Groote Peel National Park – walking along wetlands
This National Park is one of the few remaining areas of a 30.000 ha big peat moor in the eastern part of Noord- Brabant and the western part of Limburg. It now has a size of about 1500 ha, which has remained more or less untouched by peat cutting.
Groote Peel offers a very typical landscape of peat swamps, heath land, forests, lakes and sand ridges. Most of the swamps and lakes were created peat cutting. The wetlands of the Groote Peel are an important area for birdlife.
Groote Peel is only accessible on foot; the best way for visitors is to start at the visitor centre ‘Mijl op Zeven’. There are three signposted walks (2, 3 and 6 km’s) and to cross the swamps and lakes sometimes you will have to use boardwalks. It is also possible to explore the park through some of the sandy roads as we did with a brochure/map, which we bought in the centre. We saw also a sheep flock, some cows and horses and really loved our 2 ½ hours walk through the national park.
The signposted walks are open daily; due to the breeding season and bird migration other parts of the park are closed for visitors from March 15 – July 15 and October 15 – November 30.
The visitor centre has an information desk, some displays about the area and its history, a shop and a café.
Opening hours: Tuesday – Sunday: 10.00 – 17.00 hours (in July and August daily). Shop and café are open from 11.00 – 18.00 hours (November till February only during the weekends).Related to:
- National/State Park
- Hiking and Walking
De Meinweg - bike tour
National Park ‘De Meinweg’ is one of the most unknown national parks in the Netherlands. It is situated in the province of Limburg between Roermond and Vlodrop.
The landscape is not as flat as in the rest of the country and not as hilly as in parts of South Limburg. All together an ideal area for a bike tour and to enjoy the very varied landscape. With vast forests, heathland and small pools. It is said there should be vipers in the park, but to be honest we didn’t see them.
Best place to start your bike tour is the information centre along the road from Roermond to Vlodrop. Here you can also get a free brochure of the bike tour. The tour through the park is 15 km’s long, but you may extend it through the neighbourhood with some rural villages, an old castle (hotel/restaurant) and a water mill.
For rental bikes:
Elfenmeer Herkenbosch (0475 – 531689)
Boshotel Vlodrop (0475 – 534959)
Rijwielhuis Piet Daemen (0475 – 401727)
Or ask the information centre.
See also 'accommodation tip': Vlodrop.
If you don’t like biking, you can start for sign posted walks from the information centre to the most beautiful parts of the park, including some of the pools.
Directions: www.viamichelin.comRelated to:
- National/State Park
- Hiking and Walking
Valkenburg - Christmas Market
We never had been to the caves of Valkenburg in the Dutch province of Limburg and after heard/read some rather good reviews we decided visiting them during the annual subterranean Christmas Market.
Still being aboveground there was some light snowfall in the village and a lot of people were finding their way to one of the caves with Christmas Markets. We decided for the so called ‘Gemeentegrot’, being the oldest and biggest subterranean market.
Once inside it was quite an experience strolling through the labyrinth of galleries and huge halls of this former marl grotto. These were all lined with market booths and there was even a café. On some places there were rather nice Christmas decorations, without being very stunning.
But to be honest we were absolutely very disappointed by the kind of booths we saw. Most of them are just offering quite common articles and knickknacks (which can be found on every market in the country). Just a couple of them had Christmas decorations or gifts for sale. I really would call it a big TOURIST TRAP.
Next time we will visit one of the numerous (real) Christmas Markets in Germany or one in/around one of the Dutch Castles or mansions, which are much more authentic and do have a real Christmas atmosphere.
This Christmas market is hold from mid November till mid December. See for the exact opening hours, admission fee and directions the website below.
Vaalserberg – 322,7 meters above sea level
The southern part of the province of Limburg has a lot of hills (for us Dutchies it is almost mountainous) and close to the town of Vaals, near the border with Germany, on the Vaalserberg is the highest point of the Netherlands.
This point is 322,7 meters above Normal Amsterdam Level (although there are sources saying it is even 322,5 m) and is marked with a plaque, just in front of border post number 1. Another sign is referring to the lowest point in my country: Nieuwerkerk a/d IJssel.
Just a couple of meters away lies the so called ‘Drielandenpunt’ (Three Country Point), where the borders of the Netherlands, Belgium and Germany intersect. From 1830 till 1919 it was even a ‘Four Country Point’ with the mini state of Neu Moresnet (in the meantime belonging to Belgium).
The boundary lines of these four countries can be seen in the cobbles.
