Kleve has enjoyed a long tradition as a city of culture, history and art. 

The swan became the heraldic animal of the counts of Kleve, who were later elevated to dukes. During the Middle Ages they were the most powerful rulers of the Niederrhein. The Schwanenburg (Swan Castle) was home to these dukes and counts and it is the most prominent feature of the city, visible at great distances. The baroque style Forstgarten provided inspiration for Versailles and Sans Souci in Potsdam.