The Markt (market square) of Sittard
|Population (1 January 2011)||37.730|
|Major roads||N276, N294, N297|
The town is part of the municipality of Sittard-Geleen and has some 48,400 inhabitants (including those of neighbouring villages Munstergeleen, Limbricht, Einighausen and Guttecoven).
The city centre is located at 45 m above sea level.
Archaeological discoveries have dated the first settlement in the Sittard area around 5000 B.C. Present day Sittard is assumed to have been founded around 850 A.D. and to have been built around a motte. Sittard was first mentioned in 1157. It was granted city rights by the Duke of Limburg in 1243. In 1400 it was sold to the Duchy of Jülich, and remained in its possession until 1794. The city was destroyed and rebuilt repeatedly, due to fires and various conflicts during the 15th-17th century. It was a stronghold until it was largely destroyed in 1677, during the Franco-Dutch War. Under French occupation (1794-1814), Sittard was part of the Roer department. Since 1814, it has been part of the Netherlands, except for the years 1830-1839, when it joined the Belgian Revolution. During the Second World War, it was occupied by the Germans, who incorporated several small municipalities, like Broeksittard, into Sittard. The city was liberated September 18–19, 1944 by the 2nd Armored Division. The historic town was mostly spared destruction, despite lying in the frontline for over four months, in which over 4000 shells and rockets struck the city.
After World War II, Sittard expanded rapidly and many new neighbourhoods were built. The coal mines in the region were the driving force of a booming economy, until closed in the 1960s and 70s. It now has large industrial zones and office premises.
Sittard has a small historic city centre with numerous architectural monuments, including several old churches (St Peter's, St Michael's, Basilica of Our Lady of the Sacred Heart), monasteries and a few half-timbered houses. The central market square has many restaurants and bars. The city has retained part of its city wall. On the south-eastern side of the city centre, the St Rosa chapel crowns the Kollenberg hill. Museum "Het Domein" is situated in a converted nineteenth century school building in the city centre. It focuses on contemporary art, urban history and archaeology. There is also a Commonwealth War Cemetery, where 239 soldiers of the Commonwealth Nations lie buried. Among them Dennis Donnini, the youngest to have received the Victoria Cross in World War II.
Sittard houses the SABIC European head office and a large DSM office; both companies having large chemical production facilities in nearby Geleen. The head office of the plant hire company Boels Rental is also located in Sittard.
There are several schools for higher vocational education and training (hbo) in the city, including faculties of the Hogeschool Zuyd and Fontys Hogescholen. Large schools for secondary education in Sittard are 'Trevianum' (havo and vwo) and 'Da Capo' (vmbo).
The biggest Kennedy march of the Netherlands starts and ends in Sittard.
Well known natives
- Eddy Beugels, cyclist
- Rens Blom, athletics
- Mike van Diem, film director
- Jo Erens, singer
- Toon Hermans, comedian
- Wim Hof, Iceman
- Francine Houben, architect, director of Mecanoo
- Jan Nolten, cyclist
- Jan Notermans, soccer
- Huub Stevens, soccer
- Arnold Vanderlyde, boxer
- Joost Zweegers, singer and pianist of Novastar
- Laurence Stassen, PVV politician
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