Steyl is situated on the right bank of the river Meuse in Limburg (Netherlands). A ferry connects Steyl with Baarlo. In the past, Steyl has often had to deal with floods when the Meuse has burst its banks. The last two major floods were in 1993 and 1995. During these floods, much of Old Steyl was flooded. Steyl is divided into two areas:
- (1) Former Steyl: The old center, located west of the Roermondseweg, the main road in Tegelen.
- (2) New Steyl: The new area, located east of the Roermondseweg. In popular parlance, this area called Alland.
In the late Middle Ages and modern times, Steyl was a port on the Meuse for unloading marl, wine, coal and other items for the Gulick. This brought great wealth to Steyler merchants, especially in the 18th century. Some merchants, such as the Moubis family, built large mansions from the revenues earned by their trade (viz. the Moubis estate). The old port on the Meuse is now gone but the houses still form a picturesque village panorama of a glorious past. The Moubis estate was eventually sold to a monastic community of nuns which then significantly expanded it with a church and monastery buildings.
Divine Word Missionaries
The village contained houses from four religious congregations over the past century – each with its own monastery. Three of them were founded by the German priest, Father Arnold Janssen in the 1870s. He had emigrated to the Netherlands because in the newly founded German Empire, the Catholic Church was put under pressure by Chancellor Otto von Bismarck in the Kulturkampf. Janssen founded the Divine Word Missionaries (officially called the Society of the Divine Word (Latin: Societas Verbi Divini, (SVD)), a worldwide catholic missionary congregation. Today the congregation is active in more than 70 countries. Janssen's monastic family today includes two mission congregations, one congregation for worship and a congregation of sisters. Another congregation of sisters has since left Steyl. Father Arnold Janssen was canonized on October 5, 2003 in Rome by Pope John Paul II.
The village was a rectory until early last century. Not until 1933 was Steyl elevated to the status of an independent parish by Bishop Lemmens of Roermond.
The Mission Museum is the oldest museum in Venlo. It has an extensive collection on display, thanks to the SVD Fathers. From 1875 on, these priests travelled around the world and have all contributed to the collection. In short, there are: animals from the polar regions and the South American jungles, costumes from China and artefacts from Indonesia. A more sinister element of the exhibition exhibits the clothes worn by two Steyler monks when they were killed by spear thrusts during the Boxer Rebellion (1899–1901) in China. One can still see the blood stains and holes in the clothes. The uniqueness of this museum is that the arrangement of the collection has not been substantially changed since its inception in the 19th century.
Another museum is the botanical garden Jochum Hof named after the SVD biology teacher Father Peter Jochum.
The Limburgs Schutterij Museum is also located in Steyl. This museum is a collection of the clothes and accoutrements of many of Limburg's Schutterij organisations (see also militia). Unfortunately, the museum was struck by fire in April 10, 2008. Part of the collection was saved, but damage to the old building was significant. The Foundation that supports the museum is still renovating the building and continues to exhibit the collection.
- A.J. Welschen 2000-2005: Course Dutch Society and Culture, International School for Humanities and Social Studies ISHSS, Universiteit van Amsterdam