Only 15 minutes by car from Maastricht, you will find Fort Eben-Emael, in Belgium.
This was allegedly the STRONGEST FORTRESS OF EUROPE in its time. Yet, it took the Germans only 15 MINUTES to take control over the fortress when the second world war started!
You will learn how this was possible when you visit the fort, which is opened to the public only one weekend per month. So check out the website and plan your visit in advance!
On open days, a guided tour will be given, which takes you through the endless tunnels of the fortress. This tour will give you a vivid idea of how the soldiers lived there and how terribly wrong things went on that May 10th 1940.
After the interesting tour, you can walk outside on the terrain and visit the bunkers and guns of the fortress.
Moreover, halfway the marked route (3 km), there is a fantastic panorama point over the valley of the river Maas.
Do not underestimate the size of the fortress, you can easily spend half a day here, museum, guided tour through the tunnels and walk outside included!
Rue du Fort 40
Noorbeek is a popular Limburgean village that is situated near Belgium and Germany.Its a must-see when you visit Maastricht. It takes one hour by bike when you follow the mainroad from Maastricht to Aachen and turn to the right at Margraten. Striking landmarks of Noorbeek are the 18 th century timber framing farms, and the "pley" (square) were you find the famous old St.Brigida church and Chapel, the Queen Wilhelmina Monument (by Gerrit frint dating from 1923).Noorbeek was the firts village liberated from the Nazies in 1944 and a monument at the square reminds us of that day. At the Onderstraat nr. 12 you can see the Maria-farm dating from the 18 th century. At the Kempestraat nr 5 and 6 you find authentic timberframing houses dating from the early 19 th century.The hillside and woods and weadows surrounding this lovely smallvillage are a good deal for long or short walks into the nature. There is a tourist office near the Pley.
Some of the most fun I have had in and around Maastricht is when I rent a bike.Bike rental is available right beside the train station.There is a 7 euro charge per day and a deposit of 50euro.It is a good idea to visit the VVV and purchase a map detailing all the bike routes in Limburg and some in Belgium as well.The areas to the west of Maastricht are flat for the most part and cycling is very easy.The countryside is very scenic and just a delight to visit.Going south or southeast of Maastricht will carry you into more hilly terrain but the countryside is breathtaking.I spent 4 days starting my ride in Maastricht and riding all day and ending up back in Maastricht before nightfall.I would advise carrying a small backpack with some water and something to eat and just make a day of riding around enjoying the rural areas around Limburg.
Allready at the north of the Maasdal (Maas Valley), in Stein, you can see it shing on the horizon: DSM. Yes, we are now most off the beaten as possible, since here Maastricht Surroundings stop since Maastricht tourist offices do not generally see places like Geleen and Sittard as immediate surrounding. For tourist info on these places check under the names of Sittard and so on. For the South Limburgian tourist district, there is a good co-opration with the tourist offices in Maastricht, Valken burg and Heerlen, they overlap eachother in proviving informations, reservations, in booking hotelrooms (yes, at crowded festivals like the Preuvenemint, it is all booked out as for hotels ot restaurants; so you might find yourself being in a hotel in Heerlen). Many of the regional off the beaten places mentioned in my Maastricht pages are located in this page, since they are yet too small, and therfor not large enough to build many usefull tips about, yet, they should in my eyes be mentioned since they are absolutely interested, especially in case you want to see soemthing new. My list of off the beaten path tips will not be complete without mentioning the DSM, at the border of Sittard-Geleen city. Geleen has grown out to an importat industrial centre. Once here the biggest coalmine of Europe was located. Now the surroundinmg is dominated by a petro-chemical industry DSM. (Dutch State Mines) after the closing of the mines in South-East Limbeurg, it developed as a artifial fertilizer company. Coming/going from Maastricht at the highway to the north you cant escape the look of this factory complex. Here it is clear that we are dealing with a future new monument. Lovers of indart (industrial art) love to have it as object for photografie or artfilms. Indeed, I must admit, already as a little kid I was impressed by the large (kilometres long) complex which in the evening dark is sort of magic by its lights, tubes and towers.
't Bassin is the historic harbour on the river Maas. It has been renovated a couple of years back, and since then it has regained a lot of it's atmosphere. Small boats and yachts are docked here. Along the water you can find many restaurants, pubs and shops. It's a great place to go for a drink in the summertime. But it's also very nice to look at all teh beautiful boats that dock here. In June you can enjoy the harbour festivities.
The way to 't Bassin is signposted from the Market Square. It's only a couple of minutes walking. You can also get there by walking along the river.
When you have been that lucky that you finally have found Maastricht, you should not waste the opportunity to visit two city's that are right in the neighboorhood (+/- 30 km from Maastrcht), that is Aachen and Liège. These cities form, toghether with Maastricht the so called 'Euregio,' an unique league that transgresses national borders and shows that European Integration is in fact a good thing. One has to see them: Aachen, is - apart from its pleaqsant atmosphere and many gemütliche Kneipen, like 'Rethel pub' - an enormous interesting place to visit for it has been Charlemagne's favourite resort in the Middle-ages: of course for it's water. See the reminders of that great erea! Liège itself has it's particular reasons to attrack visitors who are in the Euregio: it has nearly a common historical identity to Maastricht, yet, on the other hand -being Wallonian- it has it's very own way in which that is embedded. And: though Maastricht and Liège are mutually influencing one 'n other, lifestyle completely differs: go f.e to the 'Des Olivettes' , a lovely pub, in the middle of the city, where typical Liègeain characters climb the stage (t.i. a piano on a small platform
) and sing along with Brell and Bécaud (franchophonic Héro's in chansons)Even you are invided, to take a chance:even if it's Rammstein you'd like to perform: people are enjoying the atmosphere, everyone is there for having a good time...It's a pub, that we in the Netherlands would call: 'het kleine café aan de haven' : where people still enjoy life, were everybody acceps one other's sound (even if it's Rammstein!!!)
Close to Maastricht, there is a little town where the houses are a bit special (YES, another one!!)
It's called Thorn..the main thing is that the houses are all white..which gives out a nice peacefull atmosphere on a sunny spring or summer day..
The beautiful landscape of Southern Limburg. Especially the surroundings of Slenaken, Epe, Mechelen, Gulpen. Here you can find those beautiful houses shown on the picture. As you can see in springtime the trees are in full blossom. Awesome.
One of the most controversial parts of Dutch railhistory has taken place in the Southern part of Limburg. It concerned the trajectory Maastricht-Aachen. In the late 20's (of the 20th century) a 12,5 km stretch of this trajectory had a total cost of 12 million guilders. Therefore it's named milliontrajectory. In 1988 this trajectory was cancelled. But because the train goes through such a beautiful landscape a couple of people started the Zuid Limburgse Stoomtrein Maatschappij. Throughout the year they use dieseltrains and steamtrains on this trajectory. See www.zlsm.nl for more details.
DRIELANDEN-PUNT & DRIELANDEN-LABYRINTH
“Vaals” is the most South – easterly place from Limburg.
Here you will find “het Drielandenpunt” where the Netherlands, Belgium and Germany border on. This is also the highest place from the Netherlands.
A funny thing to do is “het Drielanden-labyrinth” .
Where at least 17.000 hornbeams shape a maze of lanes. At the middle of this labyrinth is a platform that shows a great view of its surroundings.
For more info:click here
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