Roermond ( ) (Limburgish: Remunj) is a city, a
municipality, and a diocese in the southeastern part of the Netherlands.
of Roermond is a historically important town, on the lower Roer at the east
bank of the Meuse
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
. In addition to
important churches, the town centre has many listed buildings and
is situated in the middle of the province of Limburg bordered by the Maas River to the west and Germany
to the east.
The community of Roermond consists of the following population
Access roads to Roermond have been upgraded recently providing
direct access to the Dutch and German highway network. From north to south
the A73 (Maastricht-Nijmegen) passes east of the city, partly through
tunnels. Eastwards the German A52 leads to Düsseldorf. Westbound the provincial road N280 leads
towards Weert and connects
to the A2 towards Eindhoven.
Roermond has a train station with half-hourly fast trains across
the country to:
In addition there are commutertrains with half-hourly service to:
municipality of Swalmen also has a
train station serving commuter trains on the line Roermond-Venlo
- Northeastbound: Venlo-Nijmegen
- Southbound: Sittard-Maastricht
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 Heinsberg in Germany.
There are no long-distance coach
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
Around 1180-1543, Roermond belonged to the duchy of Guelders
. In 1213 Roermond was destroyed by
Otto IV of Brunswick
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
The first mention of the monastery of the Franciscan Friars Minor
, the Minderbroederklooster, was in
1361, the Chapter of the Holy
Spirit moved from St. Odiliënberg 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
In 1441, Roermond became a member of the Hanseatic League
, and by 1472 acquired the
right to mint its own coins.
Between 1543-1702 the area was part of the Spanish Netherlands
April 1568 the Battle of Rheindalen occurred near Roermond, which signaled the start of
the Eighty Years' War.
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
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
in the Netherlands
In 1632 the Dutch Stadhouder Frederik Hendrik
Venlo, Roermond and Maastricht during his famous "March along the
Meuse". Attempts in the next years to annex Antwerp and Brussels 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
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
French troops in Roermond, 1793
On 11 December 1792, during the French Revolutionary Wars
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
Roermond was liberated by the Russians.
Kingdom of the Netherlands
After the Anglo-Dutch Treaty
Roermond became part of the new Kingdom of the Netherlands
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 Limburg that had existed until 1648 within the triangle
Maastricht - Liège - Aachen.
Netherlands and Belgium 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 Limburg, also part of the German Confederation.
Between 1940 to 1945, during World War
, 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
On May 27th 1990
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:
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
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
Roermond on the east-side. The highway was planned to open in January
2007 with the 2.5 km long Roertunnel leading traffic underneath a part of the city and
the shorter Swalmertunnel underneath
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
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,
- 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
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
(Leudal) and the
Swalm and Roer 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.
west the Meuse
River and its lake area, known as "Maasplassen", offer opportunities for water
- Johannes Murmellius (ca
- Pierre Cuypers (1827-1921),
- Louis Raemaekers (1869-1956),
- Charles Ruijs de
Beerenbrouck (1873-1936), Prime Minister of the
- Louis Beel (1902-1977), Prime
Minister of the Netherlands
- Jo Cals (1914-1971), Prime Minister of
- Marleen Gorris (born 1948), film
- Anna Wood (born 1966),
- Rogier Wassen (born 1976), tennis
- Harrie Gommans (born 1983),
- Rico Vonck (born 1987), darts
IRA attacks against British Forces personnel
On 1 May1988 the Provisional Irish Republican
(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
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
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
soldiers. It is believed that the killings led to a drop
in support for the IRA in Australia and led to Prime Minister
refusing to meet Gerry Adams
from Sinn Féin on a visit there in
- 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
- 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
It was not uncommon for British soldiers based in this area to be
- On 2
June 1990.A British Army Artillery Officer was shot and killed by
three attackers in nearby Dortmund while returning from a social event with his
wife. The Provisional Irish Republican
Army (IRA) issued a statement in Dublin claiming
- On 9 July 1989. IRA shot the West German wife of a British soldier while she sat in a parked
car in nearby Dortmund. 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 Mönchengladbach.
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
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
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
was the strongest event in Central Europe
since 1756. Following this
earthquake, the water levels of numerous wells located in the
Lower Rhine Embayment
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,
. 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 Roer, Roermond
often has to defend itself against floods.
The worst floods
were in 1993 and 1995.
||Water level (mNAP)
||Highest level ever in Limburg
||80 million Dutch guilders damage,
||Largest flood disaster in Limburg, breakthrough of dikes.
||245 million guilders damage
||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
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
and in most parts of Limburg
German was the
language used in church and education. In this time Maastricht still had a very strong connection with
French-speaking areas around Liege.
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
"aanhankelijkheidsverklaring aan het Oranjehuis" and had to start
using Dutch instead of Limburgs.
- 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,
- 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.