Cruising into the Nautilus Marina of Roermond, it hit us again what a boating nation the Netherlands are! This is only one of the harbours here and we got spot 306. We are among Boats of all shapes and there are many more laying in the surrounding Maasplassen, the small side- “piddles” (directly translated) of the Maas created by sand and gravel excavation. They are ideal places for watersports like sailing, waterskiing and fishing.

Our choice of harbour is closest to the historic city centre of town, yet from our mooring it takes a kilometre walk or bike ride just to get to the exit gate. From there one is immediately on the bank of the Roer river and crosses the "Maria Theresia" Brug to get into historic Roermond. We met Maria Theresia, ruler of the Holy Roman Empire, again at town hall. Life-sized figures of the Empress, Vulcan the Blacksmith, the Organ Grinder, the Bishop, the Paper Maker, the Jester, the Tailor and Architect Cuypers turn every hour in a circle to the melodies of the 49 bell carillon. 

Previously unbeknown to us, a café on the market place in front of the town hall was the scene of an IRA attack in 1990. Two Australian Tourists were shot down while enjoying a cup of coffee. The attack was a case of mistaken identity as they were thought to be off-duty British Soldiers stationed in West Germany.

Only a few steps from there is the Cathedral of Saint Christopher, the Patron Saint of Roermond. The church was severely damaged in WWII and all but one of it’s stainless windows were destroyed. They were replaced by beautiful stain glass art of biblical and contemporary content. One shows brave Dutch resistance fighters who lost their lives in concentration camps.

In front of the city’s Munster a statue of a senior dancer in a graceful pose of abandonment caught our eyes.

We saw similar expressions on young women’s faces in front of the Gucci and Prada shops of Roermond’s "Big Outlet Centre", a small city of designer label stores just meters from the remnants of the old town wall and the so-called Rat Towers.

Safe to say that we didn’t spend much time there as our style of shabby-chic is not compatible with most of the labels.

Looking onto the Munster Kerk is a statue of architect Cuypers who also designed the railway station in Amsterdam and has nothing to do with the same sounding beer (Coopers)!

© Austin Robinson 2019