Hidden paradises along the Meuse river
Limburg’s identity has developed in part from the social and cultural history of the Meuse river basin. The typical characteristic of the region is its wealth of manor houses, country estates, monasteries and fortified towns, which nestle in the landscape of the province. These points of interest are connected together by the Meuse, which flows through the whole province and gradually reveals its green secrets to visitors.
140 gardens from the region were available for selection when the Gartenroute Limburg was being compiled. The province decided on a “garden journey through time”, whereby the gardens chosen reflect certain trends which were characteristic of their respective periods.
Three eras can essentially be identified in the history of the gardens:
• the historical era (French period until the First World War)
• the years between the two world wars and
• the modern period (from the Second World War until the present day)
The manor houses and their domains are characteristic of the first period. Parks and gardens were laid out in the direct vicinity of the manor houses, above all in classical form and with stylistic features.
The influence of the state mining company “Staatsmijnen” was of major significance in southern Limburg during the second period, as it created numerous gardens and parks in order to improve living conditions in the area.
The private gardens sphere began to evolve during the third period. The tending of gardens by private individuals became a major economic sector. An increasing number of plant breeding businesses and garden centres offered a large range of plants, bushes and trees which were now within everybody’s financial reach.
These gardens nestle in Limburg’s varied cultural landscapes, most of which developed as a result of cultivation stretching as far back as 7,500 B.C. Gardens and parks are one particularly significant aspect of this cultural history of Limburg.
Gartenroute Limburg provides a framework for focusing not only on the historical development of the gardens but also on their stylistic form and vegetation. The Gartenroute thus provides a cross-section of Limburg’s garden culture and cultural landscapes. Gardens and parks create regional identity and ensure that both the local population and visitors feel contented here.