Heerlen is a city in South Limburg in the southeast of the Netherlands. In Roman times, it was a settlement named Coriovallum, which hosted a bathhouse, now the Thermenmuseum. Heerlen has become a part of a new larger project city, called Parkstad Limburg, composed of Brunssum, Kerkrade, Landgraaf, Onderbanken, Nuth, Simpelveld en Voerendaal.
Heerlen is uncommonly hilly compared to the rest of the country. It is in the southern part of the Netherlands, between Maastricht and Liège to the west, and Aachen to the east. It's also very close to nature reserve Brunssummerheide. Most travelers will mainly go here to visit the beautiful and plentiful limburgish landscapes, either by bike or on foot. However, the city has also plenty of worthwhile attractions to visit.
The city has been building on becoming a more green urban park city, from the old industrial city it was before. The old paved streets have been turned into lush green borders with trees, and the smaller suburbs have also gotten this overhaul, with smaller parks all around to discover between the houses. The city park Aambos houses a small free zoo with deer, goats and other animals. The Aambos is also next to Huize De Berg, an old cloister from 1897 with beautiful architecture, now a nursing home.
Even though there have been traces of earlier civilization, the real history of this town starts in the Roman era. The Roman military settlement, known as Coriovallum, sat at the crossroads of the Boulogne-Cologne and Xanten-Aachen-Trier routes.
In the late 19th century, the town's importance for the coal mining industry grew. A railway was built in 1896 and strongly improved the accessibility of the town, which was then only a village. The first major mine, the Oranje-Nassau mine, was opened in 1899, and three more mines followed by 1927. The town rapidly grew in size, changing it into one of the largest in the area.
In 1965, the decision to close all Dutch coal mines left many workers without jobs. In an attempt to create jobs, the Dutch government moved the Dutch Bureau for Statistics and the ABP, the pension fund for government and education employees in the Netherlands to Heerlen.
The main 1 is in the centre of the city. Three other railway stations in Heerlen are 2 , 3 and 4 . The main train station of Heerlen is serviced by NS with an intercity connection to Eindhoven via Sittard-Geleen, Roermond and Weert, as well as by Arriva, which stops at the other stations too, servicing a stopping train between them and Maastricht, Kerkrade and Sittard. DB Regio NRW also stops at Heerlen, connecting the city with Herzogenrath across the border with two trains per hour.
5 Bus terminal Heerlen is close to the back exit of the train station. The bus operator in Heerlen and surrounding cities is Ariva. There is one international busline from Aachen to Heerlen which is faster towards Aachen if you want to visit the city, otherwise use the train for connecting trains from Aachen.
Heerlen is along the A76 highway but get on the N281 if traveling south or north because there is no exit to Heerlen on the A76. You can find taxies waiting on the upper level when exiting at front of the train station. From Aachen by car you will have to take the N281. From Maastricht take the A79 to Heerlen. At the end of the A79 is Heerlen. You can also use the inner ring of parkstad to get to Heerlen. The city center of Heerlen is completely car-free. There are few parking facilities in and around the streets around the center. However there are good parking garages to reach the city center very convienently. It is not hard to find a parking garage as they are indicated all around town and even display the number of parking spots available.
Maastricht-Aachen airport is 16 km (10 miles) away from the city centre of Heerlen. Albeit it is more convenient to fly to Eindhoven airport and take a bus and train to Heerlen, because of there are few flights arriving and departing from Maastricht-Aachen airport. For international flights it is better to arrive and depart from Brussels (BE), Amsterdam (Schiphol, NL) or Dusseldorf (DE). Each of these airports are about 2–3 hours away from Heerlen by car.
If you are in Heerlen center, everything could be done on foot. A car is convenient to explore the outskirts of town and attractions in the broader area, but take into account that the city center is car-free and parking there is expensive. Another possibility is to discover Heerlen by bike. There are some interesting parks and locations to reach by bike. Using the extensive bus routes can take you to everything in the city that is bit further away from the center.
- 1 VVV Heerlen, Bongerd 19, ☏ . M 13:00–17:00, Tu-F 09:30–17:00, Sa 09:30–16:00. Visit the tourist office if you have plans for biking or hiking as plenty of useful maps for the area are on sale. It's not necessary to understand Dutch as the routes are clearly marked. They also have other leaflets available, either free or for a few euros.