The whole area on top of the Vaalserberg is a touristy hot spot with cafés, restaurants, panorama towers, playground and a labyrinth; so don’t expect to be alone when discovering the highest point of the Netherlands.
Roermond - an impressive Roman Cathedral
Roermond, situated on the banks of the river Maas is an old city. Walking through the centre you will feel its age. It seems if the town centre of Roermond exists of three squares: “Markt”, “Munsterplein” and “Stationsplein”. They are linked to each other by a mediaeval street pattern with lots of shops in (mostly) historical buildings and monuments.
Perhaps the most important monuments are two churches: the Christopher Cathedral (during our visit closed due to a restoration) at the Market Square and the “Munsterkerk” (Church of Our Lady) at the Munsterplein. We were very impressed by this Roman Cathedral in the middle of a square lined with trees.
The Munsterkerk dates from the 13th century and was built in order of Count Gerard IV from the duchy of Gelre. You have to know this little piece of history, because the biggest showpieces in the church are the two tombs of the count and his wife. They are depicted sleeping on their sarcophagus, still on the same spot after more than 775 years.It is said this should be the oldest memorial stone in Europe !!!
More info, Wikipedia: https://nl.wikipedia.org/wiki/Sint-Christoffelkathedraal
The website of the Christopher Cathedral/St. Christoffel Kathedraal (http://www.kathedraal-roermond.nl/) offers a leaftlet about the curch in different languages.Related to:
- Religious Travel
Neer - Friedesse Mill
I found this watermill in a little village, called Neer, in the province of Limburg. Just following the road signs after a cup of coffee on the terrace of ‘Boothuis De Troost’, which has a wonderful view over the river Maas.
The watermill is situated along the Neerbeek, a small stream which ends in the Maas. The mill is renovated in 2002 after being out of use for more than 50 years. The mill has been built in the year of 1717 and the mill house has the same age.
The watermill is now (again) a flour mill and is open for visitors during summertime (May till September) on Sunday afternoons from 1.00 till 5.00 pm.
(Neer offers more for an interesting day: a monumental church and a brewery (De Lindeboom) with a ‘Beershop’, which is open Wednesday till Friday 2.00 – 6.00 pm and Saturday 10.00 am – 2.00 pm.
The church square is starting point for two signposted walking routes around Neer.)Related to:
- Historical Travel
Houthem - St. Gerlachus Church
The St. Gerlachus Church is one of the most famous Dutch places of pilgrimage. Even in these days there are about 30.000 pilgrims a year visiting the church and especially the tomb of St. Gerlach who lived in Houthem in the 12th century. He died in 1164 or 1165.
The new church (from 1727) is part of a huge compound, also including the famous hotel "Chateau of St. Gerlach". This is perhaps the most luxurious hotel in the Netherlands, surrounded by lovely gardens with lots of sculptures. Real 'cool' to walk around.
What a difference with the quietness in the rather little chapel. This is really an unique spot with several beautiful paintings on the walls, the ceiling and the organ loft. Fifteen of them are showing the life of St. Gerlach. In the middle of the church is a simple tomb of the Saint.
There is also a small museum 'De Schatkamer' next to the church in one of the old cloisters. It shows treasures of the local Parish and the life of St. Gerlach. If possible not open every day - I would recommend visiting this museum.
The church is open for visitors every day between 10.00 am and 5.00 pm.Related to:
- Religious Travel
- Arts and Culture
Griendtsveen – unique peat village
Griendtsveen, together with the neighbouring village of Helenaveen, is one of the two peat villages in ‘De Peel’. The village was founded in 1885 by a company (Family Van de Griendt) which owned large parts of this peat bog in the southern part of the Netherlands. They built a peat factory (nowadays a Bed & Breakfast), a church, workmen-houses, canteen, shops and a café. The family itself had an impressive mansion, with a moat and a beautiful garden.
When we visited Griendtsveen it looked if time has stand still in this part of the province and the whole scenery was so quiet and peaceful. We had a cappuccino on the terrace of Café ‘De Morgenstond’, with a view of the canal and one of the old drawbridges and the neo-gothic church from 1895. Afterwards we strolled along the narrow roads and the canals and it felt if we were walking in a kind of movie. We saw the so called ‘apostelwoningen’ (apostle houses), which were used by the ‘white-collar workers’ of the peat company and did take a look at the former peat factory.
Griendtsveen is still surrounded by large remaining peat moor (Deurnese and Mariapeel). It is possible to make (signposted) walks in this typical landscape. Helenaveen, the other fen community can be reached along the almost straight ‘Helenavaart’; it has also a lot of remaining ‘monuments’.
