Kevelaer is a town in the district of Kleve, in North Rhine-Westphalia in Germany. It is the largest Catholic pilgrimage location within north-western Europe. More than 1 million pilgrims, mostly from Germany and the Netherlands, visit Kevelaer every year to honour the Virgin Mary.[2] The population in 2015 was 28,311.


Coat of arms
Location of Kevelaer within Kleve district
Coordinates: 51°35′0″N 06°15′0″E
StateNorth Rhine-Westphalia
Admin. regionDüsseldorf
  MayorDominik Pichler (SPD)
  Total100.6 km2 (38.8 sq mi)
20 m (70 ft)
  Density280/km2 (720/sq mi)
Time zoneCET/CEST (UTC+1/+2)
Postal codes
47623, 47624, 47625, 47626, 47627
Dialling codes0 28 32
Vehicle registrationKLE, GEL


Historical affiliations

County of Guelders 1300–1339
Duchy of Guelders 1339–1393
Duchy of Jülich 1393–1423
Duchy of Guelders 1423–1543
Habsburg Netherlands 1543–1556
Spanish Netherlands 1556–1713
 Kingdom of Prussia 1713–1794
French Republic 1794–1804
French Empire 1804–1814
 Kingdom of Prussia 1815–1871
 German Empire 1871–1918
 Weimar Republic 1919–1933
 Nazi Germany 1933–1945
 Allied-occupied Germany 1945–1949
 West Germany 1949–1990
 Germany 1990–present

Kevelaer is a center of veneration and pilgrimage to Our Lady, Comforter of the Afflicted (also known as Our Lady of Consolation. According to tradition, a merchant named Hendrik Busman, in the days before Christmas, 1641, three times heard a voice saying "Here thou shalt build me a chapel". He began to set money aside but feared his wife, Mechel, wouldn't approve. She, however, had a vision, around Pentecost, in which she saw a little chapel containing a print of Our Lady of Consolation, all bathed in light. The story was confirmed by two passing soldiers, who saw the house light up at night. Days before, two soldiers had tried to sell her two copperplate engravings with the same image on it, but she found it too expensive. Hendrik began building the chapel while Mechel tried to obtain the print. The chapel was consecrated and on 1 June 1642, the Sunday after Assumption of Mary, the print was displayed in it, and the chapel became such a popular destination for pilgrims that a church was built for them between 1643 and 1645. The little chapel was replaced in 1654 with a larger one, the Gnadenkapelle, which still houses the print.[3]

It is one of the best visited Catholic pilgrimage locations in north-western Europe. The Gnadenkapelle (Chapel of Grace) has drawn pilgrims to the Lower Rhine Region from all over the world for more than 360 years.[2] Pope John Paul II visited in 1987.[4]

Twin town

  • Bury St. Edmunds, Suffolk, United Kingdom. In the Middle Ages, Bury St. Edmunds was also an important place of pilgrimage.

Notable people


  1. "Bevölkerung der Gemeinden Nordrhein-Westfalens am 31. Dezember 2018" (in German). Landesbetrieb Information und Technik NRW. Retrieved 10 July 2019.
  2. City of Kevelaer
  3. Verspaandonk, J. A. J. M. (1975). Het hemels prentenboek: Devotie- en bidprentjes vanaf de 17e eeuw tot het begin van de 20e eeuw. Hilversum: Gooi en Sticht. p. 12.
  4. "City of Kevelaer - Wallfahrt".

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