This little-known Dutch town began as a Roman trading post due to its prime location on the Meuse River, and the charming scenery makes this bustling town a delight for visitors. Throughout the centuries, the city has been besieged several times, but evidence of its wartime history has only remained in a scattering of World War II bunkers found on the city’s outskirts. Venlo’s sophisticated aura is enhanced by its history and art museums, annual art festival, vibrant central market, and grand theatre. The city has played host to many important festivals throughout the years, ranging from carnival celebrations and summer music festivals to horticultural expos. Check out the city’s calendar of events before travelling!
Location: Divided by the Meuse River
Situated in the Dutch province of Limburg, Venlo is located in the south-eastern Netherlands on the German border. A local railway station connected to major Dutch and German cities is the best way of getting here.
Business: The horticulture capital
Though Venlo is an urbanized area, it is known for its horticulture. Every ten years, the enormous Floriade World Horticultural Expo is organized in the blossoming city, attracting suppliers and traders in the industry from all over the Netherlands.
Culture: Arts and theatre for the sophisticated crowd
Cultured travellers will want to experience Venlo’s many museums and its elegant theatre. The Limburgs Museum gives an overview of the area’s history and culture, and its landscape paintings will excite any art enthusiast, as does the smaller Museum van Bommel van Dam. Check the schedule for the Theatre “De Maaspoort” if you would like to catch a show. Otherwise, head to the enormous central market for an assortment of fresh food and local goods, before relaxing in one of the many central cafes and restaurants overlooked by the historic town hall, Stadhuis. If you want to admire some of the local architecture that managed to survive World War II unscathed, head to churches, such as the 15th century-built Grote of Sint-Martinuskerk. Visit the De Groote Heide area to see the ruins of several World War II bunkers located just outside the city.
Activities: Enjoy art festivals and river tours
Don’t worry if you are not in Venlo for the Floriade Horticultural Expo held every ten years; chances are you will happen upon another of the town’s multiple festivals and celebrations. Vastenaovend, the local carnival celebration, is held six weeks before Easter. Art buffs should check out Zomerparkfeest, a huge arts festival held in the park near the train station, while travellers who want to explore the surrounding countryside should hop on the Maashopper, a boat that cruises down the Meuse.