Peaceful, with some tumultuous memories
This account, from a visit which occurred a number of years ago, complements a short description (see Links, below) of the main building of Kasteel Eijsden, close to the village of the same name, in the Dutch province of Limburg (1). The castle is noted for its moat and well manicured gardens and park, which are, in part, centuries old.
Species of tree and plant in the gardens of Kasteel Eijsden include: a yew hedge — dating from the beginning of the 20th century, beech, cedar, lime, and acacia.
The formal gardens were substantially created by French landscape architect Achille Duchesne (1866-1947) (2).
A original orchard dated from the 18th century, with further fruit-bearing trees having been planted in the years preceding World War Two.
A notable feature of the grounds of Kasteel Eijsden is the fact that, leaving aside its moat, the waters of two significant rivers flow alongside. One, the Maas (known in French as the Meuse) forms the boundary between The Netherlands and Belgium. This great river has been known at least since Roman times as a great European, fluvial thoroughfare (indeed, nearby Maastricht's Latin name is Traiectum ad Mosam, referring to the historic crossing of the Maas).
During World War One, The Netherlands was neutral; while most of Belgium was occupied by Imperial German troops, as the sanguinary conflict raged. At times during both World Wars, the area around Lanaye / Ternaaien, on the opposite bank of the Maas, within sight of Kasteel Eijsden, was the scene of significant military activity.
Another river which washes past the grounds of Kasteel Eijsden, finding its confluence with the Maas, is the Voer. Although the Belgian border is located a few minutes' walking distance south of Kasteel Eijsden, the Voer does not at its confluence with the Maas mark the border itself, flowing instead approximately east-west, parallel to it.
The Voer runs only a short distance in The Netherlands, having entered Dutch territory from a hotly disputed piece of territory which is now in the Belgian province of Limburg (within Flanders), but which was previously in Liège province (within Wallonia). The Voer River gives its name to a number of villages collectively known as De Voeren (in French: Les Fourons). Over decades, the linguistic/municipal disputes surrounding the boundaries of this small area have been the occasion of numberous bitter crises in Belgian public affairs, with successive Belgian governments having fallen as a result of their wider, complex ramifications.
Then the Voer River flows a very short distance into The Netherlands, past Kasteel Eisjden, and its waters merge with those of the Maas, the Belgian disputes seemingly left in their wake, forgotten...
These two rivers flow past Kasteel Eijsden so peacefully now, yet they are redolent of such a tumultuous past.
Kasteel Eijsden is located at Graaf De Geloeslaan 8, 6245 AS, Eijsden, Limburg, The Netherlands.
26 January 2021
(1) There is also a Belgian province of the same spelling in Dutch (spelt 'Limbourg' in French).
(2) Achille Duchesne is particularly known in England as having worked on Blenheim Park; in his native France he was known for prolific landscaping at numerous, heritage properties. See also (in Dutch) : https://rijksmonumenten.nl/monument/421724/kasteel-eijsden-tuin-en-parkaanleg/eijsden/
Some sourcing: Wikipedia
Also worth seeing
In Eijsden itself are some interesting examples of church architecture.
Maastricht (distance: 13 kilometres) on the Maas River, is an ancient, historic city, settled by the Romans. Visitor attractions include the city's two largest churches and the gate known as the Helpoort.
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. 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.
MJFenn is an independent travel writer based in Ontario, Canada.
Other of my hubpages may also be of interest
- Visiting Eijsden, The Netherlands and its remarkable, moated castle: a treasure of Limburg
Eijsden Castle (Dutch: Kasteel Eijsden) lies between the Dutch Limburg village of Eiisden and the Belgian border; a structure dating from the 17th century, it is noted for being surrounded by a moat.
- Visiting Rotterdam, the Netherlands: Remembering Its Famous Son, Erasmus of Rotterdam
In front of the St. Laurenskerk (or Grote Kerk), Rotterdam, The Netherlands, stands a statue of someone who counts as being among the most famous of its sons: Desiderius Erasmus, often known as Erasmus of Rotterdam.