Things to Do in Kleve, Germany

According to ezinesports, the German city of Kleve is located just across the border with the Netherlands. From Nijmegen you can drive to Kleve in half an hour by car. In German this city is called Kleve. Thanks to its location, Kleve is a popular outing among the Dutch. You can enjoy shopping there, the fuel prices are usually lower than with us and Kleve is simply a nice town. Nice enough to go there for half a day or maybe even a whole day. There is plenty to do to enjoy yourself in Kleve. Its location in a hilly area with a high castle that protrudes above the city, ensures that Kleve can be seen as a charming place where it is wonderful to stay, especially on beautiful days.

You can shop in Kleve on the Große Straße. This street runs right through the center of Kleve and can be considered the heart of the city. The Dutch come here for the generally favorable prices and a number of typical German chains that are hard to find in the Netherlands. In Kleve, Germans come to the shops where Dutch traders are active. Because they know how to profit from the popularity of products such as Dutch cheese.

If you are planning to visit Kleve and wondering what to do in Kleve? With our top 10 sights in Cleves you should be able to get away with it quite a bit.

Top 10 Things to Do in Kleve

#1. Swan Castle

Zwanenburg Castle is the main attraction of Kleve. This castle is the basis of the origin of Cleves. It was built sometime in the eleventh century. Over the years, the Swan Castle has changed both in appearance and function. The name Zwanenburg has only been used since the nineteenth century. In the past, this castle was simply called the Cleves Castle. In terms of external features, nowadays it is more like a baroque castle than a traditional castle. Today, the Swan Castle serves as a court of law. The Amtsgericht and the Landgericht are located here. A visit to the Spiegeltoren can be made by appointment.

#2. Sticky Gardens

On the western side of the city are the Kleefse Gardens. This beautifully landscaped park landscape was laid out about the middle of the seventeenth century on behalf of the then stadtholder Johan Maurits van Nassau-Siegen. It is striking that a lot of attention has been paid to the visual axes. The different views ensure that you can experience the Kleve Gardens in a way that you see less and less in public parks these days. You get the best view from the amphitheater, if you look in a northerly direction. The height differences provide a beautiful perspective on the park-like landscape.

#3. Museum Kurhaus Kleve

Kleve is traditionally known as a spa town. In the eighteenth and nineteenth centuries, Cleves was one of the most important spas in Northern Europe. This was thanks to the mineral water spring discovered in 1741 in the Springenberg. For many years, the Kurhaus was the largest complex of Kleve bath buildings. This spa, built in 1845 and 1846 to a design by Anton Weinhagen, has a different function today. The Museum Kurhaus Kleef has been located here since the end of the twentieth century. It is a museum for modern art, in which the baroque interior is complemented by beautiful examples of modern architecture.

#4. Haus Koekkoek

In the center of Kleve is a popular art museum: the Barend Cornelis Koekkoek Haus. The museum is located in the former home of Barend Cornelis Koekkoek. This Dutch landscape painter was born in Middelburg in 1803 and later moved to Kleve. Among the collection of landscape paintings painted by him, you will therefore see a number of works on which the city of Middelburg is the subject. Characteristic of Koekkoek’s style is that many of his works have a romantic slant. In addition to the works of art by BC Koekkoek, you can also enjoy the beautiful classical furnishings and works of art by similar artists in the museum. The BC Koekkoek-Huis is closed on Mondays and during some public holidays.

#5. Narrenbrunnen

Carnival is also celebrated in Kleve. They have been doing this since the Middle Ages. The ‘Fountain of Fools’ (Narrenbrunnen) is the result of this. This fountain at the historic meeting place of the Klever Gecken-Gesellschaft recalls the more than 600-year-old carnival tradition. The seven bronze, water-spitting heads are reminiscent of the former ‘head’ of society, consisting of a king and six councillors.

#6. Kleve Zoo

Tiergarten Kleve is a compact, family-friendly zoo with petting and feeding sessions. There is a playground for the kids. In total, more than three hundred animals live here, including typical pet species and predators common in Europe. It is not a large, but a pleasant animal park. The modest entrance fees are in proportion to what is on offer. We would not drive to Kleve especially for this zoo, especially if you live further away from Kleve. But for those who do visit Kleve, going to this zoo for an hour or two is a nice addition to your day in Kleve.

#7. Stiftkerk

The Stiftskerk of the Assumption of the Virgin Mary is the most important Catholic church in Cleves. The church was originally built in the fourteenth century, but was completely bombed during the Second World War. The Stiftskerk was rebuilt in the 1950s. Fortunately, the Gothic elements have returned, including the beautiful gargoyles. The reconstruction of the towers based on historical models was completed in 1969.

#8. Synagogue Square

Sometimes emptiness is more impressive than presence. That is certainly the case at Synagogenplatz. The Jewish synagogue of Cleves used to be on this almost empty spot. During the Second World War, the synagogue was completely destroyed and the Jewish community of Cleves was murdered, deported or fled. The Synagogenplatz is a monument that commemorates these horrific events.

#9. Lohengrinbrunnen

Centrally in the main shopping street of Kleve – the Große Straße – you can enjoy the one special fountain: the Lohengrinbrunnen. The Lohengrinbrunnen depicts a mythical history about the origin of Cleves. It shows a swan pulling the Swan Knight away, as his two sons try to pull him back, while their mother Princess Beatrix screams and tries to reach him.

The myth has it that about a thousand years ago a certain Princess Beatrix was desperate because her father had died and she was expected to marry a man. She took a walk along the Rhine at the foot of the mountain. Suddenly she was approached by a white swan, wearing a gold necklace and pulling a small boat. In the boat stood a radiant knight, who said he had come to defend her country. Beatrix fell in love with the Swan Knight and married him. However, he stipulated that she should never ask for his name and origin. They had three sons together. As the sons grew older, they became curious about their parentage and urged their mother to ask him. So she asked the Swan Knight the forbidden question. He answered sadly, “My name is Helias and I come from the earthly paradise.” At the same time, the swan appeared and disappeared with the knight. A few months later, the noble Beatrix died of a broken heart.

#10. Reichswald Forest War Cemetery

The Reichswald Forest War Cemetery is a military cemetery located just outside the city. With 7,654 graves, it is the largest British Commonwealth cemetery in Germany. The moment you visit this impressive cemetery you will experience that the fallen soldiers are buried here in a beautiful place, but also realize that thousands of mainly young men who fought and died in a country other than their own. In terms of decor and environment, this is one of the nicer military cemeteries you can visit in Europe.

Kleve, Germany