City Portrait

Welcome, surfing the Net you have landed in Toenisvorst! We are a cozy little town of 30,000 people along the lower Rhine in western Germany about 20km from the Dutch border. Man has lived here since the early stone age, when todays countryside was covered with forests, small grasslands and wetlands in the lower lying areas. Later on Romans and Germanic tribes settled on this fertile land. They were followed by Frankish tribes and remnants of their settlements are still evident today as they have left the town with many landmarks. Therefore, Toenisvorst is also known as the town of mansions and farmsteads.

Four Frankish fortresses with beautiful ramparts and many farms surrounded with moats cover the landscape. Toenisvorst is comprised of two former villages, nestled in an agricultural countryside. 1970 was the year Toenisvorst came into being, after the merging of the two independent neighbouring communities of Vorst and St. Toenis. Here you will find the typical lower Rhine landscape of Willow lined streets that invite cycling tours. The surrounding countryside can be explored via quiet country roads, where cycling paths and pedestrian roads lead to the centre of both villages. In St. Toenis, during the summer months, you can even take your bike along for an historic train ride. The locomotive, the majestic “Schluff”, departs from Wilhelmplatz and continues its journey on to Krefeld.   

Toenisvorst has maintained it’s rural roots and has little industry. Fruit, flower and vegetable production indicate a strong agricultural base. The fertile soils of the lower Rhine also allow for the growing of grains and sugar beets.

“Altbier” has long been the traditional drink in Toenisvorst. It is a brown, over aged beer. In the 19th century you could still find nine breweries and distilleries in Vorst and seven in St. Toenis. In the mid 1980’s the last brewery in St. Toenis, brewery Rixen, closed it’s doors. Since there are no longer any local breweries, Altbier has been replaced by Pilsener as the beer of choice.

The typical cuisine of the lower Rhine is naturally also found in Toenisvorst. A type of “Heaven and Earth” (fried blood sausage mixed with apples, potatoes, onions and bacon) is a local delicacy. Toenisvorst has adopted it’s own name for blood sausage and refers to it as “Floens”. Another local favourite is “Panhas”, a sausage broth, cooked until solid and then cut into slices. 

Local celebrations naturally include Carnival, celebrated mostly in February, followed by the  “Dance into May” on the evening of April 30th, “Schuetzenfeste of the Brotherhoods” during spring and summer and the “Martinsfest” in the fall. This latter celebration reenacts the beggar scene, where it is said that St. Martin cut his cloak in half and gave it to a beggar to keep him from freezing.

There are no longer any movie theatres in the town. Instead, Forum Corneliusfeld has developed it’s own theatre scene, where prominent actors and actresses are featured.

Every Thursday, local farmers and merchants offer their wares at a market held in front of the old city hall in St. Tönis and in front of the church in Vorst. In the summertime, many opportunities exist to enjoy a relaxing drink at one of the many street cafes. Your outing may be extended well into the night at one of the local beer gardens.

Toenisvorst also has it’s own claim to fame. It is listed in the Guinness Book of Records as the place where the longest streetcar route in the world begins. And Europes biggest medical aid Organization, action medeor e.V., was founded in Tönisvorst in 1964, where you can find its headquarters.

Toenisvorst has enjoyed a city partnership since 1979 with the French city of Sees, located in Normandy. In 1998 Stare Mesto of the Czech Republic joined this partnership.

If you would like to find out more about Toenisvorst or would like to visit us, look under Portraet for a map of the local area, travel connections as well as sightseeing attractions. Accommodations can be found under Culture & Tourism/ Hotel & Gastronomy.