Heerlen is a great city to explore on foot. This is mainly due to the city center being car free. Walking to most things can be done within an hour. The trainstation is situated in the city center and it's only a short walk to the bongerd. While most streets are free of cars there are a number of streets were cyclists are allowed, therefor be careful when straying of the main streets as it can be busy with cyclists.
This is a great method of exploring the surrounding areas, but Heerlen is in the southern part of the Netherlands, so it is not flat. Stray even a small distance out of the city center and it will be obvious that there are hills. This becomes even more appearent if you bike to other towns or areas.
- OV-fiets Heerlen, Parallelweg 2B (at the main train station). €3.85 per 24 hours.
- Van der Valk Hotel, Parallelweg 2B (at the main train station). They also offer scooter rental, the advantage of this bike rental is that you can park your car here while you explore the city or South Limburg. €17.50 for a normal bike. €27.50 for an ebike.
Navigating Heerlen by car can be tricky as a lot of the street are one way and some are totally closed of for traffic. The districts outside can even be more of a nightmare if you are unfamiliar with the surroundings, though most tourist should not have a reason to go there. The main road network is however exceptional and getting to other towns is very easy and convienent. Exploring South Limburg is very well doable with Heerlen as the starting base and/or ending point.
Free parking is very difficult to find due to the long distance you would have to walk to get to the center. Note that around the city center most parking spots require a permit to park or you can only park there for 2 hours maximum (don't forget to use the blue parking timer). Parking garages in Heerlen:
- Q-Park Theater Heerlen Parking, Muzenlaan 1, ☏ .
- Q-Park Corio Center, Stationstraat 28.
- Q-Park Putgraaf, Putgraaf 1D.
- Q-Park de Klomp, Klompstraat 11. 24/7. €8 for a day.
- Parkeergarage Maanplein, Spoorsingel 63. 24/7. €8 for a day.
There are a few options when it comes in regards to car rental.
- A&B verhuur, Wijngaardsweg 62. M-Sa 08:00-17:00.
- RentaRolla Heerlen Autoverhuur & Autolease, Beersdalweg 84. M-F 08:00-17:00, Sa 09:00–11:30.
- 1 Dutch Mine Museum, Mijnmuseumpad 2, ☏ . Tu-F 10:30–16:00, Sa Su 10:30–14:00. The Dutch Mine Museum is in the former shaft of the Oranje Nassau I mine. Here you can visit to learn all about the Limburgish mining history. There is a large collection of mining tools. It is possible to do a guided tour of around 2-2½ hours which includes 2 movies. Adults €4, kids <12 €1.
- 2 Schunk, Bongerd 18, ☏ . Housed in the "Glaspaleis", a well-known and modernized glass building on the main market, this cultural institution usually has some exhibitions on display, and often free. As a multi-disciplinary cultural institution, it also hosts the city's main library, concerts, a music school and all kinds of workshops.
- 3 Thermenmuseum, Coriovallumstraat 9, ☏ . Tu-F 10:00–17:00, Sa Su & holidays 12:00–17:00. This museum is built to encase the ruins of a Roman bathhouse which still is an archaeological dig site. You can learn all about how Romans bathed in their time, and about how the city of Heerlen developed. The museum also shows findings of Roman digsites in and around Heerlen. In front of the museum, there's a monument highlighting the old Roman crossroads. Adult €8.75, 4-12 years €7.50, 0-3 years free.
- 4 The Oliemolen (Oil mill), Oliemolenstraat 32 (At the foot of the Molenberg in Aambos in Heerlen), ☏ . Th-F 10:00–18:00, Sa 10:00–17:00. A protected national monument, a water mill dating from 1502, original for pressing oil. These days, there's a bakery and a sewing machine shop in the building, and corn is ground by volunteers.
- 5 Schelmentoren, Pancratiusplein, 6411 JV Heerlen. This tower from the 12th century had throughout history several functions, living tower for nobels, a court and prison tower. You can visit the inside on a guided tour from the VVV Heerlen.
- 6 Sterrenwacht, Schaapskooiweg 95, ☏ . F 19:30–23:00. Observatory to watch the stars. Age 6 and older €3.50.
