Happy 150th anniversary, Limburg!

On Thursday, May 11, 2017, it’s exactly 150 years since the London Treaty was ratified. The treaty would provide independence for Luxembourg as a nation, and put an end to Limburg’s double status; as of 11 May 1867, Limburg is officially only a province of the Netherlands.

Fun fact: Province of Maastricht
Did you know that the province now known as Dutch Limburg was originally to be named Maastricht, after the city and its capital? Limburg was also home to many battles in the Eighty Years’ War (1568-1648), after which came the Napoleonic era, followed by a collective of major powers who made decisions for Europe: England, Prussia, the Austrian Empire, the Russian Empire and France. They were the ones who decided in 1815, that the entire region would serve under the new Kingdom of the Netherlands and King Willem I. He however didn’t want to lose the name “Limburg,” to honor its history and the castle town after which the province was named, Ville de Limbourg, so that’s why it was renamed “Province of Limburg.”

Willem_Frederik_(1772-1843)_Koning Willem I
King Willem I of Orange

Duchy of Limburg
Of course another divide was bound to emerge, and the Belgian Revolution in 1830 mapped Limburg as a province under Belgian rule. The London Treaty of 1839, split the region in two, giving each kingdom a piece to call their own, and it hasn’t changed since then. At the time, the ruling powers split up and divided land to maintain an idea of a certain equilibrium in power. Dutch Limburg became part of the German Confederation as the Duchy of Limburg to keep Prussia happy, because the province of Luxembourg, which first had belonged to the German Confederation, was given to Belgium.

The cities of Maastricht and Venlo however were not part of that deal, because a total including their inhabitants would tip the scales and cause discontent, or heaven forbid, another bloody battle. All of that got settled very nicely in 1867 without further ado, hence the celebration of a 150th anniversary!

London Treaty, 1867.

Joie de Vivre
By now, you probably know that Limburgers or folks in the south, don’t really need a reason to throw a party. If they feel like celebrating, they just give in to their sense of joie de vivre and live it up!

With all the French influence happening on Limburg soil over the many years and decades, that joie de vivre shouldn’t come as a surprise. So naturally, the 150th anniversary of becoming Dutch Limburg for once and for all, will be celebrated on May 11.

Illustration by Vanesca van Klaveren

Ronald Plasterk
There will be lots of talking and plenty of celebrating that day, for which 150 citizens from all over Limburg have been invited. There’s a symposium with speakers, and a festive celebration with speakers, both in the Gouvernement building in Maastricht.

The symposium starts at 14:00 hrs and it can be followed live via the website of Limburg. The festive celebration will be broadcast via the L1 website as of 19:00 hrs. Ronald Plasterk, demissionary Minister of Foreign Affairs and Kingdom Relations, will be among the speakers.

Luxembourg 150th anniversary
Should you be interested in the Luxembourg story, they offer free guided tours in the weekend of May 13 and May 14 in the Dräi Eechelen Museum in Kirchberg and the Lëtzebuerg City Museum.

(part of this article is sourced from limburg.nl)

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