Only men are allowed to be members of the Gilde. Women are strictly forbidden. During the week, members of the Gilde patrol the streets to maintain law and order. You could be, for example, arrested for carrying an umbrella and then paraded through the streets. Don’t worry. For 10 Euros you can buy back your freedom.
On Tuesday all the members of the Gilde dress up and march from the center of town to the Gildeplatz, which is where the shooting contest takes place. Members must wear a black tuxedo and top hat and carry their “weapons.” (Note that the weapons are wooden guns that don’t actually shoot). As I watched them march last week, I wondered whether or not the Gilde could live up to its original purpose (i.e. protecting the city).
The German is not a member of the Gilde however, I am encouraging it. It is very amusing to watch 2000 drunken men march in a straight line. As you can see, we celebrated a bit with the neighbors. Maybe next year the German will have his top hat on.