The Battle for what?

Let’s take you back to the year 1627…

For centuries Groenlo was an important trading center; many trading routes from Germany and even the Far East ran through Groenlo to continue further into the Netherlands. During the revolt of the Netherlands against the Spanish King, which lasted 80 years, Groenlo remained an important base that alternately was owned by the Dutch (“Staatse”) or Spanish.

In 1627, Frederik Hendrik was assigned by the States General to recapture the city of Groenlo (“die Starcke Stadt Grol”) from the Spaniards (“den Spanjaerd”). The siege of Grolle took 30 days but in the end Groenlo was recaptured and would never be occupied by the Spaniards again.

Now back to the present:                                                                                                                                                                            The Battle has been rewritten and is being simulated every two years, in 2015 from October 23rd till October 25th. Everything that happens during this 3-day event is historical sound. From all over the world re-enactors (people that participate in the reenactments of historical events) are coming to Groenlo to replay the Battle for Grolle on historic ground. Throughout the day you can watch demonstrations on the firing range (“Schootsveld”), explore the trenches, watch riots, skirmishes and fights between the re-enactors of the Spanish- and Dutch (“Staatse”) side. Over 1400 re-enactors will be fighting, divided over the Spanish- and Staatse side. Fights with roaring canons, peaks, rapiers and muskets, and with 22 horses, specially trained for these kinds of conditions. The “Staatse” are gaining ground by continuously attacking the Spanish. Will they succeed in recapturing Grol from the Spaniards?

In the town center, life is similar to the way it was in 1627. After the fights, the re-enactors and their wives retreat to the encampments, situated along the canal, where they keep on practicing their battle skills. On Sunday they join the historic service in the town’s church. Beggars and wanderers hang around in the alleys, outdoors, dice are rolled, a real-life-size windmill rises above the streets and you can see completely rebuild farms. While wandering the streets you can hear cheerful music, see traders sell their trade and watch the leprous look for shelter outside the city. Scattered throughout the town, all kinds of children activities are available for the kids to join in and at the scouting group terrain children’s games are organized. And of course for a hungry stomach or a thirsty throat, numerous eateries and drinking facilities are available, serving food and drinks like in 1627. Try some food at the food market on wheels for a tasteful experience. If you still have energy and some hunger left, after a full day of living in- and experiencing the past, then make sure you have your table reserved at the “Brouwersmaal” in the “Old Calixtus” church and let yourself be carried away in the festivities. Grolle wouldn’t be Grolle without ending a great day with a big party!

Welcome to the Battle for Grolle, welcome to 1627!


Fotograaf: Colin Ebbers

Fotograaf: Colin Ebbers