- 7 Castle Hoensbroek, Klinkertstraat 118, ☏ , ✉ firstname.lastname@example.org. Daily 10:00 - 17:30. €8.
The city has a number of parks, usually with a pond, these are great for walking with a baby stroller, as most paths are very smooth and well maintained and virtually no stairs.
- 8 Aambos. The Aambos is an old hilly forest in the center of Heerlen. There is a small zoo, that has deer and other animals. In the park is the caumer stream which if followed upstream will get you to the '"oliemolen"' (oil mill). At the start of the park you can see the cloister huize berge, just look at the bridge crossing the nearby mijnsteenweg.
- 9 Weltervijver (Welter pond).
- 10 Park Meezenbroek. With many ponds you can find a lot of people fishing around there, though note that you need a permit to fish here.
- 11 St. Pancratiuskerk, Pancratiusplein 45, ☏ . M-F 08:30-12:00, Sa 13:00-16:00, Su 09:00-13:00. The main church in Heerlen built in the 12th century out of marlstone. This prominent church is still in use. During the opening times on Saturday guides give tours of the church.
- 12 Sint-Francis of Assisichurch.
- 13 St. Martinuskerk Welten, Weltertuijnstraat 49.
- 14 Holy Heart of Jesus Church, ☏ .
- 15 Kapel Palemig.
- 1 Neoliet, Stadionbaan 52, ☏ . The indoor climbing wall is a great experience to have. Climbing up indoor to the top of the building and continue climbing on the roof.
- 2 Bowling & Partyhoeve De Aar, Welterlaan 45, ☏ . Play a game of bowling in hoeve de aar. Making reservations is highly recommended as it is usually packed. The bowling ally has disco lights and music. There is also options to dine here. The building is an old farmhouse.
- 3 Kinderstad Heerlen, Parallelweg 4, ☏ . 10:00–18:00. Indoor themepark for kids. €9.
Heerlen has only few forest and heathlands in its own borders. However, there is a lot of these directly surrounding the city in neiboring cities and villages such as Voerendaal, Kerkrade, Landgraaf, Simpelveld and Nuth.
- 4 Terworm. Take a walk between Heerlen en Voerendaal and see some of the great nature in Heerlen. In this reserve there are also some architectural buildings at the edge. On the northside of the reserve you can find a lot of school and sports fields. In the center of this lush area you can see the water purifying station. There are old restored historic walking paths, high fruit trees, ravine paths, forests. There is a shepherd, beekeeper and falconer on the landmass.
- 5 Brunssummerheide (Nature Reserve). The biggest nature reserve in south Limburg. A few entrances to this heathland from Heerlen, only half of this is within the city boundaries, the otherhalf is in Brunssum. There is plenty of walking paths, simply choose a path at the entrance and follow the signpoles, these are very well marked out through the hilly heathlands and forests. The reserve has a streamlet flowing through it called the 'rode beek' (red stream). There are paths for horse riders, some locations are great for mountain biking, and the paved paths are easily doable with a bike.
- 6 Beautiful Benzerade. See a source of the Geleenbeek stream in Heerlen and also seeing some of the farms in this old village. And also see some splendid black horses for which this village is famous for. You can also sit and enjoy the scenery acompanied by a drink and something to eat from "het koffiehuisje" in benzerade.
- 7 Parkstad Theater (Theater Heerlen), Burgemeester van Grunsvenplein 145, ☏ .
- Filmhuis de Spiegel, Bongerd 18. They show a variety of cinematic independent movies.
- Quatro Cinema. Cinema
- Cultura Nova. This yearly returning international theater festival in August/September lasting for 10 days, brings theater out of the theater halls and into inventive locations in and around Heerlen.
There are two known shopping locations in Heerlen. The center of the city and the Woonboulevard. The Woonboulvard is famous for its living and lifestyle shops. It is the biggest furniture strip of Europe.
On Tuesdays and Saturdays there is a weekly market in the city center, running the entire length of the bongerd. Usually this market lasts till 15:00.
There are three large shopping malls in Heerlen namely, t' Loon (one of the oldest covered shopping malls of the Netherlands), Coriocenter, Maankwartier (above and around the main train station).
Heerlen in general does not have any tourist shops, however for clothing shopping, there are a lot of stores. There is also a boutique street with some more exclusive shops, on the Dautzenbergstraat.
