is a city, a municipality
, and a diocese
in the southeastern part of the Netherlands
The city of Roermond is a historically important town, on the east bank of the river Maas (Meuse).
It received city rights in 1231.
Due to its impressive architecture and charming skyline, 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 bishop. In addition to important churches, the town centre boasts many listed buildings and monuments. The skyline of the historic town is dominated by the towers of two churches: St. Christopher Cathedral and Munster Church.
The name Roermond
Contrary to popular belief its name does not come from the "mond of the Roer", which means "mouth of the river Roer
" in Dutch
. The name is much older and since Dutch was not widely spoken in Limburg
until the 1900s its origin is older.
The name comes from "Ruramonde
". Rura was an old Celtic
goddess associated with water. After Rura the river Roer which flows through Roermond is named. It did not flow into the river Maas
until 1338-1342, when the flow of the river Maas was altered to pass the city. "Monde" is an old Celtic
word meaning "bridge". Roermond therefore means "bridge of Rura".
"Villa Optima" was the Roman name for the municipality and city of Roermond. When Julius Caesar reached the location of Roermond he found the location so ideal that he called it "Villa Optima", which translates into "ideal location".
Buiten Op is the name the inhabitants of Roermond gave to the original Roman settlement after the defensive walls were constructed.
Where before Celtic
inhabitants of this region used to live on both sides of the Roer
river, invaded Romans built a bridge, (now called the Steene Brök
') and based the original town of Roermond, which is now a suburb, called Faubourg Saint Jacques
(or Voorstad Sint Jacob
Around 1180-1543, Roermond belonged to the duchy
. 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 Minderbroederklooster, the monastery of the Franciscan Friars Minor, was in 1309. 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" (Overquarter of Gelre). In 1388 a siege by the French occurred. Battle of the pre-city fortifications Buiten Op and destruction of the pre-city fortifications Buiten Op and the old parish church by the French.
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 under Spanish rule.
On 23 April 1568 the Battle of Rheindalen occurred near Roermond, which signaled the start of the "Tachtigjarige Oorlog" (Eighty Years' War). In 1632 the Dutch Stadhouder conquered Venlo, Roermond and Maastricht during his famous "March along the Meuse". Attempts in the next years to annexe Antwerp and Brussels failed, however. The Dutch were disappointed by the lack of support they received from the local population in Limburg who were fighting on the Spanish side. It was clear that, by this time, a new generation had grown up in Flanders and the Brabant and the areas now forming Limburg, that had thoroughly reconverted to Roman Catholicism and now distrusted the Calvinist Dutch even more than they loathed the Spanish occupiers.
In 1572, Roermond was occupied by Willem de Zwijger, a Dutch prince, by 1580 it was transferred from Arnhem to Roermond.
1613 marked the year when 64 presumed witches were burnt on the Galgeberg hill in the Kapel in het Zand in Roermond, the biggest witch trial in the Netherlands ever.
Between 1632-1637, Roermond was part of the Republiek der Zeven Verenigde Nederlanden - Republic of the 7 United Netherlands, and later in 1702-1716 is part of the Republic again. Between 1716-1794, it is part of the Habsburg empire.
On 11 December 1792, the French under General De Miranda conquer Roermond, but by 5 March 1793, is under Habsburg control again. The city is again occupied by the French on 5 April 1794 and officially becomes part of France from 1795 to 1814. In 1814, Roermond is liberated by the Russians. After the Anglo-Dutch Treaty of 1814 Roermond becomes Dutch. In 1814, with the formation of the new Kingdom of the Netherlands, one of the new provinces 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.
When the 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 Duchy Limburg, also part of the German Confederation.
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.
As an old city, Roermond is rich in monuments.
