Castle on the Dutch-Belgian border
The Dutch province of Limburg — indeed, South Limburg, in particular — is known for its fine castles. Among the finest of these is the castle at Eijsden. Complete with a moat, Eijsden's castle dates from the 17th century.
Some facts about the locality
The castle's location is quite remarkable, also. Close to the Maas River to its west (in the French-speaking parts of Europe through which it flows, known as the Meuse ), the castle is also close to the town of Visé (Dutch: Wezet) to its south. (In fact, I have walked it easily.) Bear in mind, however, that Visé is in Belgium, while Eijsden and its castle are in The Netherlands.
Eijsden has evidence of settlement in Roman times. It has a number of noted churches, one of them dating from the 9th century.
The town of Eijsden was merged in 2011 into the Eijsden-Margraten municipality. The town also has a name in the local Limburgs dialect: Èèsjde.
Eijsden's castle is among its most splendid buildings. Its Renaissance style is of particular note, which replaced a Medieval structure. In the Middle Ages, the Lordship of Eijsden had come into the possession of the Lordship of Valkenburg.
The castle is characterized by its distinct tower designs. Incorporated into the castle complex is a large gatehouse. The castle was mainly built in 1636 and from 1767, with restoration work carried out in the 1880s. Since 1936, the castle has been in the possession of the de Liedekerke de Pailhe family.
During World War Two, fugitives from the Nazi German invaders were given refuge in the castle.
In 1995, Dutch Queen Beatrix stayed at the castle.
Its well manicured and herbaceous grounds are extensive and open to the public. These gardens were laid out by the French landscape expert François Duchêne in 1900.
Also worth seeing
Maastricht , The Netherlands (distance: 13 kilometres) on the Maas River, is an ancient, historic city, settled by the Romans. Be sure to see the city's two largest churches and the gate known as the Helpoort.
Gronsveld, The Netherlands (distance: 4.9 kilometres) and Rijckholt (distance: 3.7 kilometres) are attractive villages, each with an old castle.
Visé, Belgium (distance: approx. 7.5 kilometres); this town has a remarkable 17th century town hall, and a church dating from the 11th and 12th centuries.
Liège, Belgium (distance: 23 kilometres) has numerous visitor attractions, including the Perron steps, the former Prince-Bishops' Palace and some remarkable old churches.
Vaals, The Netherlands (distance: 33 kilometres) is close to the Vaalserberg with fine views of the area, where the borders of The Netherlands, Germany and Belgium meet.
Holset, The Netherlands (distance: 32 kilometres) has a noted Medieval church.
Mamelis, The Netherlands (distance: 29 kilometres); this village in hill country has a picturesque monastery set on a hillside.
Lemiers (distance: 30 kilometres); this village, partly in The Netherlands and partly in Germany, has a picturesque castle on a stream marking the border between the two countries.
Aachen, Germany (distance: 31 kilometres); Charlemagne's ancient capital, its outstanding buildings include the Cathedral and the City Hall.
How to get there: Airlines flying to Amsterdam Airport from New York include Delta Airlines and KLM. For North American travellers making the London, England area their base, the nearest sizable airport in The Netherlands to Eijsden is Eindhoven Airport, to which Ryanair flies from London Stansted Airport, and Aer Lingus from London Gatwick Airport. Car rental availability includes options from Amsterdam and Eindhoven airports. The Dutch railroad company NS (Nederlandse Spoorwegen) maintains rail services from Amsterdam and Eindhoven to Maastricht, near Eijsden. Please check with the airline or your travel agent for up to date information. Please refer to appropriate consular sources for any special border crossing arrangements which may apply to citizens of certain nationalities.
MJFenn is an independent travel writer based in Ontario, Canada.
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