- 1 Woonboulevard, In de cramer. This is the main living and lifestyle shopping center. It is the biggest furniture strip of Europe. You can buy anything from lamps to beds.
- 2 Heerlen Center. This is the historical shopping district within the old city center. A lot of small and big retail stores as bars, cafes and restaurants can be found here.
- 3 Karnevalswierts, Homerusplein 11 (In shoppingmall Het Loon), ☏ . A very large store dedicated to party costumes and carnival costumes as well as some other festive seasonal occasions.
|This page uses the following price ranges for a typical meal for one, including soft drink:|
|Mid-range||€10 - €20|
- 1 Mr Wok, Bongerd 7, ☏ . A small restaurant but very good wok take-away food, especially the sauces. Ideal for a meal or a quick snack. You can make your own selection of ingredients, select a sauce and either rice, fried rice (nasi) or noodles (bami). It will be prepared fresh and quickly. There is also enough space to sit and consume your meal. €5-20.
- 2 Mijn Streek, Bongerd 1 (on top of the Glaspaleis). Tu-Su 11:00 - 22:30. The highest restaurant in Heerlen, it's very popular, has good views over the city, and a great outdoor terrace for warm days. The menu is varied, including sandwiches, salads and full diner options, and offers a good number of vegetarian choices. The name "mijn streek" literally 'mining area' refers to the old mining history of the region. €8-20.
- 3 Visser Chocolade & IJs. Tu-Sa 09:00-21:00, Su 11:00-21:00. They make chocolate of the highest quality within the store, a great option to get a gift for family and friends. Fresh made ice cream with only fresh ingredients in the summer. Usually there is a terrace setup to sit, though this might be crowded during a sunny day. You can go for a nice walk to the nearby welter pond and see the historic welten district.
- 4 Smulbar Expresse, Bongerd 2, ☏ . For typical fried snacks, this is a good spot to grab some fries and a sausage.
- 5 Broodjeszaak Bufkes (in the Coriocenter shopping mall), ☏ . M 10:00–18:00, Tu-W 09:00–18:00 Th 09:00–21:00, F 09:00–18:00, Sa 09:00–17:00, Su 12:00–17:00.
- 6 La Veneziana, Promenade 6. Ice cream.
- 7 Bagels & Beans, Bongerd 18, ☏ . M-Sa 09:00–17:30, Su 11:00–17:00.
- 8 Rhodos, Dautzenbergstraat 17, ☏ , ✉ email@example.com. W-F 16:30–23:00. Traditional Greek-style food. This restaurant has been around since 1987, a staple in the city of Heerlen. It is decorated in typical Greek decor, but has an open vibe. There is a good vegetarian dish with some tasty kritharaki (Greek pasta). Around €17.50 for a main course..
- 9 Steakhouse Eldorado, Pancratiusplein 42, ☏ . Selection of beef dishes and other meat-related meals.
- 10 Samos Palace, Willemstraat 1, ☏ . Greek-style food. Meals from €17.50.
- 11 El Greco, Pancratiusplein 39, ☏ . Greek food.
- 12 Auberge de Rousch, Kloosterkensweg 17, ☏ . Out of the city center, in an former farm house, this luxurious restaurant offers breakfast, brunch, lunch, diner, wine tasting, high-tea and even cooking with the chef. It's a beloved wedding venue as well. It is surrounded by lush green, ponds and a lot of geese, a lovely view from one of the dining rooms with large open windows. Check the website for special events. Making a reservation upfront is highly recommended. Prices range from €25 to €35.
- 13 Carpe Diem, Wilhelminaplein 6, ☏ . A tapas and meze "all you can eat" restaurant. They serve mediterranean dishes and also have a selection of cocktails. The staff is very friendly, and it's usually very buzzing vibe. Meal price €19.50, exclusive of drinks..
- 14 La Cubanita Heerlen, Honigmannstraat 29, ☏ . Su-Th 17:00–22:00, F Sa 17:00–22:30. Cuban tapas restaurant
- 15 Zafran, Wilhelminaplein 20-22,, ☏ . Indian food from the traditional Moghul cuisine. They cook bread, fish, meat and wild in a authentic tandoori oven. The interior is decorated with a hint of classic Indian decor. Around €22.50.
