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Roermond ( ) (Limburgish: Remunj) is a city, a municipality, and a diocese in the southeastern part of the Netherlandsmarker.

The city of Roermond is a historically important town, on the lower Roermarker at the east bank of the Meusemarker river. It received city rights in 1231. Roermond town centre has been designated as a conservation area.

Through the centuries the town has filled the role of commercial centre, principal town in the duchy of Guelders and since 1559 it has served as the seat of the Roman Catholic Diocese of Roermond. The skyline of the historic town is dominated by the towers of its two churches: St. Christopher Cathedral and Munster Church. In addition to important churches, the town centre has many listed buildings and monuments.


Roermond is situated in the middle of the province of Limburgmarker bordered by the Maas River to the west and Germany to the east.

Population centres

The community of Roermond consists of the following population centres:


Access roads to Roermond have been upgraded recently providing direct access to the Dutch and German highway network. From north to south the A73 (Maastrichtmarker-Nijmegenmarker) passes east of the city, partly through tunnels. Eastwards the German A52 leads to Düsseldorfmarker. Westbound the provincial road N280 leads towards Weertmarker and connects to the A2 towards Eindhovenmarker.

Roermond Railway Station
Station Roermond
Roermond has a train station with half-hourly fast trains across the country to: In addition there are commutertrains with half-hourly service to:
  • Northeastbound: Venlomarker-Nijmegen
  • Southbound: Sittard-Maastricht

The municipality of Swalmenmarker also has a train station serving commuter trains on the line Roermond-Venlo twice hourly.

For regional transport there is a bus station with city and regional lines to nearby villages and towns. There is also a bus connection to Heinsbergmarker in Germany. There are no long-distance coach services.


Where before Celtic inhabitants of this region used to live on both sides of the Roer river, invading Romans built a bridge (now called the Steene Brök, or stone bridge) and founded the first town at Roermond, now a suburb called Voorstad Sint Jacob.


Around 1180-1543, Roermond belonged to the duchy of Guelders. In 1213 Roermond was destroyed by Otto IV of Brunswick, the Holy Roman Emperor and German King. By 1232 the city had been rebuilt, and was given its own seal, own reign, own mint, and its own court.

The first mention of the monastery of the Franciscan Friars Minor, the Minderbroederklooster, was in 1309. In 1361, the Chapter of the Holy Spirit moved from St. Odiliënbergmarker to Roermond.

Around 1350, Roermond became the capital of the "Overkwartier van Gelre" (Upper Quarter of Gelre). In 1388, during the Hundred Years' War, a siege by the French occurred. A battle for the outer fortifications Buiten Op, destruction of these fortifications and the old parish church followed.

In 1441, Roermond became a member of the Hanseatic League, and by 1472 acquired the right to mint its own coins.

Spanish Netherlands

Between 1543-1702 the area was part of the Spanish Netherlands.

On 23 April 1568 the Battle of Rheindalenmarker occurred near Roermond, which signaled the start of the Eighty Years' War. In 1572, Roermond was occupied by the Dutch William the Silent, but recaptured by the Spanish duke Fadrique Álvarez de Toledo

Under Spanish rule Roermond became a bastion of the Counter-Reformation. On behalf of the Inquisition people were encouraged to report suspects of witchcraft and heresy. In 1613, 64 presumed witches were burnt on the Galgeberg hill near the Kapel in het Zand in Roermond, the biggest witch trial in the Netherlands ever.

In 1632 the Dutch Stadhouder Frederik Hendrik conquered Venlo, Roermond and Maastricht during his famous "March along the Meuse". Attempts in the next years to annex Antwerpmarker and Brusselsmarker failed, however. The northern Dutch were disappointed by the lack of local support. The Counter-Reformation had firmly reattached the local population to Roman Catholicism, and they now distrusted the Calvinist Northerners even more than they loathed the Spanish occupiers.

Between 1632-1637, Roermond was part of the Dutch Republic, and again in 1702-1716. Between 1716-1794, it was part of the Habsburg empire.

French Period

French troops in Roermond, 1793
On 11 December 1792, during the French Revolutionary Wars, the French under General De Miranda conquered Roermond, but by 5 March 1793, was under Habsburg control again. The city was again occupied by the French on 5 April 1794 and officially became part of the french département Meuse-Inférieure from 1795 to 1814. In 1814, during the War of the Sixth Coalition Roermond was liberated by the Russians.

Kingdom of the Netherlands

After the Anglo-Dutch Treaty of 1814 Roermond became part of the new Kingdom of the Netherlands. The new province was to receive the name "Maastricht", after its capital. King William, who did not want the name Limburg to be lost, insisted that the name be changed to Limburg. As such, the name of the new province derived from the old duchy of Limburgmarker that had existed until 1648 within the triangle Maastrichtmarker - Liègemarker - Aachenmarker.

When the Netherlands and Belgiummarker separated in 1830, there was support for adding Limburg to Belgium, but in the end (1839) the province was divided in two, with the eastern part going to the Netherlands and the western part to Belgium. From that time, Dutch Limburg was, as the new Duchy of Limburgmarker, also part of the German Confederationmarker.