Here are a few of them:
* [[National Indiëmonument]]
The town centre with its medieval street pattern has an attractive shopping area. In addition to department stores, you will find a variety of small shops which, together with an abundance of cafes and restaurants, contribute to the bustling atmosphere in Roermond. About 5 minutes walking distance from the centre of town you will find the Roermond Designer Outlet
, made up of around 100 shops selling designer fashion and other goods at discount prices. Recently a big retail center has also been opened along the new A73 highway. It contains, amongst others, several furniture, electronics and toys stores.
Roermond is encircled by a green belt, which offers many opportunities for hiking and cycling. Nature reserves, such as the Meinweg National Park
, the valley of the Leu
) and the Swalm
rivers, provide an interesting variety of woodlands, heath and meadows. For good reason, the region around Roermond has been designated as an area of scenic interest.
The community of Roermond consists of the following population centres:
- Johannes Murmellius (ca 1480-1517), humanist
- Pierre Cuypers (1827-1921), architect
- Louis Raemaekers (1869-1956), painter
- Charles Ruijs de Beerenbrouck (1873-1936), Prime Minister of the Netherlands
- Louis Beel (1902-1977), Prime Minister of the Netherlands
- Jo Cals (1914-1971), Prime Minister of the Netherlands
- Marleen Gorris (born 1948), film director
- Anna Wood (born 1966), kayaker
- Rogier Wassen (born 1976), tennis player
- Harrie Gommans (born 1983), footballer
- Rico Vonck (born 1987), darts player
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 Terrorists opened fire on a vehicle in which three men from the Royal Air Force Regiment based at RAF Wildenrath 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 while the IRA claimed they were working for the British Army. 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 Fein on a visit there in 2000.
British national. Murdered 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 Dortmund while returning from a social event with his wife. The Provisional Irish Republican Army (PIRA) issued a statement in Dublin claiming responsibility.
- On 9 July 1989. PIRA 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 PIRA in West Germany.
- On 26 October 1989 A British Airman and his 6 month old daughter were shot and killed by the PIRA in nearby Mönchengladbach.
On April 13 1992
, an MW 5.4 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 Roer
, Roermond often has to defend itself against floods. The worst floods were in 1993 and 1995.
|| Waterlevel (mNAP)
|| Remarks |
- December 1643
- December 1880
- March 1910
- March 1920
- January 1926
- July 1980
- December 1993
- January 1995
- 80 million guilders damage, 14.000 refugees
- 245 million guilders damage
- 35 million guilders private damage, 500 million guilders damage, 210.000 evacuated
- Highest levels ever in Limburg
- largest flood disaster in Limburg. Breakthrough of dikes.
- In Summer instead of Winter.
- Belgians build/raise dikes, Dutch make plans but never execute them.
- Longest high water ever in Limburg.
After the 1993 and 1995 floods the damage is so high and the people of Limburg make so many claims that the Dutch government decides to finally execute De Maaswerken, a series of water management works that should prevent this disasters from happening again. The plans for these works were in preparation since 1980 but never executed which angered people living on the banks of the river.
As a direct result of these floods the national government and the province of Limburg in collaboration initiated the co-ordinating project "De Maaswerken". This integrated project aims on the one hand to reduce the chance of flooding, and on the other hand to develop natural areas and stimulate economic development by furthering water transport. To this end, the Maas will be deepened and broadened over a length of 200 km. The extracted gravel will be exploited to co-finance the project. Additional measures include the (re-) construction of embankments, sluices and so-called "clay shields" that will drive up groundwater on the riverbanks.
The moest important governmental institutions related to the Maaswerken are the project organisation "De Maaswerken", the province of Limburg and the national Ministries of Agriculture, Nature and Fisheries (LNV), and Transport and Public Works (V&W). Especially the organisation Rijkswaterstaat, the organ of the Ministry of V&W that is responsible for the execution of public works related to water, plays an important role. The organisation "De Maaswerken" was set up in 1997 taking its employees partly from Rijkswaterstaat, the Province of Limburg, the Ministry of LNV and many other local, provincial and national governmental organisations. The final responsibility for the project lies with the minister of V&W.
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 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, who were (and still are) very unpopular in Limburg. 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.
- 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.