- 16 Toko-Patja, Wilhelminaplein 5. Indonesian cuisine.
- 17 Grand Turquoise, Wilhelminaplein 7. Daily 17:00-23:00. Around €22.50 for a main course and a drink..
- 18 Sushi Vandaag, Oude Veemarktstraat 1, ☏ , ✉ firstname.lastname@example.org. Daily 12:00-15:30. An all you can eat sushi on the bases of ordering everything via tablet. A large selection of sushi and other Japenese dishes. 30€.
Entering bars is legally allowed from the age of 16. However, many bars and nightclubs in Heerlen have their own policies and do not allow people under 18, 21 or even 23 to enter. Keep in mind that those under 18 are not allowed to drink any alcoholic drinks.
Most bars in Heerlen are centered at the Pancratiusplein, people can find the many cafes and terrasses who are usually filled with people troughout the year. There is also a few terrasses on the bongerd. Most bars are open till 02:00 during the week and usually longer in the weekends.
Some bars and nightclubs will require you to identify yourself by means of official identification papers. Note that smoking is not allowed anywhere within the establishments, sometimes there are specific dedicated areas for smoking.
- 1 Beerkompanie, Pancratiusplein 46, ☏ . Daily 10:00–23:00. A huge selection of different beers to try out.
- 2 Café Bracke, Pancratiusplein 1, ☏ . M-Th 10:00–02:00, F Sa 10:00–04:00, Su 12:00–02:00.
- 3 Kromme Toeter, Pancratiusplein 55, ☏ .
- 4 Café D'r Klinge, Pancratiusplein 47, ☏ . M-Su 12:00-0:00. Is an old brown café in Heerlen. They serve over a 100 special beers, and it has a nice cozy atmosphere. They serve flavors Brand beer from a local brewery in Wylre.
Bars and PubsEdit
- 5 Erin's Isle, Wilhelminaplein 16, ☏ . Su-Th 16:00–02:00 F Sa 16:00–03:00. Irish Pub
- 6 Café "De Tapperij", Bongerd 5. Usually catering to regulars and an older audiance.
- 1 Tulip Inn Heerlen City, Wilhelminaplein 17, ✉ email@example.com. This 3-star art deco hotel from the 1920s is in the city center of Heerlen. They offer 1/2/3 single bed rooms and a deluxe 2 single bed room. All rooms have access to high speed internet, tea-and coffee-making facilities plus en suite bathroom with bath or shower. €44–119.
- 2 Bastion Hotel Heerlen, In de Cramer 199, ☏ . Check-in: 14:00, check-out: 12:00. Bastion Hotel is a 3-star hotel with comfortable rooms and a á la carte restaurant close to the Woonboulevard. It has free parking for guests. There is free wifi and a bar and lounge. There is the option to book a with breakfast included. The rooms are mostly single beds for up to 2 persons, they include a separate bathroom with shower, fridge and free coffee making facilities. €65–95.
- 3 Van der Valk Hotel Heerlen, Terworm 10, ☏ . Good hotel but the location is inconvenient without a car. Nearby estate Terworm for excellent walking routes. A good restaurant. The hotel has a indoor pool and sport facilities. They have multiple single and double bedroom options and suites. They also offer family rooms. The hotel offers bike rental to explore the nearby country side or get to the city center. €99-189.
- 4 Hotel Kasteel Terworm, Terworm 5, ☏ . Check-in: 14:00, check-out: 11:30. On the nature reserve of Terworm, this luxurious four-star hotel with luxury rooms and suites is rich with character. All rooms have a bath with separate shower. You can use the wellness facilities of the nearby VanderValk Hotel Heerlen (about 500 meters). There is a private parking to the Hotel. €125 to €250 a night..
- 5 Stadshotel Botterweck, Geleenstraat 1, ☏ . On the Pancratius square in the heart of Heerlen. Friendly family hotel with a complete overhaul. From €64 single, €74 double.
- 6 Huizepassart, Passartweg 56a, ☏ . Farm apartment close to the Brunssemerheide. The farm is still in use. It is very child friendly. And can be rented for up to 6 people.
They can assist with maps, region guides, travel information, regional products, theater and concert information.
The entire city center of Heerlen offers free-wifi connection.