The Dancing Cats of Bergeijk Cycle Route

Witchcraft in the Brabant Campine

1 hour 40 minutes (22.0 km)

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The Kattenberg is in the middle of the forests of Bergeijk. This burial mound was once terribly ‘bewitched.’ Here, the witches danced hand in hand. Or should we say, paw in paw. Because so that no one would recognise them, the witches changed into black cats. If as a sole man you walked by, the witches would lure you into the ring and force you to dance with them. And sometimes with fatal consequences. That is why every man avoided this place. Except for Dorus, the miller. Read his story here and the legend of the dancing cats.

Long, long ago, Bergeijk had a miller called Dorus. He milled grains to make the most delicious breads. Day in, day out, until one day the wind died down. The wind still blew at night. Dorus knew what that meant, mill by night. His worst nightmare, because it was ‘bewitched’ around his mill.

Midnight, time t…

The Kattenberg is in the middle of the forests of Bergeijk. This burial mound was once terribly ‘bewitched.’ Here, the witches danced hand in hand. Or should we say, paw in paw. Because so that no one would recognise them, the witches changed into black cats. If as a sole man you walked by, the witches would lure you into the ring and force you to dance with them. And sometimes with fatal consequences. That is why every man avoided this place. Except for Dorus, the miller. Read his story here and the legend of the dancing cats.

Long, long ago, Bergeijk had a miller called Dorus. He milled grains to make the most delicious breads. Day in, day out, until one day the wind died down. The wind still blew at night. Dorus knew what that meant, mill by night. His worst nightmare, because it was ‘bewitched’ around his mill.

Midnight, time to get up. Dorus climbs out of his bedstead and lights a torch. He bravely enters his mill. One minute of … calm. But then black cats suddenly appear from every nook and cranny. They attack Dorus. Scratching, screeching and biting. Prettified, Dorus runs out of his mill. ‘If this is how it must be, I will no longer mill!’ It is terrible because Bergeijk is now without bread.

Jan, the miller’s boy, does not believe in witchcraft. ‘I will mill the grains at night. And I will teach those cats a lesson!’ The evening proceeds quietly. Then a small black cat appears. Jan lures the cat towards him. ‘See, there’s nothing wrong.’ But then he too is surrounded. Paw on paw, 41 cats dance in a circle around the miller’s boy. He is startled, grabs an old sabre and fights them off. The cats run away. But they leave something behind… 

The following morning, Dorus finds something gruesome, a severed finger with a ring. The miller falls over from the shock, ‘This is my missing wife’s ring!’ He forgets his fear and runs into the forest. There he searches, under the trees, in the marsh, by the Heksenbusselke, in the air and near the castle (in the air). But without result. Dorus is sure, ‘There is only one place my wife could be: the Kattenberg.’

The miller gathers all his courage and goes to the burial ground that night. And da da, what does he see there but 41 cats, dancing paw in paw in a coven. The miller is determined: ‘I will find my wife here.’ He steps into the ring and dances with the cats. All night long. And then he feels something strange. A cat that is missing a digit.

The sun rises. As if by magic, all the cats disappear. Without a trace. Dorus is distraught. He goes to the church and asks the pastor of Bergeijk for help. The pastor knows that the witches are tempted by the sounds of the church bells; to catch souls. And he decides to ring the bells of the Luihuis. The bells sound and Dorus waits. Then the sky turns black, and 41 witches come to the church on their broomsticks. The pastor sprinkles holy water in the air. And as soon as the holy drops touch the witches, they fall to the ground. There, they change into large boulders. So does Dorus’s wife.

The miller has lost his wife for good. In remembrance he places a plaque of a black cat in his mill. Because cat or not, Dorus loved her.

Today, you will still find the boulders (witches) all over Bergeijk. And on some nights, you can still hear sounds from the Theater de Kattendans. Find out who is dancing there. Cycle the route, enjoy the legend and learn (more) about the stories of Bergeijk in the Cultuurhuis.

Route contact point
If there is something wrong with the signage or the route, please report it via the Meldpunt knooppuntroutes Brabant (Brabant cycle junction contact point)

  • Signposting

    Simply follow the signs and cycle along the route from one numbered junction to the next.

    Simply follow the signs and cycle along the route from one numbered junction to the next.

Sights on this route

Starting point: Eerselsedijk 4
5571 CM Bergeijk
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A
86
B

A belfry in front of the church.

The Luihuis
85
C

Kattenberg

Kattenberg (Galgenberg)
84
88
08
D

Monumental tree

Heksenbusselke
E

This mill is the former thirlage mill of Postel Abbey.

Standerdmolen
77
87
25
F

Birdwatching hut

Vogelkijkhut De Liskes
26
05
G

A castle once stood here.

Luchtkasteel
85
H
86
J
End point: Eerselsedijk 4
5571 CM Bergeijk
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Story of the route

Starting point: Eerselsedijk 4
5571 CM Bergeijk
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  • Start point: Theater De Kattendans
    In the past, De Kattendans theatre was called the ‘Community Centre’ in the Bergeijks dialect. This theatre likes to present the exceptional world of theatre, dance and music.
  • Luihuis
    The Luihuis is a belfry in front of the church. Although there used to be more of such belfries in North Brabant, most have since disappeared.
  • Kattenberg (Galgenberg)
    The Kattenburg is in the middle of the forests of Bergeijk. This burial mould used to be terribly ‘bewitched.’ 
  • Heksenbusselke
    Is a monumental tree where, in the past, 41 cats regularly came together to change into witches.
  • Standerdmolen 
    This mill is the former thirlage mill of Postel Abbey. The oldest reference to it dates from 1330 but the current mill is from the 18th century, probably 1758.
  • Vogelkijkhut De Liskes
    The birdwatching hut in De Liskes nature reserve in Bergeijk offers a spectacular view over the connected ponds in all directions.
  • Luchtkasteel
    A castle once stood here. The castle was originally called ‘Huis Berch Eyck’. Bergeijk Castle has exited as ruins for years. The moats were filled in the 19th century. For about 100 years, you couldn’t see any of the castle on the ground. That was until several years ago when the contours of the castle were marked out.
End point: Eerselsedijk 4
5571 CM Bergeijk
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  • 86
  • 85
  • 84
  • 88
  • 08
  • 77
  • 87
  • 25
  • 26
  • 05
  • 85
  • 86
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