In 1854, the government decided to expand the military domain towards Helchteren and release the training grounds under Heppen and Leopoldsburg. Just like on ‘Strooiendorp’, more than 170 hectares of land were sold by the municipality of Beverlo in 1857 and could be built on the ‘Asdonckheide’ (Asdonck heather), which later became ‘het Immert’. 60 of the 160 plots were bought by a certain Blanchemanche.
The name Immert is derived from the ‘Iemervijver’ (Iemer pond), a swampy area with a fish farm, located behind the current farm Schroyen in the Asdonckstraat. The Immert is in fact the transition from the dry Kempen to the Netevallei (Valley of the Nete in Olmen).
For a long time, a large part of the Immert belonged to two families; the family Debry, who owned a small castle in the Asdonckstraat and the family of General Henrard who owned a large villa at the corner of the Olmenstraat and the Kanaalstaat opposite the boarding school ‘De Immert’.
In 1929, at the urging of the residents of ‘Iemer’ and with the support of pastor Aerts, a small school was built. The land was donated by colonel doctor Debry. From 1930 the community school was officially opened.
During the Second World War, Antwerp Jews were housed in the school, which would later be transported to Germany. Also in the villa of General Henrard were Jews in hiding.
School and chapel of Immert in the Asdonckstraat
Because the state of the roads was still bad after the war, Father Germis urged the diocese to build a small chapel in Immert. From now on the 500 inhabitants of Immert, half of whom are miners, could follow the mass here. The chapel was built against the school and consecrated in 1948. From the same year, the patron saint of miners, Saint Barbara, was celebrated on 4 December in and around the Immert chapel. Due to the lack of miners, after the closure of the Beringen mine, an end was put to this tradition in 1994.
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