City and municipality

Roermond in 2011


Coat of arms
Highlighted position of Roermond in a municipal map of Limburg
Location in Limburg
Coordinates: 51°12′N 5°59′E / 51.200°N 5.983°E / 51.200; 5.983Coordinates: 51°12′N 5°59′E / 51.200°N 5.983°E / 51.200; 5.983
Country Netherlands
Province Limburg
  Body Municipal council
  Mayor Rianne Donders-de Leest (CDA)
  Total 71.10 km2 (27.45 sq mi)
  Land 60.84 km2 (23.49 sq mi)
  Water 10.26 km2 (3.96 sq mi)
Elevation[3] 22 m (72 ft)
Population (May 2014)[4]
  Total 57,044
  Density 938/km2 (2,430/sq mi)
Demonym(s) Roermondenaar
Time zone CET (UTC+1)
  Summer (DST) CEST (UTC+2)
Postcode 6040–6049, 6070–6071
Area code 0475
Dutch Topographic map of Roermond (city), as of March 2014

Roermond (Dutch pronunciation: [ruːrˈmɔnt]; Limburgish: Remunj) 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 lower Roer at the east bank of the Meuse 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 Roermond Minster or 'Munsterkerk' in Dutch. In addition to important churches, the town centre has many listed buildings and monuments.


Roermond is situated in the middle of the province of Limburg 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:


Statue in Munsterplain, Roermond

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. 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 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 Rheindalen 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 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 Northerners even more than they loathed the Spanish occupiers.

Between 1632 and 1637, Roermond was under the control of the Dutch Republic, and again from 1702 to 1716. Between 1716 and 1794, it was part of the Austrian Netherlands within the Habsburg Monarchy.

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 Limburg that had existed until 1648 within the triangle MaastrichtLiègeAachen.

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 new Duchy of Limburg, also part of the German Confederation.

Between 1940 and 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 27, 1990, four Australian tourists were shot in the Roermond city centre, two of whom later died. Because they were driving around in a British registered car, terrorists linked to the IRA thought they were British soldiers. Also see: IRA Attack in Roermond.

Main sights

Munsterkerk in 2008

Roermond's old city centre is home to several historic monuments, including:


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,[5] 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). In 2013 Roermond ended up at the 13th place.[6]


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 (1.6 mi) long Roertunnel 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 now fully operational. Another highway connection under construction is the German autobahn A52. The last 6 km (4 mi) stretch from Düsseldorf to the German-Dutch border was recently completed. 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% [7] and the average income is lower than the national average.


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 quarter-hourly fast trains across the country to:

In addition there are commutertrains with half-hourly service to:

The municipality of Swalmen 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 used to be a bus service to Heinsberg in Germany, which was terminated in December 2008. There are no long-distance coach services.


Roermond hosts several festivals, including a Liberation Day festival on May 5 and the dance 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. To the west the Meuse River and its lake area, known as "Maasplassen", offer opportunities for water recreation.

Notable natives

Other information

IRA attacks

On 1 May 1988 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 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 five kilometers (3.1 miles) 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, whom the IRA shot believing they were off-duty British Army soldiers. Australian Prime Minister Bob Hawke denounced the IRA explanation saying 'This sort of warped logic of war casualties adds insult to a mortal injury,'[8] and a later Prime Minister John Howard refused to meet Gerry Adams from Sinn Féin on a visit to Australia in 2000.


On 13 April 1992, a magnitude 5.4 earthquake occurred near the city of Roermond in a focal depth of about 17 km (11 mi). This so-called Roermond earthquake was the strongest event in Western 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,[9] 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.[10] 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 to and surrounded by water and close to two rivers, the Maas and the Roer, 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 Maastricht Highest level ever in Limburg
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


Wikisource has original text related to this article:

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 less importance. Everything was done in Limburgs. Newspapers in the 19th century were sometimes written in German, in some 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 Liège. 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.


  1. "Peter Cammaert" (in Dutch). Gemeente Roermond. Retrieved 22 November 2013.
  2. "Kerncijfers wijken en buurten" [Key figures for neighbourhoods]. CBS Statline (in Dutch). CBS. 2 July 2013. Retrieved 12 March 2014.
  3. "Postcodetool for 6041TG". Actueel Hoogtebestand Nederland (in Dutch). Het Waterschapshuis. Retrieved 22 November 2013.
  4. "Bevolkingsontwikkeling; regio per maand" [Population growth; regions per month]. CBS Statline (in Dutch). CBS. 26 June 2014. Retrieved 24 July 2014.
  8. "Reward Offer Bringing in Tips in IRA Killing of Australians". Associated Press News Archive. May 29, 1990. Retrieved July 26, 2012.
  9. Camelbeeck and van Eck, 1994
  10. Demyttenaere and Laga, 1988


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