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Limburg, one of the Netherlands' 12 provinces, is located in the country's southeastern corner. The province is bordered by Noord-Brabant province to the northwest, Gelderland province to the north, the state of Germany to the east, and Belgium to the southwest. From a historical point of view, Dutch Limburg was part of the duchy of Limburg, which became under the rule of the Kingdom of Netherlands in 1815. The treaty between Belgium and the Netherlands of 1839 divided the former larger territory of Limburg between the two states. Thus, there's a Limburg region in Belgium as well.[3] The landscape of Limburg province is slightly undulated, featuring the highest point of the continental Netherlands, the Vaalserberg, at an altitude of 322 meters above sea level. The predominant river flowing through the region is the Meuse.[2] The capital city, Maastricht, is located at the southwestern border of the province. The city is known for its considerable historical and cultural heritage. Additionally, Maastricht is the place where the European Union was formed.[8] Among other historical destinations is the town of Thorn and Hoensbroek Castle. For visitors seeking outdoor attractions, the province features three national parks de Meinweg, de Groote Peel, and de Maasduinen.[14] 

What Limburg is known for

Limburg's capital city is Maastricht, located in the southwestern corner of the province, in close proximity to the Netherlands' state borders with Belgium. The city developed from a Roman settlement. During the middle ages, Maastricht became a religious center and later a regional and cultural hub. After World War II, in 1981 and 1991, European Councils were held in Maastricht. The council held in 1991 resulted in the signing of the Maastricht Treaty, which led to the creation of the European Union and the euro. Presently, the city is visited by tourists for its cultural and historical wealth, as there are up to 1,677 national heritage buildings located within Maastricht's borders.[8] Among such historical heritage belongs the Basilica of Our Lady, standing on a site of a church that was built as early as the fifth century AD, making it "probably the oldest Christian church in the Netherlands."[9] In the city center, found in the largest square in Maastricht is located Basilica of St. Servatius. Another cultural hotspot is Bonnefanten, featuring a collection of old masters and modern art. Bonnefantenmuseum residing in a building designed by Italian architect Aldo Rossi, offers varied exhibitions, guided tours, and lectures to its visitors.[10] Located just outside the city borders are the North Caves of St. Pietersberg hill. The caves are comprised of a labyrinth of more than 20,000 corridors. The tours of the caves are available with a professional guide.[11]

Beyond the capital city, there are other considerable historical destinations in the province of Limburg. One such spot is the town of Thorn, established in 990 as a monastery for noblewomen. In the 18th century, noblewomen fled Thorn to evade the French, and the town became inhabited by a generally poorer population. A number of people couldn't afford to pay taxes at that time, so the French made windows on their houses smaller by bricking them up. Then, the houses were painted white to hide the difference. Today, one of the city's main attractions is the old white houses. Another historical sight is the Abdijkerk Thorn (monastery church), from which the city originated.[12] Limburg province also features one of the largest castles in Holland, the Hoensbroek Castle. The castle museum of Hoensbroek offers adventure hunts for children and collections featuring fashions and objects dating back centuries. The castle tour includes 40 historical chambers, with the oldest part of the building dating back to 1250.[13]


Limburg is located in the southeastern corner of the Netherlands, encompassing 2,209 square kilometers of land. Compared to the rest of the Netherlands, the province is more undulated. Limburg also features the highest point in the continental Netherlands, which is the Vaalserberg, at an altitude of 322.4 meters above sea level. The Meuse is the predominant river flowing through the region, passing through the area in the south-north direction.[2] The southern part of the province is relatively hilly and is a  loess-covered rock plateau with a coalfield under some parts." The land is currently used for wheat, rye, sugar beets, and fruit cultivation. The chief industrial center is Maastricht, Limburg's capital city. The rest of the province, formed by the sandy soils, is used for farming.[3]

There are three national parks located within Limburg's borders. The area between the Maas River and the German border in the northern part of Limburg is protected as the Maasduinen National Park. The nature preserve comprises forests, heathlands, fens, lakes, and shifting sands. Additionally, Maasduinen is reportedly the longest belt of river dunes in the Netherlands. Animal species such as beavers, foxes, bats, toads, lizards, snakes, and numerous birds can be found in the region.[4] Another national park within Limburg's borders is De Meinweg, enclosed on three sides by Germany. Meinweg is part of the German-Dutch border park Maas-Swalm-Nette. The area is formed by "forests, heaths, fens and stream valleys," creating varied landscapes and conditions for plant and animal species. Local animals include vipers, boars, foxes, polecats, stone martens, and ermines. Additionally, 110 bird species have been recorded to inhabit the national park area.[5] The third of the national parks in Limburg province is De Groote Peel National Park, which is the smallest national park in the Netherlands. The protected area is known for its history of peat extraction. Nowadays, the park is inhabited by a variety of bird species. Apart from that, bat bridges and plank paths are typical features of the Groote Peel National Park.[6]

Regarding the average temperatures in Limburg's capital, Maastricht, the warmest month is July, with an average daily temperature of 24°C. Reportedly, January is the coldest month, with 5°C being the average temperature. April tends to be the driest month in Maastricht due to having 55 mm of rainfall on average. The most precipitation falls during July, receiving about 97 mm on average.[7] 


The Limburg area has been inhabited since prehistoric times. Reportedly, human tools and remains dating back 250,000 years were found in the Belvedere Quarry near Maastricht. The remains belonged to the early hunters and gatherers who inhabited the local area. During the last glacial epoch, which ended approximately 10,000 years ago, the province of Limburg was home to Neanderthals, who would hunt animals such as Mammoths, Woolly-Rhinos, bison, horses, and reindeer.[1] 

For the centuries that followed, the area of the current Limburg province was inhabited and ruled by a variety of powers, including Romans, Carolingians, Habsburg Spaniards, Prussians, Habsburg Austrians, and France, due to its convenient strategic position. Under Julius Caesar's rule, Romans conquered the territory in 53 BC. Eventually, Roman authority in the area weakened, which Franks exploited, overtaking the environment. During the rule of the Carolingian dynasty, the Maas valley of Limburg became among the predominant cultural and political regions in Europe. However, after the death of Charlemagne, the Frankish empire split. After that, Limburg territory was ruled by various kings and rulers. By the late Middle Ages, most of today's Limburg territory was divided between the Duchy of Brabant, the Duchy of Gelderland, the Duchy of Jülich, the Prince-Bishopric of Liège or the Electorate of Cologne, all of them being subordinate to the Holy Roman Empire.[2] In 1648, the duchy of Limburg was divided between the United Provinces of the Netherlands and the Spanish Netherlands. The area was reunited again in 1815 and became part of the Kingdom of Netherlands. However, in 1839, Limburg was divided again by the Dutch-Belgian treaty, which split the area into Dutch Limburg as we know it today, and Belgian provinces.[3]

During the Second World War, a considerable number of Limburg inhabitants hid Jews who were running from war. Thus, during the war, the Jewish population in Limburg increased significantly. Limburg, specifically its capital, Maastricht, was also the place where the "Treaty on European Union" was signed. With that treaty, European Union was formed.[2]

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