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.
Dutch cities close to Belgian border
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.
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.
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.
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.
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).
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).