Simpelveld is a small city in the South Limburg region, in the Dutch province Limburg.
The St. Remigius church isn't a national heritage site from the outside, but the antique interior is.
The small town of Simpelveld is mainly known for the Miljoenenlijn steam train, which originates here, and for the so called "Sarcophagus of Simpelveld" that was discovered here in 1930. The towns roots go back thousands of years, known through archaeological finds of the linear Pottery culture in the area. In Roman times, it was a settlement on the road from Maastricht to Cologne. The famous sand stone sarcophagus that was discovered in 1930 mostly likely belonged to one of Simpelveld's rich female inhabitants of old times.
The fact that this small town had two different monasteries gained it the local title of "kloesterstedsje", or "monastery town".
Simpelveld is easily accessible through the E314/A76, which connects the town directly to Aachen and Geleen, and gives it a highway connection to Maastricht. To Heerlen, the N281 is the main connection.
By train & bus
Although the village has a train station, that is now only used for the touristic Miljoenenlijn and has no regular connection to the Dutch railway system. The steam train operated by ZLSM comes from either Kerkrade or Valkenburg. It doesn't have a routine schedule but this is a recommended route if you want to see some of the spectacular views of the hillsides of Maastricht-Hill Country and it would get you to Simpelveld, if coming from one of its few other stations.
Buses run frequently however and connections include:
- Line 43 in the directions of Vaals or, the opposite direction, Heerlen
- Line 21 in the direction of Gulpen or, the opposite direction, Brunssum
The nearest airport is Maastricht-Aachen Airport, with some international destinations.
As Simpelveld is a small place, you'll be mostly able to make your way on foot in the center. However, to explore the outskirts or nearby villages, a bike or car is a good option. You can rent a bike at the Natuurtransferium (Kruinweg 5 )
The town has a few national heritage sites. There are some old farms and a number of religious sites.
- Loreto Monastery, Kloosterstraat 68. A few nuns still remain in this monastery, right in the middle of the town. Clara Fey, who founded the congregation of the Sisters of the Poor Child Jesus, is buried in the chapel.
- Hellingbos, behind the city hall. Just behind the city hall and the Loreto monastery lies a park called the "Hellingbos". Originally part of the monastery grounds and gardens, it used to hold a cemetery and chapel. Nowadays, the Stations of the Cross remain the main sights in the park, which makes a tranquil place to linger or just walk around.
- Replica of the Sarcophagus of Simpelveld, Markt 1, 6369 ZG Simpelveld. The real sarcophagus is part of the collection of The Dutch National Museum of Antiquities in Leiden, but a really good replica can be found at the city hall.
- Huize Damiaan, Pater (ptr) Damiaanstraat 38, ☎ (045) 5440000, . This former monastery was founded in 1892 by followers of the canonized Belgian father Damian. Nowadays, it is a conference center with some 49 rooms for group accommodation and individual travelers.
- Remigiuskerk, Pastoriestraat. The Neo-Romanesque church was built in the 1920's but it is the church interior that is of significant historic value and therefore listed as a national heritage site.
- ZLSM (Zuid Limburge Stoomtrein Maatschappij), Stationstraat 20-22, 6369 VJ Simpelveld, ☎ +31 (0)45-5440018, . Take a ride trough the southern part of limburg on this classic steamtrain ride. See the marvels and beauty of this part of the Netherlands cross high bridges and see some great cities on the way. The Simpelveld train station serves as a headquarter for the ZLSM and doubles as small museum.
- * Kruinweg 5, ☎ +31 (0)45 5446323, . As in most small towns in the South Limburg region, many travelers use Simpelveld as a base for hiking and biking in the area. Simpelveld has a number of very suited routes. Head to the "Nature Transferium Poort Mergelland" on the edge of town. It is the main tourist information point and forms a starting point for many routes. Here you can rent a number of bikes (including motorized ones) and buy maps. If you've really been working out, they even offer use of a shower for bikers.
For a real shopping spree you should head to nearby Heerlen or (better yet) to Maastricht, Sittard or Aachen. However, Simpelveld has all the basic shops you would need during your stay. You'll find a supermarket on the market square, as well as a so-called "drogisterij", with cosmetic and personal hygiene items. You'll find most of the shops on and around the Markt, the Dorpsstraat (Village street) and Kloosterstraat. Het Oude Schoolhuis on the corner of the Markt and Dorpsstraat sells some nice antiques. There's a weekly market on Friday mornings, mostly with fruits, vegetables and other food items.
