Vijlen

Vijlen is a village in South Limburg, the southernmost part of the Dutch province Limburg. The surrounding hamlets included, some 1500 people live here, although in summer the village also receives a large number of visitors. Mostly Dutch tourists find their way to this friendly village, which serves as a fine base to explore the region. It is known as the highest situated village in the Netherlands and is commended for the beautiful landscapes and forest areas around. It promotes itself as the only "mountain village" in the country, which of course is an exaggeration of its hill top position, but is the basis for a number of activities for tourists and inhabitants alike.

Understand

Typical timber framed houses are common in the hamlets around Vijlen

The village of Vijlen comrpises the hamlets Camerig, Harles, Rott, Melleschet and Cottessen. Vijlen as a whole is part of the municipality Vaals. If accommodation gets scarcer during the summer season, or if you like the countryside experience, these hamlets have a number of camp sites and holiday houses to offer. The main village of Vijlen is located on a hill, the Vijlenerberg, and therefor lies up to 200 meters above Normaal Amsterdams Peil.

History

Burial mounds in the nearby Vijlener forest are proof of human settlement in this area at the time of the Linear Pottery Culture, some 3000–5000 years ago. Children's teeth were found in one of the mounds, which is therefor called the "children's grave". Since no valuable items were found at the site, but Roman pottery remains were, the Romans are believed to have plundered the graves long before their excavation in the 1920s and 30's. The modern day village is most likely Roman in origin, and the name Vijlen is presumably derived from "villa" or "villare", which would mean "farm villa" or "belonging to a farm villa" in Latin.

Around 1877, cement industry settled in the small village. A factory was build on top of the Vijlenerberg (the hill on which the village lies) and made a natural cement out of local limestone. A second factory was build in 1899, lower on the hill, but went bankrupt soon after. A new owner was able to get the new factory running again and made good profits during World War I, when cement became scarce. Both factories had underground tunnels, originally for underground mining purposes and later to connect open air quarries to the factory buildings. A long 2 meter high and no more than 1.7 meter broad tunnel under the Vijlenerberg connected the new factory to its quarry. In the 1920s, strong competition in the cement branch and the remote location, far from any railway, eventually caused the factories to close.

Get in

The main road leading to Vijlen is a side way of the N278 (between Maastricht and Vaals). When leaving the N278 it's about 1 km uphill to the centre of the village. Smaller regional roads connect the village to Mechelen and Vaals. Your fastest connection to the extensive Dutch and German highway system is via junction Knooppunt Bocholtz, wheren the N278 connects to the A76.

Bus line 61 runs right through the village on its way from Vaals to Gulpen and back. If you're coming from Heerlen or Simpelveld bus line 43 can take you as far as the hamlet of Mamelis, at the foot of the hill. From there it's another 15 minutes walk uphill to the village itself. Bus line 50 from the direction of Maastricht and Margraten also passes that stop.

The nearest train stations of use are in Heerlen and Maastricht or in Aachen (for German connections). From there you will have to take a bus. Taxi's are available but very expensive, as Heerlen and Maastricht are both at least a 20 minute drive. Count on at least €60 for a taxi ride from Heerlen.

For the odd chance you're flying in, Maastricht-Aachen airport is the closest one, with only discount carriers and limited destinations. For more international flights, try Dusseldorf, Cologne, Brussels and of course Amsterdam Schiphol airport (which is some 2,5h away by train).

Get around

The town itself is small, and you'll be fine on foot. Visiting one or two hamlets is still doable on foot. However, unless you like a firm walk, you'll need a car, bike or some other form of transport to get around to several of them. You can reserve an electric bike via Wandelcafé A gen Kirk and hotel/restaurant Vijlerhof. If you're staying in holiday park Reevallis, you can also rent a bike there. For cars, quads or vespas, head to Valkenburg or Maastricht.

See

The St. Martinus Church is a real landmark, visible from far away

Do

Buy

The village has a small groceries store for all daily needs, as well as a bakery and a flower/gifts-store. All those are located on the main road, around the church. In April and May there's also a temporary garden centre on the Mamelisserweg. The groceries place, advertised as "buurtwinkel" (neighbourhood store), sells postcards and some local specialities including beer, wine, apple juice and honey.

Eat

There are a few places to eat in this small village, but several of the restaurants are attached to hotels. Therefore, see the Sleep-section for more options.

Drink

Sleep

Connect

Most hotels and larger lodging facilities have wifi available, but in some cases you will pay extra. Check in advance. For computer use you'll have to head to the local public library in Vaals.

The grocery store (buurtwinkel) next to the church sells mobile phone prepaid cards, postcards and stamps, also international. There's a mailbox on the parking area across the street. For packages or other postal services you'll have to head to the more equipped post offices of Mechelen, Vaals or Gulpen.

Go next

Nearby destinations that are popular with tourists include:

This article is issued from Wikivoyage - version of the Wednesday, September 16, 2015. The text is available under the Creative Commons Attribution/Share Alike but additional terms may apply for the media files.