Travel Guides Crafted by Experienced Archaeologists & Historians

Southern Netherlands
Art, History & Archaeology Sites & Museums

Including Limburg, North Brabant and Zeeland

Archaeology & History Sites in Southern Netherlands

Basilica of Saint Servatius, Maastricht

Located on the Vrijthof in Maastricht, the impressive Basilica of Saint Servatius dates largely from the 11th and 12th centuries. Medieval church enthusiasts will be interested in its various Romanesque sculptural elements. The site itself has had an ecclesiastical presence for a longer period, with Saint Servatius reportedly buried here in 384, after which an early medieval structure grew up around it, later replaced by the present church. It remains an active place of Roman Catholic worship and hosts concerts throughout the year.

Bouvigne Castle

Bouvigne Castle existed in some form from at least the 16th century, when it is recorded in historical documentation. In 1614, William of Orange bought the property and transformed it in accordance with the Renaissance styles that were popular at the time, thus resulting in its present appearance. Although the castle, as well as its accompanying chapel and coach house, is unfortunately not open to the public, today’s visitors can still explore the three early 20th-century gardens, one each in the English, French, and German styles.

Heeswijk Castle

Marking the spot where a motte-and-bailey fortification stood in the 11th-century, Heeswijk Castle displays a thousand years of architectural development. Over the course of the Middle Ages a defensive stone castle emerged, one that was besieged and conquered in 1629. In the 1830s, the wealthy baron André van den Bogaerde van Terbrugge assumed ownership of the castle and oversaw its further transformation with the addition of Neo-Gothic elements that help give it its fairy-tale appearance. Open since the 1950s, it showcases the lives of the elite individuals who resided here.

Schaloen Castle

First recorded in 14th-century documents, Schaloen Castle remained in the same family for several generations before Louis of Nassau occupied it in 1574. Not long after, in 1575, Spanish troops demolished the castle, which was then rebuilt in the 17th century, with only a few Gothic elements surviving. In 1894, the Dutch architect P.H.J. Cuypers oversaw substantial renovations of the structure, resulting in its present Neo-Gothic appearance. Schaloen is now a private residence and hotel, offering visitors the rare opportunity to spend the night in a castle.

Temple of Nehalennia

Opened to the public in 2005, this structure in the Zeeland village of Colijnsplaat is a modern reconstruction of an ancient Roman temple. The original was excavated at nearby Ganuenta, which in the second century AD was a regional centre for trade on the fringes of the Roman Empire. The temple was originally dedicated to the local goddess Nehalennia; it is unclear whether this divinity was of linguistically Germanic or Celtic origin, but it appears likely that she attracted worship from speakers of both language groups.

Van Gogh Village of Nuenen

Among the most famous names in Dutch history is the Post-Impressionist painter Vincent Van Gogh. The Van Gogh Village of  Nuenen comprises 23 outdoor buildings or landscapes associated with the artist, with visitors able to walk the streets where Van Gogh lived between 1883 and 1885. After visiting the Vincentre Museum, make your way around the village of Nuenen, discovering the 14 locations immortalised through depiction in Van Gogh’s artworks. At night, the cycle path is lit up to resemble one of Van Gogh’s most famous works, ‘The Starry Night’.

Museums & Art Galleries in Southern Netherlands

Eynderhoof - Limburg Open Air Museum

An open-air museum in Limburg, Eynderhoof showcases life in the region as it existed around the start of the 20th century. Located in a tranquil rural environment, the museum has been operational since 1990. Among its displays are a range of workshops, a farmhouse, a syrup distillery, a forge, and a sawmill, around which can be found a selection of gardens growing vegetables and native species, thus cultivating the impression of a village preserved from the past. Various traditional craft activities are displayed in the summer months.

Iron Age Farm, Dongen

Those fascinated by the Iron Age will not want to miss the reconstructed village of Dongen (IJzertijdboerderij Dongen) in North Brabant. Here can be found several timber structures built in styles believed to have been used during the Dutch Iron Age, as revealed by archaeological excavations at Beek and Donk. Activities like wood-working, pottery, and metalwork are carried out by volunteers in period costume. Largely catering to school groups, the site is also open to the general public on select days throughout the year.

Prehistoric Village, Eindhoven

The Prehistoric Village (preHistorisch Dorp) in Eindhoven, North Brabant helps to bring the ancient world to life. Despite its name, the open-air museum covers not only the Iron Age but also the Roman and medieval periods too. Reconstructed buildings created using archaeological data help set the scene, while interpreters dressed in period costume engage with visitors and showcase historic handicrafts as well as everyday activities like bread making and weaving. The open-air site is part of the Eindhoven Museum.