No trip to the Limburg province would be complete without a visit to the bustling city of Venlo. Situated near the German border, the city offers travelers plenty of dining and shopping opportunities. Venlo is home to many international shops and excellent restaurants. The city has not forgotten its rich history, however. Historic monuments, churches and government buildings can be found throughout the city as well.
The History of Venlo
It is believed that Venlo was once known as Sablones, a settlement located along the Roman road that connected Xanten and Maastricht. Many Celtic and Roman coins have been found in the city. Remnants of a traditional Roman bridge can also be found on the river Meuse.
Venlo was, at one time, a prominent trade post in the Meuse-Rhine region. It officially earned its city rights in 1343 and became a part of the Hanseatic League in 1375. Throughout history, Venlo was the victim of many sieges, with the most significant one being carried out by Menno van Coehoornin 1702.
Venlo’s Role in World War II
In November of 1939, the Sicherheitsdienst captured two British Intelligence Service agents in what would later be called the Venlo Incident. The Nazis used this incident to connect Great Britain to the failed assassination attempt of Hitler by Georg Elser. This information was used as a basis for an invasion of the Netherlands, which was still a neutral country in 1940.
The city’s rail and road bridge over the Meuse River were destroyed after numerous bombing raids during the war. In an attempt to cut off the German supply line, the Allied Force tried to destroy the city’s bridges. Alas, German troops wound up damaging the bridges to prevent the Allied Forces from advancing further.
Eventually, Venlo would be liberated by the Allied Forces, but 300 people were killed during the many bombing raids that took place. Many historical buildings were also destroyed in the process.
Before the Second World War, Venlo had a thriving Jewish community. While many members have returned to the city, the community has never truly recovered.
Although several historical buildings were destroyed during World War II, the historic city hall and Romer house still remain today. These two buildings are among the most popular tourist attractions in the city.Visitors who make the trek to Venlo can visit the Limburg museum, which includes a wealth of information on local history and also features special exhibitions.