A second visit during autumn made it possible to add some fall pictures as well.Related to:
- Historical Travel
Eijsden – most southern town of the country
he town of Eijsden is situated south of the well known city of Maastricht. And staying or visiting this very vibrant town, perhaps Eijsden may be a destination for a short trip.
Eijsden lies on the borders of the river Maas and has an old centre with lots of monumental buildings and some old cobble stoned streets. Walk around (ask for an information brochure in the town hall) and if you are tired take a cup of coffee or have a lunch on one of the side walk café's.
One of the highlights is Castle Eijsden, situated just south of the centre. This is an 17th century building, surrounded by large gardens, which do reach to the river Maas. The castle is closed for visitors, but the park and gardens are open to the public. You can walk around the castle and enjoy the views from different sides.
The second Sunday after Whitsunday the so called ‘bronk’ takes place in Eijsden; a Roman Catholic procession in which a lot of inhabitants are involved.Related to:
- Castles and Palaces
Venlo is a city in the south-eastern Netherlands that straddles the Maas (Meuse) River, near the German border. It is situated in the province of Limburg, near the German border. Venlo was formerly a fortress city that changed hands during the wars of the 16th, 17th, and 18th century. Must see sights/attractions include: the Dominican Chapel, the Limburgs Museum, the Museum van Bommel van Dam, St Martinuskerk church, the Town Hall and St Joriskerk church to name but a few.
See My Travel Page for more information.
Grubbenvorst is a pretty village complete with its own village green, it is located in the Dutch province of Limburg, about 6 km northwest of Venlo.
The name Grubbenvorst comes from Grubben (or Gribben) and Frost. Gribben was the name of the castle which is now ruins, whilst Grubben means a hollow way. Frost indicates forest owned by the lord of the area, although this has now mainly disappeared.
Must see sights include: the ruins of the castle (broken lock), the Roman Catholic church, the ferry, Kalden Plants the nature reserve and the lake known as Alley.
See My Travel Page for more information.
Monastery in Wittem
The monastery church is a famous pilgrimage spot.
It was founded by Ferdinand Adolf, earl of Plettenberg and Wittem, as a castle chapel, and local church with adjoining monastery. The first stone was laid in june 1729, and the church was consecrated on 16 may 1733.
The first brothers living here were german capuchins. Since 1836 the Redemptionists are serving the church.
More in the travelogue.
Swimming in Geleen
Laco Glanerbrook, Kummenaedestraat 45, 6165 BT Geleen.
Geleen is a city in south Limburg. Laco Glanerbrook is a large complex with 5 or 6 open air and indoor swimming pools of different depths, suitable for all ages, as some have slides, diving platforms, some are very shallow etc. We went there twice, on very hot summer days. The 2006 July was the hottest on record in Holland for the last 100 years!!The place was packed both times. It is a great place to spend a hot summer day if you are in the area, since you cannot go really sightseeing, walking or cycling. It is great for people watching, and they are all locals. We unexpectedly saw many relatives there!
Cost $4 Euro per person, open 10 am to 6 pm. Has lots of parking space and enough shade inside (trees, no umbrellas). I saw at least two lifeguards. You can buy simple food like friet (chips), ice cream etc. The complex includes a gym and other halls.Related to:
- Water Sports
- Family Travel
The area around the marinas in west Limburg
The area around the marinas where the Maas river is enlarged in central (west) Limburg, Netherlands has been used to build marinas. The area and towns around the marinas are close to idyllic and I recommend driving through them. Small castles or at least big mansions, beautiful neat houses, the lake, the boats in the marinas. Some good camping places. I think you can swim in the lake, saw a small beach and people windsurfing.
5 Aug 2006Related to:
- Adventure Travel
“Die Twee” Ijssalon. Main square, Sittard, Limburg.
Probably one of the best places to sit in Sittard as a tourist, particularly on a hot summer day. It is in the main square (which is interesting and has lots of old, well kept buildings), next to an old church. Great people- watching spot. Friendly staff. Liked the name of the place (means “these two”). We had two ice coffees (good), paid 7 Euro.
24 July 2006.
Provincie Limburg Hotels
It's great to see and witness that the hotel has a heated outdoor swimming pool, which you can use...more
We stayed here for a long weekend (thursday to sunday). We got a room overlooking the trainstation,...more
Maastrichterweg 25, Roermond, 6041NZ, nl
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