Between 1940 to 1945, during World War II, the Germans occupied Roermond. The city was liberated on 1 March 1945 by the Recce Troop of the 35th US Infantry Division during Operation Grenade. By the time of liberation 90% of all buildings were either damaged or destroyed. Restoration gave back the old city center its full glory.

On May 27th 1990, four Australian tourists were shot in the Roermond city centre, two of whom later died. Because they were driving around in a British car, terrorists linked to the IRA thought they were British soldiers. Also see: IRA Attack in Roermond.


Roermond is known as a relatively unsafe place, a problem many cities close to the border have to cope with. In 2006 the city ranked as 3rd most criminal city in the Netherlands. outscoring Amsterdam. In 2007 Roermond managed to improve its reputation dropping down to a 9th place (though this figure is combined with the district of Swalmen, which had its own score in 2006). Efforts are being put in place to limit the petty crimes (especially car/house burglaries).



Though Roermond grew and expanded steadily over the years to come it was not until the start of the 21st century that Roermond saw another boost coming. This recent growth was mainly caused by the construction of the highway A73 circling Roermond on the east-side. The highway was planned to open in January 2007 with the 2.5 km long Roertunnelmarker leading traffic underneath a part of the city and the shorter Swalmertunnel underneath Swalmen. However due to delays the tunnels only opened with 1 carriageway available and frequent closures. The tunnels grew infamous during the first weeks when numerous closures due to technical problems caused constant traffic jams. The tunnels are expected to be fully operational somewhere in 2009. Another highway connection under construction is the German autobahn A52. The last 6 km stretch from Düsseldorf to the German-Dutch border is nearing completion. The highway leads from Roermond straight to Düsseldorf.

Though the economy runs above average in the region and the city attracts new residents (mainly young people), the city itself still has a fairly high unemployment rate of 10.7% and the average income is lower than the national average.


Roermond contains several large shopping areas. Most are open every Sunday as well as on most bank holidays.

  • City centre - consists of several open promenades and a covered promenade called the Roercenter. Stores open on every first Sunday of the month, though future plans are to have the centre opened every Sunday of the year.
  • Designer Outlet Centre - fashion, clothing, sportswear
  • Retail Park Roermond - larger chain stores in electronics, food, household supplies and furniture.
  • Huis & Tuinboulevard - hardware, furniture and garden stores.
  • Kazerneterrein - Adjacent to the Designer Outlet Centre, a new centre will open in spring 2009, focussing on bars, restaurants and nightlive. Future expansion is planned under the name of Jazz City, where a part of the harbour is to be transferred into a recreational entertainment district.


For culture Roermond relies on its old cityc entre which is rich of historic monuments, such as.

Besides monuments Roermond also hosts several festivals, including a Liberation Day festival on 5 May and a techno festival Solar Weekend.

Nature and recreation

Roermond is encircled by a green belt, which offers many opportunities for hiking and cycling. To the east nature reserves, such as the Meinweg National Park, the valley of the Leu (Leudalmarker) and the Swalmmarker and Roermarker rivers, provide woodlands, heath and meadows. The Meinweg also contains a small amount of wildlife including a small group of vipers, the only venomous snake to live in the Netherlands. To the west the Meuse Rivermarker and its lake area, known as "Maasplassen", offer opportunities for water recreation.

Notable natives

Other information

IRA attacks against British Forces personnel

On 1 May1988 the Provisional Irish Republican Army (IRA) killed three British Airmen and injured three others in a double attack. At the market in Roermond, near the border between Germany and the Netherlands, IRA members opened fire on a vehicle in which three men from the Royal Air Force Regiment based at RAF Wildenrathmarker were sleeping. SAC Ian Shinner was killed and his two companions were wounded. Half an hour later, the second attack killed two British Airmen and injured another, who had spent a few hours in a Dutch disco, around fifty kilometers from the border shared with Germany.

In a separate attack two years later two Australian nationals were killed. The two men were lawyers on holiday, who the IRA shot believing they were off-duty British Army soldiers. It is believed that the killings led to a drop in support for the IRA in Australia and led to Prime Minister John Howard refusing to meet Gerry Adams from Sinn Féin on a visit there in 2000.

  • 1 May 1988 SAC Ian Shinner (21).
British national. Killed after a night out, while sleeping in his car with two friends, Market Square, Roermond, Netherlands. Off duty RAF Regiment member.
  • 27 May 1990 Stephen Melrose (24).Civilian. Australian national. Shot shortly after getting out of car, Market Square, Roermond, Netherlands. Assumed to have been an off duty British Army member.
  • 27 May 1990 Nicholas Spanos (28).Civilian. Australian national. Shot shortly after getting out of car, Market Square, Roermond, Netherlands. Assumed to have been an off duty British Army member.

