Dutch cities close to Belgian border

Dutch cities close to Belgian border

Belgium and the Netherlands are two neighboring European countries that are very similar and at the same time very different. Well, these similarities and differences go back to history almost two centuries ago. The Netherlands, Belgium, and Luxembourg were once united under a single country namely the United Kingdom of the Netherlands. However, they got officially separated in 1830. The Belgian revolution during 1830-1839 had played a role in the making of these three modern nations. The Northern Netherlands (now known as the Netherlands), was supporter of Protestantism while the Southern Netherlands (now referred as Belgium) was supporter of Catholicism. Even though these two countries are now completely separated from each other, there are shared cultures and beliefs especially for those cities close to the border of each country. For example, Dutch cities in the Southern part of the Netherlands are mostly Catholic in belief and speaks the Dutch language in a Limburg’s way. While those in the Northern part of Belgium speak Dutch close to the Limburg’s accent in the Southern part of the Netherlands (the Southern part of Belgium are French speaking while some Belgian cities in the East speak German). Regardless of these similarities and differences, Belgium and the Netherlands are both beautiful countries in their own ways. What is even nice is you can simply cross border in these two countries in multiple ways – whether by car, bike, or train. In this blog I will discuss the different Dutch cities close to Belgian border starting from the east going to the west (see map below).

In my previous blog, I discussed the Belgian cities close to the Dutch border. You can find the lists in this link: Belgian cities close to the Netherlands. Curious about the country and cities to the East of the Netherlands? Check out my blog on German cities close to the Netherlands. Are you crossing border from Germany to the Netherlands? Then check-out my blog on the Dutch cities close to German border.

Southern Dutch cities close to Northern Belgium.

Dutch cities close to Belgian border

1. Maastricht

Ever wonder how it feels to be standing in a place that connects three countries, such as the Netherlands, Belgium, and Germany at the same time? Then you should come to Maastricht and stand in the Drielandenpunten! Maastricht is the Southernmost part of the Netherlands and is in the boundary of Belgium and Germany. By the train, it might take around 2.5-3.5 hours to arrive at Maastricht from Amsterdam and by car it takes around 2.5 hours. This Dutch city is close to Belgian cities such as Hasselt and Liege. Compared to other cities of the Netherlands, Maastricht has a different landscape because of some small hills in the region. The various things to do in Maastricht includes visiting the Maastricht underground, Fort Sint Pieter, Sint Jan’s Kerk, Basilica of St. Servatius, and walking along the Sint Servaas bridge.

A view of the famous Maastricht bridge.
A greenery and hill in the heart of Maastricht.

2. Valkenburg aan de Geul

Valkenburg, or Valkenburg aan de Geul, is considered as the Christmas capital of the Netherlands. This little town is closed to three cities of three countries: Maastricht Netherlands, Aachen Germany, and Leuven Belgium. Valkenburg is quite easy to tour since it is relatively small with some hilly views, which gives you a different feeling of the Netherlands. Valkenburg boasts Roman catacombs, castle ruins, and oldest train stations. It also offers other activities for children such the amusement park de Valkenier, Sprookjesbos (Fairytale forests), and Steenkolenmijn (charcoal museum). For more information about Valkenburg, you can check out my blog Valkenburg: The Christmas city of the Netherlands.

A Christmas table in the famous catacombs of Valkenburg.
A castle in Valkenburg.

3. Roermond

Roermond is a place that comes from the words Roer, which is a name of the river, and mond, which literally means mouth. This city is situated in the lower part of River roer, which flows to certain areas of the Netherlands, Belgium, and Germany. Designer Outlet Roermond is one of my favorite shopping destination for designer’s brands as there are many outlets store inside its shopping center. What’s nice for a family when visiting Roermond is that there is a playground (for free) and carousel inside the shopping center. Therefore it is possible to combine shopping and day-out with kids. If you happen to walk to the shopping center of Roermond from the train station, you will pass by a beautiful Munsterkerk, which is also worth a visit.

Resting inside the MacArthur Glen Retail Outlet Roermond.

4. Eindhoven

Eindhoven is another Dutch city close to Belgian border. It is located in the South of the Netherlands on the east side of Tilburg. The architecture in the city combines modern design with old historical places. The Eindhoven University of Technology, which specializes in engineering and sciences, is situated in this area. Therefore, it is quite unique to see some special designs in the city. Outside the city center you can find some camping areas, which are also popularly visited by people who wants to escape hustle of the city. One of the camping places we had is the Oostappen Vakantie Park Brugse Heide. If interested the experiences we had in the Vakantie Park, you may check our blog Vakantie Park Brugse Heide: Last Minute Summer Holidays.

