A brief history of Roermond
The name of Roermond means: a place on a high site along the river Roer.
Roermond was built on the confluence of the rivers Roer and Maas.
People lived here as far back as prehistoric times. . As evidence of Roman
occupation there is an altar stone dedicated to the goddess Rura. Round
about 1200 building increased and by 1232 Roermond had already received
city-rights. In 1440 Roermond was a Hanseatic town. In the year 1500 Roermond
had about 6000 residents and was also the capital of Upper-Guelre. Because
Roermond was a very strategic town there was a lot of fighting and it
was occupied by different armies. From 1543 till 1702 Roermond was under
Spanish occupation, and from 1716 till 1794 it was Austrian. Then the
French came and stayed till 1814 . From there on it was part of Belgium
and under the German League. In 1867 Roermond became part of the Netherlands.
That is why many people in Roermond do not feel Dutch, they do not even
speak Dutch but Limburg (as their favourite language) which is a very
old Maas-Frankish dialect spoken by the people in Limburg , which is a
province of the Netherlands, and in a part of Germany bordering Dutch-Limburg
and also in Belgian-Limburg.
In July 1554, 950 out of 1300 houses were burnt down and in 1665 Roermond
burnt again, this time more than two-thirds of the houses, convents and
churches were devastated! Roermond still has a lot of churches and the
most famous are St.Christopher's Cathedral and the Munster church.
In 1410 St.Christopher's church was moved to the market square, inside
the new town wall. On top is a huge statue of St.Christopher watching
The Munster church was originally an abbey-church, established in 1224
by Count Gerard van Gelre. Count Gerard and his wife Margaretha van Brabant
are buried in a beautiful tomb in the church. In the 19th century the
architect Pierre Cuypers added bigger towers on the east and west side.
His statue stands on the Munster Square looking at the Munster Church.
Since early history Roermond has been a very famous artists' town. In
the Middle Ages the "Master of Elsloo" was the most famous.
In the 19th century the best known is Pierre Cuypers (1827-1921) an architect
(neogothic style) who had a workshop for religious art (now the museum).
He built 68 churches all over the Netherlands, as well as the Central
Railway Station and the National Gallery (Rijksmuseum) in Amsterdam. He
also worked in Belgium, Germany and France. Another world-famous workshop
was that of Joep Nicolas and his sons. They made beautiful glass-stained
windows and often worked together with Pierre Cuypers. There are still
a lot of artists living and working in Roermond.
Today Roermond has more than 40,000 inhabitants and is famous for its
watersports facilities and its charming historic centre. The distance
to Maastricht is 50 kilometres and the German and Belgian borders are
only a few kilometres from Roermond. Düsseldorf, Mönchengladbach
or Aachen (Aix-la-Chapelle) in Germany, and Liege or Hasselt in Belgium
are less than one hour's drive. Roermond serves a central function for
more than 100,000 people, attracts customers out of a potential area of
more than a million and tourists from all over the world.