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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 over Roermond.
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.