Kerkrade is a city in the South Limburg region, in the Dutch province of Limburg.


Rolduc Abbey played a major role in the history of Kerkrade.

Throughout most of its history, modern day Kerkrade was part of the historic city of Herzogenrath. The South Limburg area was commonly disputed between different duchies and nations around it, and Herzogenrath changed hands repeatedly. It was ruled over time by the Duchy of Brabant, by Spain and later by the French. When the Kingdom of the Netherlands was formed after the French revolutionairy and Napoleonic wars, the area's ownership was determined at the Vienna Congress. There, the border was drawn right through the middle of historic Herzogenrath, creating the two adjoining towns of Kerkrade in the Netherlands and modern day Herzogenrath in Germany. When the Belgians declared their independence, they claimed the Kerkrade area as their own, but Dutch ownership was eventually restored in 1839.

In 1104, a abbey was founded in former Herzogenrath, by an Angustian priest named Ailbertus. After his death, his bones were buried in the abbey's crypt. The monks of Rolduc started coal mining activities in the area in the 18th century and received the sole right to exploit the coal mines on Kerkrade's soil in 1723. They thus laid the foundations for what would become the main economic activity in the town and the whole region.

At the beginning of the 20th century, the first state mines were opened. Coal mining became the beating heart of the region's economy and the main source of income for many of its people. When all the mines were closed in the 60's, Kerkrade partly impoverished. Still considered one of the underdeveloped parts of the region by some, Kerkrade is not a main travelers destination. However, as renovations and facilities development take place, the town is gaining tourist popularity rapidly.

Travelers who do take the effort to visit Kerkrade will find a good number of interesting sights as well a good attractions in and directly around town.

Get in

By train

There is a train station in Kerkrade, which is served by regional trains and connects the town to Landgraaf and Heerlen. In Heerlen there's a rail connection to the intercity trains to and from the north Heerlen. In Landgraaf you can change for the German town of Herzogenrath.

By bus

Bus lines lead to other Dutch towns in the region as well as to Aachen and Herzogenrath in Germany. However, not all of them pass through the main bus station in the city center so check which stop to use . Many buses stop at the Parkstad Limburg stadion or Gaiapark, which is still a good distance from the town center. However, you can easily change there for buses to Kerkrade center.

By car

There are two main roads connecting Kerkrade to the outside world:

By plane

The nearest airport is Maastricht-Aachen airport, with a few international connections. As for the rest of the region, larger Dutch, Belgian and German airports are within reasonable travel distance, so consider:

Get around

The city center is doable on foot and buses are good to get to specific places a bit further away. The main busstation is on the Rolduckerweg, at the corner of Poststraat. If you have a car, parkings are quite abundantly available but in the center you usually have to pay. Large free parking places can be found at:

A bike a fine way to see town and a few villages around, but renting one here can be a bit of a challenge. Ask at the tourist information office in the Continium museum or rent your bike in a more touristic town in the area.




The tourist information office in Continium has a range of local products. Kerkrade has a fair range of general shopping option in the center but if you're on a hunt for clothing or up for a real shopping spree, catch a bus to Heerlen instead.



For clubbing or serious nightlife your best bet is to head to nearby Heerlen, as most youngsters from here do. However, Kerkrade itself has a few bars that are fine for a beer or two. Walk around the market square and you'll find a few options.



Go next

Destinations in the direct surrounding area include:

Stay safe

In Kerkrade as so many other cities and places in Limburg are targets of drugtraficing. Crime goes hand in hand with these practices. If you just want to smoke a joint go to one of the legalized "coffee shops".

Another problem in Kerkrade is the prostitution since the legalization of prostitution in the Netherlands you prostitutes can have sex with someone for a fee. There are some of these brothels in Kerkrade. Getting in bed with a prostitute on the street you have a very high risk of getting an STD. Stay safe and when going to a brothel use a condom the prostitutes in the Netherlands normally do not have sex without a condom a carry one with them.

Another hassle is meeting "junkies" and wanderers you might occasionally meet them at supermarkets and city centers asking for some money which most Dutch people find an anoyance since they already have an income from the state to survive. Normally the begging is because the lack of drugs and they want to buy drugs with the money you give them. Giving these people money also encourages the crimes involved with the illigal drugs. So do not be temped to give these people money and which might also encourage other beggars to ask money from you. Normally these people do not pickpoket your wallet but as in any city in the world keep an eye on your personal items.

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