The Flag of Limburg
The Flag of Limburg is white/bluew/yellow (2:1:2). The small blue band represents the river Maas. Yellow has been a color involved with Belgium. And the White refers to the netherlands (The Red, White Blue can be found back in the Red Lion, and white/blue bands).
The Red Lion on the flag is a typically Limburger lion. It's different from the Dutch Lions. The difference is in the tail. A Dutch Lion has 1 tail, the Limburger has 2 tails.
The official flag of Limburg used to be Red/White (Polish flag reversed) during 1815. But when the province was incorporated into the Netherlands in 1830 this flag was forbidden as the other provinces (already part of the Netherlands) didn't had an official flag either. The other part of Limburg (now part of Belgium) was allowed recognized this flag. And soon the flag became a symbol of anti-Dutch feelings. Limburgers had more affinity with the Belgians and Germans.
Resistance stayed and over the years The Dutch government later granted Limburg their own coat of arms in 1886. But that didn't help so in 1938 a new flag was granted to Limburg, in 1953 the flag could finally be raised. First without yellow, but 3 months later with the yellow incorporated.
Why yellow is included is unkown, it could be a sign to Belgium (the flemish flag is yellow) or to Catholisism (only 2 provinces are Catholic in the Netherlands).
The anthem of Limburg
Few provinces are so proud of their heritage as Limburg is. So that's why most of the Limburgers know the anthem. When it's being played it's customary to sing it along. Usually in the local dialect or in Dutch. Below the text in Dutch and English. The anthem dates back from 1909 and is entitled "In het bronsgroen eikenhout" (In the bronzegreen oakwood)
In 't bronsgroen eikehout, nachtegaal dae zungt
Euver 't groête koreveld, Leeuwerik zie léédje brinkt
Woe de herdershoren klinkt, Langs beekskes door
Limburg mie vaderland, Doa is woe iech woên
Limburg mie vaderland, Joa doa is 't sjoên
Waar in 't bronsgroen eikenhout, 't nachtegaaltje zingt;
Over 't malsche korenveld 't lied des leeuwriks klinkt;
Waar de hoorn des herders schalt langs der beekjes boord:
Daar is mijn Vaderland, Limburgs dierbaar oord!
Where in the bronzegreen oakwood, the nightingale sings;
Over the tender cornfield, the song of the lark sounds;
Where the horn of the shepperd sounds, at the edge of the stream;
There is my fatherland, Limburg beloved place;
There is my fatherland, Limburg beloved place!
Interesting fact is that the Dutch and Dialect version have a different ending. Instead of:
"There's my fatherland, Limburg beloved place;
There's my fatherland, Limburg beloved place"
The dialect version mentiones.
"Limburg my fatherland, that's where I live;
Limburg my fatherland, that's where it's beautifull."
Usually the Dutch version is used even if the rest of the anthem is sung in Dialect, it's more better-known that way.
The OLS "Oud Limburgs Schuttersfeest" (Old Limburger Marksmanfest" is a competition among all the civic guards of the provinces of Limburg (the Dutch Limburg and the neighbouring Belgian Limburg).
Al civic guards from each town (over 150 groups) compete with each other to be the most skilled shooters.
Shooters have to hit small targets on a long wooden pole, the town to win the contest will host the event next year.
This is still a very traditional thing that both provinces share from the time they were 1 province and is nice to see. There's not only the shooting contest but prices can be won for over 80 different disciplines, most of which are won in the parade (best costum, best marching group, best banner etc.). Also the local brass bands accompanying the civic guards compete in this contest.
In 2006 the contest will be held in the village of Stramproy. The main events take place during 1 weekend, but usually the following weekends will involve competition as well to determine the winning town.
Besides the OLS there are several smaller contests throughout the province during spring/summer.
Yes, Limburg is the roof of the Netherlands with mountains!
If I explain our highest mountain is 322m high (1000ft) people start laughing and almost don't accept it in the category "small hill". But don't forget that in a flat country this can be considered rather big.
Technically the hills aren't even hills. They are plateau's separated by valleys made by the small rivers and streams in the southern part of the province (south of Sittard the hillside area can be found). That means that after a steep climb, there's a flat area (ok, slightly bumpy) instead of just a peak.
Still our hills shouldn't be underestimated, tough climbs are never very high and long, they are pretty treacherous and steep. Steep enough to make it as a mountain in the Tour de France. The top of the Cauberg in Valkenburg (the ultimate cycling mountain in NL) will be a finishplace for this grand tour in 2006!!
The Limburger are known for their strange funny language they speak.
Though the Limburg dialect is not officially recognized as a language by the Dutch authority. The European Union does recognize Limburg as an official language.
But that's a lot fuzz, let's focus on the language.. It sounds very German at first. And basically it's just a twisted way of combining both languages with a bit of French and own invented words. With the strong accent people from Limburg have, it's sounds like they are singing all the time. Well known is the very soft "G" used in this area.
The dialect is not the same throughout the province.. Many people speak it in different ways and there are many differences. People from Kerkrade (literaly on the German border) sounds very German is hard to understand for many other people from the province. Basically every city/town/village has its own dialect, which looks a lot like the dialect from the neighbouring places. But small differences are noticable for the trained ear. Nontheless, most people are able to understand each others speaking their own dialect.
Only those not from the province have a hard time understanding it.
In the south of Limburg every village has its own maytree. Mostly a pine tree. The decorated tree is put upright in the centre of the village by the young men of the community.
The may celebration, with planting the tree, is a very old tradition. It was found in the entire western europe. It was a time of fertility. The beginning of summer, the starting of the growing season.
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