Pressed between Belgium and Germany, Limburg, the Netherlands’ southernmost province, is shaped like an hourglass and is only 13km across at its narrowest. By Dutch standards, this is a geographically varied province: the north is a familiarly flat landscape of farmland and woods until the town of Roermond, where the River Maas loops and curls its way across the map; in the south, and seemingly out of nowhere, rise rolling hills studded with vineyards and châteaux. The people of Limburg are as distinct from the rest of the Netherlands as their landscape – their dialects incomprehensible to “Hollanders”, their outlook more closely forged by Belgium and Germany than the distant Randstad. Nowhere is this international flavour more apparent than in the main city of Maastricht, while South Limburg’s distinctive, and notably un-Dutch, atmosphere makes it popular with tourists from the rest of the Netherlands, who head to its many caves and scenic cycle routes, and visit its resorts such as Valkenburg. North and central Limburg are less colourful, but still have some places that are well worth visiting. Venlo, with its stunning Stadhuis, is a good starting point for heading on to the National War and Resistance Museum, and Roermond makes a good base to explore the National Park de Meinweg.
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