Nature in all its beauty can be found both in and around Meerssen. The Proosdij park is the green heart of the city; an elegant park with ancient trees, the babbling Watervalbeek brook, and a historic tea house. At its core is a forested area that includes the steepest hillside forest in the Netherlands and unique flora and fauna. The idyllic hamlet of Waterval can be found in the heart of this nature area and the Wijngaardseberg boasts ancient Roman vineyards. In Meerssen, nature is sure to surprise and delight!
At the centre of the park is the Gloriëtte (derived from the word 'glorious'), a former tea house in neo-baroque style from 1895. The Gloriëtte was built on a hill at the edge of the park and was commissioned by former estate owner Amadée Stevens. Tea houses like this were a symbol of wealth and prosperity. The Gloriëtte is now one of the most beautiful and coveted wedding venues in the municipality.
The Bunderbos, with its exceptionally rich and rare flora, is the steepest hillside forest in the Netherlands – so be sure to wear sturdy shoes! It is home to several water sources and bubbling brooks. The forest is a riot of colour in the spring, when primula, thimbleweed, pilewort, wild garlic, and many other flowering plants burst into bloom.
De Dellen and Meerssenerbroek
Nature reserves De Dellen and Meerssenerbroek (167 ha) are situated south of Meerssen, on the southern slope of the Beneden-Geuldal. The area boasts hillside and elevated forests, a valley of grasslands and forests along the Geul, and underground marl caves. The name Meerssenerbroek is a nod to the area's marshy past. The water that rose to the surface transformed the area into a swampland and the Geul flooded the area regularly. This created a dynamic area with new sediment deposits containing new plant seeds. The current vegetation is a testament to this.
Watervalderbeek and Waterval
The Watervalderbeek emerges in the forest of the Waterval hamlet near Ulestraten. The many water sources in this forest have transformed it into a bubbling brook, which winds across the meadows of Waterval towards Meerssen before disappearing underground near the Pletsmolen water mill. The charming hamlet of Waterval is situated in a valley of the Watervalderbeek, between Ulestraten and Raar.
Over the centuries, the Meuse river transformed Limburg into a unique and fascinating landscape with a tangle of old river channels, meanders, dikes, forelands, and flora and fauna. Historic cities and prominent villages testify to a past interwoven with the Meuse. Grab your bicycle, slip on your walking shoes, and discover the new cross-border (tourist-recreational) nature area of RiverPark Maasvallei.
Buitengoed Geul & Maas
Buitengoed Geul & Maas stretches from Schin op Geul to Borgharen. This vast nature reserve spans three municipalities: Valkenburg aan de Geul, Maastricht, and Meerssen. Of particular note are the beautiful river valleys of the Geul, the Watervalderbeek, the Kanjel & Gelei, and the Meuse. These are surrounding by flourishing estates, stately mills, and old-fashioned farms and castles. It is a feast for the eyes and a salve for the spirit.
The oldest wine-growing area in the Netherlands can be found along the flanks of the Wijngaardsberg in the Limburg village of Ulestraten. Grape vines have grown here since 968, following the ancient Roman road from Meerssen to Hunnecum. The vineyards existed until 1800 and were replanted in 2002. Wijngaardsberg wines are sold in first-class restaurants throughout the Netherlands and Belgium. Try them for yourself and discover the flavour of Limburg!
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