Groesbeek is a predominantly Roman Catholic municipality in the Dutch province of Gelderland. Its total area is 44.16 kilometers and it has 18,947 inhabitants (January 1, 2010). The municipality is bounded on the east by Germany and in the south and west by the province of Limburg. The center is located 10 km southeast of Nijmegen and 15 km west of the German city of Kleve.
Besides the central town Groesbeek itself, a number of smaller villages and hamlets belong to the municipality: Berg en Dal, Heilig Land Stichting, (lit. Holy Land Foundation), part of Beek-Ubbergen, De Horst, and Breedeweg.
Groesbeek is located in a hilly and wooded area that continues into Germany as the Reichswald. The hills and valleys of Groesbeek were formed around 200,000 years ago during the last ice age, the Saalian Stage. The highest point of Groesbeek is 90 meter above sea level. Excavations have shown that Groesbeek, just as nearby Nijmegen, has been inhabited since Roman times. In 1990, remnants dating back to 1040 of the castle of the Lords of Groesbeek were excavated.
In 1865, a railroad was built connecting Groesbeek to Nijmegen and Kleve—in 1991 use of the railroad was terminated. Notwithstanding the better connections, Groesbeek remained poor and many inhabitants made a living by picking and selling blueberries in the woods surrounding Groesbeek and by making brooms from the plentiful heather. In modern times with easy commuting, many inhabitants make a living elsewhere in the region, especially in Nijmegen.
On September 17th 1944, thousands of allied paratroopers landed in Groesbeek during Operation Market Garden. The objective of this operation was to take the bridges at Eindhoven, Grave, Nijmegen and Arnhem, so that the allied forces could quickly push through to the IJsselmeer and from thereon to the North German Plains. If the operation had succeeded, World War II would have ended before Christmas 1944. The operation failed and Groesbeek stayed in the front line almost until the end of the war, suffering heavy damage. The Groesbeek Canadian War Cemetery, where over 2000 Canadian soldiers find their final resting place, is located 3 km north of the center of Groesbeek.