Gillrath, Germany

Name of your town: Gillrath

Distance to nearest bases: 10 minutes to either gate of the Geilenkirchen NATO Air Base, 15 minutes to Brunssum and AfNorth school, 25 minutes to Schinnen.

Distance to nearby towns: On the 56 directly between Geilenkirchen and Gangelt, it is a 10 minute or less drive to either. Heinsburg is 15-20 minutes away. Sittard is 20-25 minutes away.

Size of your town: Gillrath is a small village that will only take you about 2 minutes on the B56 to drive through.

Schools: St. Maria Namen is the local Kindergarten in Gillrath just next to the cemetery (not as creepy as it sounds.) There is a nice German elementary school as well with a large Italian population. There are special Italian language classes offered in the week for native Italian speakers.

Busses: There are two busstops in Gillrath for AfNorth schools.

Sense of community: Gillrath is small, but has a huge heart. They celebrate all the holidays with enthusiasm. It’s a wonderful place to live if you want to soak up the local culture.

Local businesses:

  • Two produce stands: Bischoff’s right off the B56 has the best produce year around, and the one on Kreisbahnstrasse does seasonal stuff very well… fresh flowers and plants, pumpkins, and Christmas trees.
  • Toy store: Reganbogenland is just off the B56.
  • There is one bakery on the B56 and a very nice florist on the B56.
  • The Grueneswarenhaus is a garden shop with a bit of everything including riding boots, kids toys, animal feed, and flower pots. It’s worth stopping in just to see what’s there.
  • The Grillmaster makes good fries. The Argentinian Steakhouse has not gotten good reviews.
  • We have two good makeup artists and a hair dresser.
  • An ATM machine/Geldautomat is right on the B56.
  • Il Genios Pizzaria makes great pizza and pastas, does take out orders in 15-20 minutes, and is very friendly.
  • We also have a local gas station (not an ESSO), a quad bike shop, and a wooden religious figure shop.

Holidays/Special Events:

  • Carnival Parade: 2008 was the first Carnival parade for Gillrath in almost 40 years, but it was very successful and they are going to do it again. This is a tradition that will be kept up here for a while. The parade is small, but a lot of fun and it is possible to be involved for a very small fee.
  • Spring and Fall Schutzenfest with a parade: The Schutzenbrudershaft (shooting team) of Gillrath is very active, so every spring and every fall, there will be several small parades with the band, the men dressed in their suits, and the king and queen marching as well.
  • Historic Bakehouse on Schliefweg: In the summer there will be day when they bake breads and pies in the old brick oven on Schliefweg. In the winter, with a reservation, you can go there and see St. Nikolaus who will give treats to all the children. It’s very local and fun to see.
  • St. Martin’s Day: Gillrath almost always has their celebration on a Saturday. Mass is at the church first, then the parade starts with St. Martin leading it on his horse. They do a large loop, then return to the fire station for the goodies. The fire department collects money and sells tickets in September or early October, then all of that money is spent on the children’s goodie bags. Children must have a ticket to get a bag. They are huge and full of a lot of good things including the traditional bread. (Suggested 5Euro donation per ticket, but you can give more/less)
  • Selfkantbahn: The old steam train runs all year on the weekends between Gillrath and Schierwaldenrath. In the Spring, there is a spargel (asparagus) train with a gourmet meal at the end. In late November and December, the Nikolauszug runs where St. Nikolaus boards the train about 5 minutes into the ride and hands out little bags with bread, chocolate, and an orange to each child. It’s getting popular and sells out quickly, so I usually buy tickets early.

Parks: Gillrath has one small playground near the car dealer on the south side of the B56 – the last left when you’re driving towards Stahe.

Nature/Walks: There is a forest on the south side of the town, so it’s an easy walk/bike ride to the forest or in and around the farm fields. You can walk to the large playground in Neiderbusch and it’s just a quick walk to Cafe Am Rodebach just inside the border of Stahe. If you have enough time, it is an easy walk straight into Geilenkirchen or Gangelt. A bike ride to the swimming pool at Haus Hammacher in Gangelt is easy on the farm roads.

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