Falconry - Valkenswaard

The “Kempen” moorlands, as they lay on the migration route of the Peregrine falcon, was pre-eminently appropriate to the trapping of gear falcons. With Arendonk as its centre, falconers developed a trapping technique in the sixteenth century in which falcons were trapped in bow-nets, then tamed and trained for the chase.

Valkenswaard, besides Arendonk a meeting-place for falconers, became the most important centre for trapping falcons in Europe. Under the patronage of Maria of Hungary (1531 – 1555) many royal courts engaged the services of the falconers of Valkenswaard. This brought prosperity to the village of Valkenswaard, while the falconers also rose in prestige in their own community and held important positions. Those who were in the possession of a trained falcon could easily provide for their families up to the 19th century.