necessary, and in which the cut wicker was set in bundles for felling after they had been sorted by length and thickness. After being knocked out, the wicker crops were peeled and stored before they were watered again immediately before processing, in order to remain supple and not be kinked during weaving. (Such kinked areas in the wickerwork were considered technically unclean.)

The osier originally came in three forms. For gray goods, unpeeled whips were used (e.g. for the so-called potato baskets); peeled willow crops were braided for white goods (e.g. laundry baskets). A specialty were boiled willows, which were used for decorative baskets after they had been peeled and treated with hot water in copper kettles.

Basket making was a highly social form of economy. In many workshops, several basket makers worked with one another in a limited form of independence without competition. The preparatory work, from cutting and soaking to peeling the willow, was usually carried out with neighborly help, often with the help of entire families. This way of working also turned the workshops into places of conviviality, where the neighborhoods crystallized in order to chat while working and to create a special form of joke. Children who enjoyed being there were also included in this form of humor. If you wanted to get rid of them, you would send them on errands to get “water for the spirit level” in a shop. The children were then sent from one shop to another until it finally dawned on them. Occasionally they were also sent to get a “Veereckech Rong” (“Square Round”): an ancient form of “Mission Impossible”.

A follow-up business was the "Trierscher", that is, ambulant basket traders who took care of sales with specially equipped small trucks. Like many other outpatient traders, these Trierscher were not particularly well respected in the population. Nonetheless, the basket makers were dependent on their services, and possibly even dependent on them, after the original sales cooperative had ceased operations. It has not yet been clarified whether there was or is a socio-cultural connection between the Trierschern and the Yeniche . The name designation points to the south-west of Germany ("Trier"), which can be seen as evidence and evidence. Some representatives of this outpatient guild called their vehicles "Schurch", which has a certain linguistic similarity and is etymologically related to the Low German word "schörje" (= pushing or pulling with a wheelbarrow or another cart) and "Schörjskar" for the wheelbarrow .

Since autumn 2013 there has been a new local supply center with a discount store, supermarket, beverage market, bakeries, etc.

Culture and sights

One aspect of the special, local language culture arose from the locally accumulated occurrence of certain family names. Before the population suddenly doubled in the mid-1950s due to the construction of the settlement, the population of the original village was dominated by a few family names that could be regarded as typical of Hilfarth. These were often extensive and ramified relationships, but also parallel lines with the same family name, whose family origins could no longer be traced due to a lack of sources. In order to distinguish these family lines from one another, they were often given nicknames due to village custom and tradition, which were designed according to different criteria. They related to the situation within the village (“an de Pomp”, “op der Berg”) or to personal idiosyncrasies, quirks, origins, occupations or habits of their owners. Another nickname could be z. B. derive from a particularly distinguished personality among the ancestors: "Press" referred to an ancestor of a certain family with the name Gertrud (Low German, short: "Press").


  • Basket maker museum


  • Mandolin Orchestra "Rurperle" 1922 Hilfarth e. V.
  • Marien Rifle Brotherhood Hilfarth 1822
  • MGV Eintracht 1892 Hilfarth
  • TuS Jahn Hilfarth
  • Germania Hilfarth e. V. 1994
  • Hilfarther fools e. V.
  • Instrumental Association Hilfarth 1912 e. V.
  • Dart Club Duckula Hilfarth e. V.
  • TTC Hilfarth
  • Hilfarth volunteer fire brigade

Regular events

  • Early fair: July 2nd or the following Sunday
  • Late fair: November 6th (feast day of St. Leonhard ) or the following Sunday
  • Carnival procession: Rose Monday


  • Rob Grabert (* 1964 in Hilfarth), Dutch Olympic champion in volleyball
  • Thomas Jahn (* 1965 in Hilfarth), film actor, director and screenwriter


  • Heinz Dieken: Air battle over "St. Leonhard" in Hilfarth in February 1944 . In: home calendar of the district of Heinsberg; Vintage 2016; P. 175 f.
  • Friedhelm Hensen: Potato bread and turnip tops. How a child experienced the war. Karin Fischer Verlag, Aachen 2001, ISBN 3-89514-312-X .
  • Helmut Henßen: The reporting of the local newspapers about Hilfarth in the period from 1933 to 1944 . privately published, homepage
  • Helmut Henßen: The Hilfarther Rurbrücke: The disputes between the communities of Hilfarth and Hückelhoven from 1824 to 1852 . In: Local calendar of the Heinsberg district, year 2015; P. 71 ff.
  • Helmut Henßen: Troubled times in Hilfarth: Division and clearing of the Kappbusch around the middle of the 19th century . In: Local calendar of the Heinsberg district, year 2017; P. 56 ff.
  • Frank Körfer: The former monastery in Hilfarth and its residents . In: home calendar of the district of Heinsberg; Volume 2013, p. 38 ff.
  • Frank Körfer: Franz Mackenstein - a basket merchant from Hilfarth in the 19th century . In: home calendar of the district of Heinsberg; Year 2015, ISBN 978-3-925620-36-2 , p. 149 ff.
  • Hans Rolfs: The Second World War. Hilfarth in the main battle line of the "Rurfront" January + February 1945. Rurtal-Korbmacher e. V., Hilfarth 2009/2010.
  • Chronicle of the mayor's office in Hilfarth 1816-1932, edited by Hans Rolfs and Julius Terberger, Hilfarth 2010, publisher: Arbeitskreis Geschichte Rurtal-Korbmacher eV, Hilfarth

Web links

Commons : Hilfarth  - collection of images, videos and audio files

Individual evidence

  1. Population statistics of the city of Hückelhoven , City of Hückelhoven, accessed on May 30, 2019