It was not uncommon for British soldiers based in this area to be attacked:
  • On 2 June 1990.A British Army Artillery Officer was shot and killed by three attackers in nearby Dortmundmarker while returning from a social event with his wife. The Provisional Irish Republican Army (IRA) issued a statement in Dublin claiming responsibility.
  • On 9 July 1989. IRA shot the West Germanmarker wife of a British soldier while she sat in a parked car in nearby Dortmundmarker. This was the first time a non-British citizen was killed by the IRA in West Germany.
  • On 26 October 1989 A British Airman and his 6 month old daughter were shot and killed by the IRA in nearby Mönchengladbachmarker.
note it was not as above attack took place in a village just outside of the gates of RAF Wildenrath they was parked at a Snell Imbiss getting food (take away) as they pulled away the IRA opened the boot of a parked estate car and opened fire, they clamied they did not know the baby was in a child seat in the back of the car.


Cpl Maheshume Islania.The IRA gun attack, which took place on 26th October 1989 killed Corporal Maheshumer Islania of the Royal Air Force and his 6 month old daughter Nivruti Mahesh Islania who was in the car with her father as they went to a Schnell Imbiss in Wildenrath village.


On 13 April 1992, an MW 5.8 earthquake occurred near the city of Roermond in a focal depth of about 17 km. This so-called Roermond earthquake was the strongest event in Central Europe since 1756. Following this earthquake, the water levels of numerous wells located in the Lower Rhine Embayment showed significant coseismic anomalies.The Roer Valley, which crosses three countries (Belgium, The Netherlands, and Germany), is bounded by two north-northwest, south-southeast trending Quaternary normal fault systems. The eastern boundary is defined by the Peel boundary fault, along which the 1992 Roermond earthquake occurred (Camelbeeck and van Eck, 1994), and the western boundary is defined by the Feldbiss fault zone, which is partly located in Belgium. Evidence of recent tectonic activity along the Feldbiss fault zone is visible on seismic profiles that show more than 600 m of offset in Neogene deposits (Demyttenaere and Laga, 1988). Although Ahorner demonstrated the existence of the ... Rhenish seismoactive zones.... and recommended a comprehensive analysis of Quaternary structures and background seismicity, coseismic movements were considered to be improbable, and active faults remain largely unidentified.


As a city near surrounded by water and close to 2 rivers, the Maas and the Roermarker, Roermond often has to defend itself against floods. The worst floods were in 1993 and 1995.

Year Water level (mNAP) At Damage Remarks
December 1643 49.7 Maastrichtmarker Highest level ever in Limburgmarker
December 1880 20.71 Roermond
March 1910 46.1 Maastricht
March 1920 20.6 Roermond
January 1926 42.92 Maastricht 80 million Dutch guilders damage, 14,000 refugees Largest flood disaster in Limburg, breakthrough of dikes.
July 1980 Roermond
1984 Roermond
December 1993 45.8 Borgharen 245 million guilders damage
January 1995 45.71 Borgharen 500 million guilders damage, 210,000 people evacuated Longest high water ever in Limburg


Roermond has had its own anthem since 1912. The text was written by A. F. van Beurden, the music is by H. Tijssen, who also composed the Limburg Anthem (Waar in 't bronsgroen eikenhout).

In everyday life in Limburg around 1900 the Dutch language was of no importance. Everything was done in Limburgs. Newspapers in the 19th and 20th century were written in German or Limburgs and in most parts of Limburg German was the language used in church and education. In this time Maastrichtmarker still had a very strong connection with French-speaking areas around Liegemarker. Van Beurden's poem was used on purpose to force the people of Limburg into speaking Dutch. Proof of this is the very un-Limburg part in the anthem, the reference to the Dutch Royal family. In 1900 the people in Limburg had to swear their allegiance to the Dutch royal family of the House of Orange-Nassau in a "aanhankelijkheidsverklaring aan het Oranjehuis" and had to start using Dutch instead of Limburgs.


External links


  • Johnston, A. C., "Seismic moment assessment of earthquakes in stable continental regions", II, Historical seismicity, Geophys. J. Int., 125, 639, 1996.
  • Geluk, M. C., E. J. T. Duin, M. Dusar, R. H. B. Rijkers, M. W. van Den Berg, and P. van Rooijen, "Stratigraphy and tectonics of the Roer Valley Graben", Geol. Mijnbouw, 73, 129, 1994.
  • Paulissen, E., J. Vandenberghe, and F. Gullentops, "The Feldbiss fault in the Maas Valley bottom (Limburg, Belgium)", Geol. Mijnbouw, 64, 79, 1985.
  • Rosenhauer, W., and L. Ahorner, "Seismic hazard assessment for the Lower Rhine Embayment before and after the 1992 Roermond earthquake", Geol. Mijnbouw, 73, 415, 1994.
  • van den Berg, M.W., "Neotectonics of the Roer Valley rift system. Style and rate of crustal deformation inferred from syn-tectonic sedimentation", Geol. Mijnbouw, 73, 143, 1994.
  • van den Berg, M.W., et al., "Patterns and velocities of recent crustal movements in the Dutch part of the Roer Valley rift system", Geol. Mijnbouw, 73, 157, 1994.

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