It is well known that Limburgers are real Burgundians. They like a brisk walk, as long as it ends in the sun with a good glass of beer or wine. But did you also know that Limburg is the wine province of The Netherlands? No less than 32 percent of the total Dutch wine grapes are grown in this soil.
Most vineyards can be found in South Limburg, but you will also find a beautiful vineyard in Central Limburg in Thorn, near the Maasplassen.
Near Parc Maasresidence Thorn (which will be completed by the spring of 2022) you can find the 'white' town of the same name that used to be a tiny principality. It’s truly a nice area to visit! Wine has been created here since the Middle Ages. It is no surprise that the central and beautifully paved square in the center of Thorn is called 'De Wingerd', which is Limburgish for 'vineyard'. However, Napoleon imposed a ban on viticulture outside of France, so it took some time before wine could be made in Thorn again. Since 2002 Wijngoed Thorn has taken upon itself to remedy this. Just outside the town you can find a vineyard of more than seven hectares, where the tastiest grapes are grown for the most diverse of wines. Visit the wine shop of Wijngoed Thorn in the city center, here you will not only get an extensive explanation regarding the wines, but of course it will be paired with a tasting!
Incidentally, it turns out that the part of Limburg, which includes Thorn, is the driest part of the Benelux which is highly beneficial for the grapes. In addition to this, the rich soil on the Meuse ensures optimal water management. In short: the combination of a top layer of warm loam and the underlying gravel ensure beautifully balanced wines which absolutely should be tasted at least once in a lifetime.
While in Thorn, taking a walk is a great idea. The walk is guaranteed to show you all the beautiful places in the white town. You should start by the Kerkberg, in front of the entrance of the imposing Abbey Church. Along the way you will pass the Beguinage, the Cracker Mill, the House with the Three Bullets and even more interesting monuments and buildings. The route is available at the various tourist information offices in the area, including the one in Thorn, which also has a museum. In the Gemeentemuseum Land van Thorn, you will be introduced to excavations and historical objects which reflect the history of Thorn.
When you talk about the Maasplassen, the idea of water sports is never far off anybody’s minds. But nearby there are also a few gems of castles which are more than worth a visit. How about Aerwinkel Castle? The castle was built in 1854 by Pierre Cuypers, best known as the architect of the Rijksmuseum. But not only is the castle interesting, the huge park is also beautiful. In any case, there are plenty of hiking opportunities in the region. For a snack and drink you can walk to the Gasterij where you can enjoy a lovely rural setting. It is not a restaurant, but for a good lunch and a specialty beer (for example the own Aerwinkel beer) you will be just in the right place!
Another castle can be found in Horn, not to be confused with Thorn. The castle is one of the oldest, still intact medieval fortresses in The Netherlands which has been built on a natural elevation on the Meuse. The castle probably dates back to the 10th or 11th century and was originally owned by so-called robber barons, who earned their money by levying tolls on the busy Meuse. Now the castle is in private hands and in principle you can’t visit it. However, the park is always accessible and can be enjoyed..
Do you want to take a walk on a road speckled with several castles? No problem, because you will find dozens of castles and country houses along the river Meuse. Start your walk at the Grathemermolen, a watermill (already mentioned in 1252) in the center of Grathem on the Uffelse Beek. From here you can walk to the romantic white fairytale castle called 'Groot Buggenum. Please take your time here. Take a look at the castle or take a walk through the park where you will be surprised by the variety of garden rooms. Meanwhile, listen to the sound of splashing water from the fountains and gargoyles. If you walk further along the stream, you will eventually get to Kasteel ten Hove, near the village of Grathem. From here it will only be a short walk to the Boschmolenplas, a true Ibiza on the Meuse. You can relax on the beach or on one of the terraces. Along the way you will probably come across nice local shops where you can buy something delicious or get a refreshing drink.
In the evening you can eat out in one of the beautiful places which Parc Maasresidence Thorn has to offer. Eating out in Limburg means enjoying the most delicious dishes, often serving regional products such as asparagus, syrup and mustard. You can end the day in one of the top locations of Parc Maasresidence Thorn, where you can enjoy every type of water fun the region has to offer. For example, in the harbor apartments you have a beautiful view over the new marina, where your own boat can be moored. From mid-September, the various holiday homes will be available for rental at Parc Maasresidence Thorn. Do keep an eye on the website!