Valkenburg aan de Geul

Valkenburg aan de Geul (Dutch: [ˈvɑlkə(m)bʏr(ə)x aːn ˈɣøːl] ; Limburgish: Valkeberg [ˈvɑl˦əkəˌbæʀ˦əx] ) is a municipality situated in the southeastern Dutch province of Limburg. The name refers to the central town in the municipality, Valkenburg, and the small river Geul passing through it.

Valkenburg aan de Geul
Valkeberg aan de Geul
Valkenburg city centre
Valkenburg city centre
Flag of Valkenburg aan de Geul
Coat of arms of Valkenburg aan de Geul
Highlighted position of Valkenburg aan de Geul in a municipal map of Limburg
Location in Limburg
Coordinates: 50°51′54″N 05°49′52″E / 50.86500°N 5.83111°E / 50.86500; 5.83111
 • BodyMunicipal council
 • MayorDaan Prevoo
 • Total36.92 km2 (14.25 sq mi)
 • Land36.73 km2 (14.18 sq mi)
 • Water0.19 km2 (0.07 sq mi)
Elevation73 m (240 ft)
 (January 2021)[4]
 • Total16,365
 • Density446/km2 (1,160/sq mi)
Time zoneUTC+1 (CET)
 • Summer (DST)UTC+2 (CEST)
6300–6305, 6325, 6340–6342
Area code043



Sieges and conquests have been the recurrent theme in the history of Valkenburg, especially in connection with Valkenburg castle, seat of the counts of Valkenburg (or Falkenburg). In December 1672 the castle was once again destroyed by Dutch troops led by William III, trying to prevent the armies of Louis XIV of France from capturing it, this time not to be rebuilt.

In the 19th century, because of the natural environment of the area, Valkenburg became a holiday destination for the well-to-do in the Netherlands. Tourism developed, especially after in 1853 the railway from Maastricht to Heerlen and Aachen opened. Valkenburg railway station is the oldest surviving station in the Netherlands. In the beginning of the 20th century, Dutch architect Pierre Cuypers lived in Valkenburg for several years. He helped develop tourism by designing a hotel, an open-air theater and a copy of the catacombs of Rome. He also restored the medieval church and designed several tombs and a chapel in Gothic Revival style in a graveyard situated on Cauberg, a steep hill outside the town center.

During the Second World War Valkenburg was occupied by Nazi-Germany for four years, four months and one week. The town was liberated on 17 September 1944 by the American 30th Infantry Division. They were greeted with tulips and bread. For an overview of the resistance movement in Valkenburg during the war, see Valkenburg resistance.

Topographic map of Valkenburg, as of March 2014

Valkenburg is no longer a fortified town but it has largely retained its historical charm, although the town suffered heavily from mass tourism in the 1960s, 70s and 80s. The municipality of Valkenburg aan de Geul still hosts more than 1 million overnight stays a year. The present aim of the council of Valkenburg is to move away from mass tourism and emphasize "the natural and historical beauty of the town".[citation needed] In order to attract more "quality tourism" a plan was made called Vestingstad Valkenburg (Fortification Town Valkenburg). Included in the plan were the restoration of two surviving city gates, the rebuilding of Geulpoort, a 14th-century city gate that was demolished along with the castle in the 17th century, and the reconstruction of the defensive moat along the Medieval wall in Halderpark. More or less simultaneously initiated was the redevelopment of the town's shopping district, finished around 2017.

The river Geul flooded its banks on 15 July 2021, causing considerable damage to bridges and buildings in the entire town centre.[5]

Main sights


These days Valkenburg is known for its tourist attractions, chalk houses (locally called mergel or marl) and the hilly countryside. The main sight are:

  • Valkenburg castle, of which only a ruin remains;
  • several other castles, castle farms and stately homes, mostly situated along the Geul river;
  • Oud-Valkenburg, a small village along the Geul with a particularly picturesque ensemble of a gothic church, two castles (Genhoes and Schaloen) and several historic farmsteads, all in local marlstone;
  • several watermills, two in the old town;
  • parts of the city walls and two of three city gates survived (Berkelpoort and Grendelpoort; the third gate, Geulpoort was rebuilt in 2014);
  • old court building (Spaans Leenhof);
  • Saint Nicolas church, a Gothic church in Valkenburg with some late Medieval wood carvings;
  • Saint Gerlachus church in nearby Houthem Sint-Gerlach, with Baroque frescos by Johann Adam Schöpf, painted on marl;
  • several former marl quarries (locally called 'caves', although they are largely man-made), offering guided tours; some have interesting charcoal drawings and marl sculptures, one has been recreated as the catacombs of Rome (designed by Pierre Cuypers), another one as a coal mine; in the winter Christmas markets are held in some quarries;
  • a 30-metre-high (98-foot) viewing tower (Wilhelminatoren) atop a hill, connected to the town below by aerial lift;
  • Thermae 2000, a sauna and wellness resort;
  • a Holland Casino branch, as well as a large park around it (Kuurpark);
  • two amusement parks; one focusing on popular fairy tales (Sprookjesbos);

Valkenburg is situated in a part of the Netherlands that is known for its natural environment and historical buildings. The area, although quite hilly, is perfectly suited for walks or (mountain) bike tours.[original research?]

Listed buildings in Valkenburg


Castles and stately homes in Valkenburg


Tourist attractions in Valkenburg




Valkenburg aan de Geul is famous for its cycling events. The city has hosted the UCI Road Cycling World Championship a record five times, in 1938, 1948, 1979 and 1998 and again in 2012. Since 2003, the city's Cauberg hill has been the finish of the Amstel Gold Race, and since 2017 is in the last 10km distance from the finish. The Tour de France had a stage finish in Valkenburg in 1992 and in 2006.

The Cauberg Cyclo-cross is a cyclo-cross race and a part of the UCI Cyclo-cross World Cup.

The village of Oud-Valkenburg

Population centres


Apart from the city of Valkenburg (including the neighbourhood of Broekhem), the municipality of Valkenburg aan de Geul comprises the following villages and hamlets: Berg en Terblijt, Vilt, Geulhem, Houthem, Sibbe, IJzeren, Oud-Valkenburg, Schin op Geul en Walem.



By car


Valkenburg aan de Geul is served by the A79 motorway, this motorway runs from Maastricht to Heerlen.

By train


Valkenburg aan de Geul has three train stations Valkenburg, Houthem-Sint Gerlach and Schin op Geul, operated by Arriva.

By bus


Valkenburg aan de Geul is served by Arriva buses

Notable residents

Beatrice of Valkenburg, 13th C.


Panorama of hilly landscape in Valkenburg aan de Geul, between Oud-Valkenburg and Schin op Geul


  1. ^ "College van B&W" [Board of mayor and aldermen] (in Dutch). Gemeente Valkenburg aan de Geul. Retrieved 2 December 2013.
  2. ^ "Kerncijfers wijken en buurten 2020" [Key figures for neighbourhoods 2020]. StatLine (in Dutch). CBS. 24 July 2020. Retrieved 19 September 2020.
  3. ^ "Postcodetool for 6301HC". Actueel Hoogtebestand Nederland (in Dutch). Het Waterschapshuis. Retrieved 2 December 2013.
  4. ^ "Bevolkingsontwikkeling; regio per maand" [Population growth; regions per month]. CBS Statline (in Dutch). CBS. 1 January 2021. Retrieved 2 January 2022.
  5. ^ "De beelden van de wateroverlast in Zuid-Limburg". NRC (in Dutch). Retrieved 2021-07-18.