The Region


Limburg is the southernmost province of the Netherlands. To the north, it is bordered by the provinces of Gelderland and Nord-Brabant, to the east by Germany and to the south by Belgium. The province was created in 1830 after it had been given to the Kingdom of the United Netherlands as an eleventh province at the Congress of Vienna. Today, Limburg comprises approximately 40 municipalities which are home to about 1,100,000 million people. Maastricht is the capital and administrative centre.

Limburg’s coat of arms consists of five symbols of differing origin which are derived from the coats of arms of former principalities or areas of land. The crown of the former Duke of Limburg is positioned above the shield.

Limburg is a long province, most of which is located to the east and west of the Meuse river. The landscape in the south is dominated by hills, streams and valleys while that in the north is characterised by flat sandy areas. The Meuse flows through the province from south to north. The numerous castles and manor houses are linked to the cultural landscape in a special way. Archaeological investigations have revealed that the oldest human settlements in the Netherlands were in Limburg.

Agriculture used to play an important economic role in the centre and north of the province, above all on the floodlands along the Meuse. From the early 20th century onwards, the number of coal mines in the south of the province increased. This mining culture, some remnants of which can still be seen today, helped the economy of the area blossom. The mining sector later gave rise to the chemical industry, which is still located in Limburg today. Agriculture and horticulture play an important role in central and northern Limburg as does cattle breeding. Tourism has also developed into an important economic sector, with Maastricht as the central point of attraction.

The south of Limburg is marked by urban development. Maastricht, Sittard-Geleen und Heerlen-Kerkrade originated from settlements which were later surrounded by fortifications and grew into cities. The urban centres in central and northern Limburg are Roermond, Weert und Venlo.

The province of Limburg is mainly Catholic (the religious centre is the diocesan capital Roermond) and has two universities - in Maastricht and Heerlen - as well as several universities of applied sciences.

Folk culture plays a large role in the cultural area. Shooting clubs and bands influence the culture in a particularly characteristic manner. Events such as the Open-Air Festival Pinkpop, the “Oud Limburg Schuttersfeest” and the World Music Contest in Kerkrade are known far beyond the borders of the province.