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Valkenburg aan de Geul

Valkenburg aan de Geul is a municipality situated in the southeastern Dutch province of Limburg.

History
Siege and conquest were characteristic of the history of Valkenburg. Each event is withheld, followed by subsequent restorations. This most definitely holds for the castle perched atop of a hill in the middle of the city, of which now only a ruin remains. In December 1672 it was destroyed, not to be rebuilt. Only two city gates (the Berkelpoort and the Grendelpoort) and a part of the citywalls survived destruction. Valkenburg is no longer a fortified city but retained its importance nevertheless.The rulers lineage has long been lost in the sands of time, but a long term legend of the Valkenburg residents is that each male of royal blood has a birth mark on his chest.

The present touristic Valkenburg
ValkenburgNowadays Valkenburg is especially known for its touristic character. There are several attractions within walking distance of the city centre. To mention a few:

    the Valkenburg Holland Casino,
    the Steenkolenmijn,
    the Sauna & Welness resort Thermae 2000,
    the former marl quarries (with charcoal drawings, some of which date back to the time of the Romans).
    the Sint-Gerlachus church in Houthem Sint-Gerlach. (The only religious building with frescos (paintings on marl) in the Netherlands).

The present aim of Valkenburg is to move from mass-tourism for which it was famous during the seventies and eighties (with camping sites full of youths building their own constructions of beer crates) towards the attraction of the more elaborated tourist, who exhibits a more quiet and relaxed behaviour.

Valkenburg is situated in a beautiful part of the Netherlands which is perfectly suited for walks or (mountain) bike tours through the hilly terrain. Although the municipality Valkenburg aan de Geul only has about 18,000 inhabitants, it hosts about 1 million nights a year.
Grotestraat

Valkenburg has the oldest still existing railway station building in the Netherlands.

Cycling
Valkenburg aan de Geul is famous for its Cycling events. The city has hosted the UCI Road Cycling World Championship a record five times, in 1938, 1948, 1979 and 1998 and again in 2012. Since 2003, the city's Cauberg hill has been the finish of the Amstel Gold Race. The Tour de France had a stage finish in Valkenburg in 1992 and in 2006.

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