Inside the modern city of Eindhoven.

5. Tilburg

Tilburg is a city in the southern part of the province North Brabant of the Netherlands. It is well-known for (applied) universities such as Tilburg University, Avans University of Applied Sciences and Fontys University of Applied Sciences. Spending a visit in Tilburg is worthwhile since there are literally many attractions to find. It is a bustling city that offers cultural variation, shopping and food experience. Some of the top places to visit include the Museum de Pont (modern art museum showcasing paintings, exhibitions, and collections), Textiel Museum (shows exhibit of textiel arts), Doloris Meta Maze (a modern maze that has beyond the world concept) and Stadsbrouwerij 013 (offers amazing variations of beers).

The beautiful city center of Tilburg.
Resting in one of the art benches in Tilburg.

6. Breda

Breda is a fortified city next to Tilburg, in the North Brabant. The name itself comes from brede Aa, which means. an intersection of rivers Mark and Aa. This city is known as the residence city of the House of Oranje-Nassau, which is the royal family of the Netherlands. This city is small yet cozy since many international students are living here, just like many cities in the Netherlands with the presence of universities. The two universities in the place are Avans and Breda University of Applied Sciences. Breda has many stunning castles and architectural monuments. Some of the famous in the city includes Reptilehouse de aarde Breda (2-levels area filled with reptiles such as snakes, lizards, etc.), Breda’s Begijnhof museum (a quite surrounding with well maintained garden and convent), Citypark Valkenburg, Onze Lieve Vrouw Kerk (a Gothic and Nassau inspired church), Kasteel van Breda (castle), and Miniaturen museum Breda (small museum with dollhouses and figures).

Kasteel Bovignelaan in Breda by 7. Bergen op Zoom

Bergen op Zoom is also one of the cities close to Belgian border, just 30 kilometers away from Antwerp. This city is one of the oldest cities of the Netherlands. Its squares and streets, which dated 800 years old, are now home for many restaurants, shops, and cafes. Some of the famous attractions in the city include Het Markiezenhof (a beautiful, well-preserved building museum), Grote Markt (central square with townhall, St. Gertrudis church, and restaurants), Lievevrouwepoort (or Gevangenpoort, ‘Prisoners’ Gate’) – the city’s oldest monument, Saint Gertrude’s Church (Gertrudiskerk), and Ravelijn Op den Zoom (the underground tunnels, which is the remain of the famous fortifications built by Menno van Coehoorn).

8. Middleburg

Middleburg is the capital of Zeeland. This historical city has been once the center of trading of the VOC (Dutch East India company). The feeling of the past can still be felt as you walk around the city center of Middleburg and seeing the Gothic townhall, which is one of the finest buildings in the Netherlands. There are various activities to do in Middleburg, such as visiting the Zeeuws museum, visiting the Lange Jan tower, and touring the Gothic town hall.

Walking in the street of Middleburg.
The Zeeuws-Slavernij monument Middleburg 2005.

9. Vlissingen

Vlissingen is a small city in the Southern part of Westerschelde. It is a city that has hundreds of monuments surrounding the cities. Compared to Breskens aan Zee, Vlissingen is more developed and richer. Historically, this city is once the headquarter of the Dutch East India Company (VOC), which is a group of Dutch companies that navigated the world at the beginning of the 17th century. This city is also the birthplace of the famous Dutch navy admiral Michiel de Ruiter, who is considered a hero during the English-Dutch wars. Vlissingen boasts beautiful beach with white sand in front of the hotels and city centers. It also has enough space for visitors due to fewer tourists as compared to other beaches in the North and South of Holland.

Enjoying the white sand of the Vlissingen beach.

10. Breskens aan Zee

Breskens aan Zee is a little island located in the north part of Southernmost island of Zeeland, close to the Belgian border. This town is facing the Vlissingen city in the other part of the island of Zeeland. Breskens aan Zee is like a secret paradise from tourists because of its secluded, less touristic and beautiful strand, light tower, and sand dunes. It is also possible to take a ferry from Breskens aan Zee going to Oosterschelde and vice versa. There is a maritime museum in the town and some restuarants to enjoy your visit in Breskens aan Zee.

Breskens aan Zee on the background.
Inside the museum Breskens.
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