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Coordinates: 50°52′N 6°4′E / 50.867°N 6.067°E / 50.867; 6.067
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Kerkrade city hall
Kerkrade city hall
Flag of Kerkrade
Coat of arms of Kerkrade
Highlighted position of Kerkrade in a municipal map of Limburg
Location in Limburg
Coordinates: 50°52′N 6°4′E / 50.867°N 6.067°E / 50.867; 6.067
 • BodyMunicipal council
 • MayorPetra Dassen-Housen (CDA)
 • Total22.15 km2 (8.55 sq mi)
 • Land21.91 km2 (8.46 sq mi)
 • Water0.24 km2 (0.09 sq mi)
Elevation155 m (509 ft)
 (January 2021)[4]
 • Total45,442
 • Density2,074/km2 (5,370/sq mi)
Time zoneUTC+1 (CET)
 • Summer (DST)UTC+2 (CEST)
Area code045

Kerkrade (Dutch pronunciation: [ˈkɛrkˌraːdə] ; Ripuarian: Kirchroa; Limburgish: Kirkraoj; German: Kerkrade or Kirchrath)[5] is a town and a municipality in the southeast of Limburg, the southernmost province of the Netherlands. It forms part of the Parkstad Limburg agglomeration.

Kerkrade is the western half of a divided city; it was part of the German town of Herzogenrath until the Congress of Vienna in 1815 drew the current Dutch-German border and separated the towns.[6] This means that the eastern end of the city marks the international border.

The two towns, including outlying suburban settlements, have a population approaching 100,000, of which nearly 47,000 are in Kerkrade.


The history of Kerkrade is closely linked with that of the adjacent town of Herzogenrath, just across the German border.[7] Herzogenrath began as a settlement, called Rode, near the river Worm (or Wurm in German) in the 11th century. In 1104 Augustinian monks founded an abbey, called Kloosterrade, to the west of this settlement.

It was called 's-Hertogenrode or 's-Hertogenrade (Dutch: the Duke's Rode) after the duchy of Brabant took control over the region; in French it was called Rolduc (Rode-le-duc). As is the case for many parts of the Southern Netherlands, the place changed hands several times in the last few centuries. It was under Spanish control from 1661, Austrian between 1713 and 1785 and French between 1795 and 1813. In 1815, when the kingdom of the Netherlands was formed (see Vienna Congress), the border was drawn through Herzogenrath, the western part being Kerkrade. [citation needed]

In the 18th century the monks of Rolduc began small-scale coal mines. More modern exploitation by others started in 1860, causing Kerkrade to grow significantly, especially as a consequence of the permanent settlement of mainly Southern-European miners in this Northern-European place. When the Willem Sophia mine was opened around 1900, the town grew even more rapidly, absorbing old villages like Chèvremont. In the decades following 1960, all the mines in Limburg were closed. [8]

One of the oldest buildings in the municipality is Erenstein, a castle the origins of which lie in the 14th century.

The border along Nieuwstraat/Neustraße[edit]

Nieuwstraat/Neustraße in 1993. At left is the Dutch side, at right the German side.
Nieuwstraat/Neustraße in 2009

One part of the border between the Netherlands and Germany runs along the middle of the street Nieuwstraat/Neustraße. The border was heavily fortified by the Germans during World War I and World War II,[6] but because of relatively unrestricted cross-border travel within the European Union, following World War II marked only with a low wall, about 30 cm high, running along the length of the street (borders were at that time designed to be unpassable by vehicles, except at border crossing, but no fence for pedestrians).[6] There was a separate 2-way road on each side, and cars had to pass through the official crossing points, but pedestrians could readily step over the wall (although there were signs informing of the border). In 1995, the wall was removed completely as part of the new Schengen Area agreement.[6] Nieuwstraat/Neustraße is now a single two-way road, with the extra space now occupied with trees and bicycle lanes. The border is unmarked, and is crossed even when going round a roundabout or overtaking a vehicle.

The two towns now share some of their public services,[9] and promote themselves as a binational "City of Eurode" for economic development purposes.[6] They share a binational office complex which uses the Eurode name, and is built so that the border passes directly through the centre of the building's main lobby, with one wing of the building in Kerkrade and the other in Herzogenrath.[10]

Population centres[edit]

Erenstein castle
Rolduc Abbey

Kerkrade's outlying neighborhoods and housing developments include:


Every fourth year the World Music Contest, a competition for amateur, professional, and military bands, is held in Kerkrade.[11] Also, for the last three years, the Drum Corps Europe championships have been held here.


Dutch Topographic map of Kerkrade (city), March 2014; (readable after three clicks)

Kerkrade has 4 railway stations:

Another station, Kerkrade West or Spekholzerheide, closed for public rail in 1988, and since 1992 it is in use by a museum-railway company, ZLSM.


The building of a dam in the Anstel, a brook flowing west of Kerkrade, has led to the formation of a reservoir with an area of about 20 ha. This and its surroundings are very rich in flora and fauna. It is the only reservoir in the Netherlands[citation needed].


Notable people[edit]

Janine Kitzen, 2013


Willy Brokamp, 1973

See also[edit]


  1. ^ "Het college" [The board of mayor and aldermen] (in Dutch). Gemeente Kerkrade. Archived from the original on 2013-10-07. Retrieved 29 October 2013.
  2. ^ "Kerncijfers wijken en buurten 2020" [Key figures for neighbourhoods 2020]. StatLine (in Dutch). CBS. 24 July 2020. Retrieved 19 September 2020.
  3. ^ "Postcodetool for 6461EC". Actueel Hoogtebestand Nederland (in Dutch). Het Waterschapshuis. Archived from the original on 21 September 2013. Retrieved 29 October 2013.
  4. ^ "Bevolkingsontwikkeling; regio per maand" [Population growth; regions per month]. CBS Statline (in Dutch). CBS. 1 January 2021. Retrieved 2 January 2022.
  5. ^
  6. ^ a b c d e Jan Buursink and Nicole Ehlers, "The Binational City of Eurode" Archived 2020-11-24 at the Wayback Machine. University of Nijmegen.
  7. ^ Stenvert, R. et al. (2003). Monumenten in Nederland: Limburg, p. 173–178. Zwolle: Waanders Uitgevers. ISBN 90-400-9623-6.
  8. ^ "The coal mines: Limburg's 'black gold' - The Memory". geheugen.delpher.nl. Retrieved 2022-08-05.
  9. ^ "World's Most Unique Cities". Toronto Star, June 2, 2016.
  10. ^ "Neue Anlaufstelle für Grenzpendler in der Euregio" Archived 2017-02-23 at the Wayback Machine. Aachener Zeitung, September 6, 2016.
  11. ^ "World Music Contest opens in Kerkrade". Radio Netherlands Worldwide. 12 July 2009. Archived from the original on 2012-10-17. Retrieved 22 August 2011.
  12. ^ "1899-1962 Pater Leonardus Josephus Weidmann" (in Dutch). Archived from the original on 2005-02-20. Retrieved 16 May 2021.
  13. ^ IMDb Database retrieved 16 January 2020

External links[edit]

Media related to Kerkrade at Wikimedia Commons