Roermond has several squares the most important ones:
Market Square: Not very pretty, but the Basilique and the Town Hall can be found here. Every saturday the market is kept here.
MunsterSquare: Bumpy square, but with a nice athmosphere. Main sight is the Munsterchurch.
Kloosterwandplein: Modern Square where you can find hotel & theatre De Oranjerie. The fanciest place to stay for the night in Roermond.
Stationsplein. The station is on one side of the square, separated by a busy street though. No, the part leaning towards the center is more interesting, here you'll find a good range of bars and cafe's.
Roermond has a few large churches in the citycenter. The Munsterkerk is the oldest church in Roman style. It was built in the 13th century and is very light colored for a church. It's open for visits during summer in the afternoon.
Roermond lies next to the river Maas. As a lot of gravel has been mined over here, there are lot of articial lakes created. These are called the "Maasplassen". They are all connected to each other and the Maas river. It's the largest site for water recreation in the Netherlands. In summer many people go windsurfing, take a boat or just wander/cycle around the area.
In late winter havy rainfall causes the Maas to rise and turn this area into 1 giant lake of washing water. Dykes protect tthe towns from flooding.
The Reformed church was built as the chapel of the Franciscan monastery. Its oldest parts date from the 13th century, but the choir and most of the nave are from the 14th century, while there were numerous additions in the 15th and 16th century as well. In 1906 it was restored by you-know-who.
Recently I've become interested in cemeteries. Apart from a place where dead people are buried I also like to think of them as parks with works of art . There's no use making monuments for people if nobody looks at them, right? When you look at these places in a positive way you can find a lot to enjoy. I know I do.
There's a BIG cemetery in Roermond and I found it very interesting. There are seperate parts for catholics, protestants and jews. I only saw the big catholic part. Unlike many other graveyards there are many old graves here, often with cast iron crosses or neo-Gothic monuments. Along a central path are the graves of the rich, while the poor are buried at the edges. Very impressive is the "grave with the hands"; a married couple was buried seperately, the wife on the catholic part, her husband on the protestant part. These graves are connected by stone hands that meet above the wall that seperates the two parts of the cemetery. There's something very sad about this, to think that two people who had been married were not allowed to be buried together.
Architect P.J.H. Cuypers is one of the most famous people buried on this cemetery , but he also designed the episcopal tomb built in 1887, in which several bishops are buried.
You'd almost think that P.J.H. Cuypers designed the whole of Roermond. Well, not quite, but he did leave some big marks. This bandstand is one of his lesser-known designs, and dates from 1885. It has nicely crafted ironworks in neo-Gothic style.
The St. Christoffel's cathedral was built as a regular parish-church starting from 1410, and became a cathedral in 1661. This late-Gothic brick building was altered many times. In the last few days of World War Two the tower was blown up by German troops, and although efforts have been made to reconstruct the tower as authentically as possible, the result looks a bit artificial. And I absolutely dislike the spire!
While the Munsterkerk fascinates me and I will never pass the chance to get in, I've never been inside the cathedral, even though its doors were always open when I was in Roermond and there was no entrance fee. It just doesn't attract me but I could be very wrong. Well, maybe next time.
Oh, this is an old picture, showing the tower in restoration. The restoration is now finished.
The city of Roermond honours its most famous son, the architect P.J.H. Cuypers, with a statue next to the Munsterkerk. He's depicted at a relatively young age, with his characteristic beard and dressed like the flamboyant artist that he was. He was born in Roermond in 1827 and died there in 1921. In between he spent a period in Amsterdam. Because I'm interested in architecture of the 19th century this man is very important for me, and I mention his name and his work on many of my pages on VT. The man designed and built about a hundred churches as well as many other buildings, while for several decades no building in the Netherlands was restored without his advise. Cuypers was also the one who brought craftmanship back into Dutch architecture.
The Munsterkerk is the only surviving part of the Cistercian convent and the only example of Lower Rhine late-Romanesque architecture in The Netherlands. Although Gothicism at that time was of no importance in The Netherlands the church does already show some stylistic influences from that style. The church is closely connected to the memory of architect P.J.H. Cuypers (1827-1921), who was the city's town-architect for several years, before becoming the country's major architect. His most important project in Roermond was the restoration of this church. Cuypers removed several towers and replaced them by some new ones, but mostly the church is well-preserved. It's not a particularly large church, but the richness in shapes gives it a big look. Oh, and no: this is not a cathedral!
An earthquake damaged the eastern towers in 1992, and although this damage has been repaired the church needs a major restoration.
I find this one of the most fascinating churches in The Netherlands and always take some time to see the interior too. It's open for most of the day in Spring and Summer, but last time I was here there was a service going on an unregular time, so I had to wait a while before I could go in.
The Kapel in 't Zand is a pilgrimage chapel with a long tradition that goes back to 1535. In 1862 a Redemptorist monastery was built next to the chapel, which from then on was also used as the church of the neighbourhood. In 1895-1896 a new chapel was built, designed by J. Kayser. In its current state the church differs in several ways from its original state. The steeple on the roof used to be much taller, but in 1921 a storm damaged it badly. On both sides of the facade there were turrets; these were removed after another storm in 1940.
The chapel is often open and is constantly visited by people who come to worship an old statue of Mary and ask her help, or to get a bottle of water that is supposed to be healing. A wall is covered by tiles with the names of believers who've obviously received the help they asked for.
It's now the municipal museum but this building in neo-Gothic style was built as P.J.H. Cuypers' house and workshop and was designed by the architect himself of course. In 1932 Cuypers' son Jos offered a wing to the municipality for an exhibition of the work of painter Hendrik Luyten. This exhibition still covers a large part of the museum. Today a hall reminds of the work of P.J.H. Cuypers himself, including that of the Cuypers & Stolzenberg firm that produced just about everything for church interiors.
The town hall is a square building with a facade in Baroque style. This facade was reconstructed in 1955, but the building itself was built before 1700. Nice building, shame about all those cars that are parked in front of it.
The Rattentoren ('Rat's tower') is the only survivor of what once were 27 towers protecting the city. Of the city-walls even less remains. The tower is constructed out of marl, with layers of much harder brick on the outside. It probably dates from the 14th century.
Thirteenth century church, most important remain of the late roman architecture.
This church is the only remainder of a convent for Cistercien nuns, founded in 1218 by count Gerard VI of Gelre.
This count wanted to give a major impuls to the cultural and economic development of the city of Roermond in order to make it the capital of Opper-Gelre.
He also wanted to be buried in this abbey church and nowadays one can visit their impressive grave tomb in the church, right below the festive dome.
The rich charactere of this royal grave is in sharp contrast with the soberness of the galeries.
The influencial Cistercien convent reigned for almost 6 centuries in this Munster abbey but after 1789 they disappeared due to French occupation.
Buildings that once belonged to the monastries were since then in use as barracks. After the French moved out they stood vacant and most of them were demolished in 1924.
Fortunately the church was not touched by these demolitions. '
Major restaurations took places in the years 1863-1890 under P.J.H. Cuypers.
This famous architect took down the 18th century bell tower and added two towers with gothic windows to the west side of the church. The eastern towers were leveled with the towers at the west side.
This was a real metamorfose and lots of people weren t happy with the changes.
An earthquake in 1992 brought that many harm to the towers at the eastern side that they had to be rebuild.
In Roermond, the Roer River flows into the larger Maas River (aka Meuse River). On the day of my visit, I took a quiet and pleasant stroll by the Roer River.