For a village of it's size, Simpelveld has a good number of places to eat, although several are cheap fries & snacks places. On Mondays and on evenings after 9.30PM you might find yourself hard pressed to get anything else, since most places are closed then. If you're in one of the many chalets, self-cateringen is a good alternative. Nearby Bocholtz has a number of other places and it's easy enough to get to Heerlen, Vaal or Gulpen if you can't find anything you like.
- Friture Oranjeplein, Oranjeplein 1a, ☎ +31 (0)45 - 544 30 99. One of the best known fritures around town. From € 5,50.
- Grillroom Pizzeria Nefertiti, Dorpstraat 18, ☎ +31 (0)45-5445011, . The local grill and pizza place is run by an Egyptian owner and is open till late. It's not the most romantic place but you can have your food there. If you're in a chalet: they also deliver. Pizzadays are Tue&Wed, with all pizza's for €5.75 *
- Cafetaria-Frituur Snackpoint ’t Pastorieke, Pastoriestraat 5, ☎ +31 (0)45-5441369, . This place also serves some saté and other simple Asian dishes. €5.
Mid-range & splurge
- Bellevue, Deus 1, ☎ +31 (0)45 544 15 37, . Surely the best restaurant in town, and the only one that allows for a splurge. Bellevue offers nice food and a pretty view over Simpelveld and its surroundings. On a sunny day, find a place on the outdoor terrace. €35.
- Restaurant / Brasserie de Driesprong, Kruinweg 3, ☎ +31 (0)45-5446005, . Located outside the village center, next to the Bungalow park and Natuurtransferium. The food gets good reviews and the service is friendly.
- Maxime, Vroenhofstraat 1, ☎ +31 (045) 544 13 72. This place has been around for long, with quality going up and down over time. It seems to be gaining popularity recently and is located nicely next to the church. €25.
- Shoko, Markt 2, ☎ +31 - (0)45 - 75 105 53, . This restaurant location has changed hands several times over the past few years but now houses a modern ice-cream, lunch and dinner place. It's popular enough, also because of its location on the edge of the market square. Dinner plates includes pasta's and steaks and fried fish and prices vary (€12-€25)
For a night out with better bars and clubs, many locals turn to nearby Heerlen. Nevertheless, there are a few places where you can go to just hang out and have a beer and on the outskirts of town you'll even find a dance club.
- Café en Partycentrum Oud-Zumpelveld, # Irmstraat 23, ☎ +31 (0)45-5441495, . This is one of the towns oldest bars. During carnival, it's adjoining party center becomes the towns main place to be.
- Café de Eend, Irmstraat 1, ☎ +31 (0)45-5443330. With a somewhat younger audience also frequently hanging out, this can be a lively place at times. They sometimes serve a few simple meals as well, check the signs or ask.
- Peppermill, Beitel 90, ☎ +31 (0)45-5415794. Although technically in Heerlen, this popular dance club is really situated along the road from Simpelveld to Heerlen. Crowds gather from all over the area and on a late Saturday night you might see Simpelveld youngsters walking there or back. It's open till just before 5AM but if you're under 18, you're supposed to leave at 3AM.
- Bungalowpark Simpelveld, Kruinweg 1, 6369 TZ Simpelveld, . A nice location looking of the hilly landscape of southern Limburg
- Bellevue, Deus 1, 6369 GA Simpelveld, . A very nice view down upon Limburg and Aken. € 105,00 for 2 persons one night.
- De Witte Keizerin, Hennebergweg 1, 6369 BL Simpelveld, ☎ +31 (0)45 - 544 50 51, . Stay in a typical limbrugian Farm which has been converted into a hotel.
- Hotel-Restaurant Vallonnée, Doctor Poelsplein 33 6369 AT Simpelveld, ☎ +31 (0)45 - 544 60 20, .
- Pension Werry, Rodeput 62, 6369 SR Simpelveld, ☎ +31 (0)45 - 541 56 68, . From € 24,-.
- Post NL post office, Markt 4 (located inside the PLUS supermarket). Mo-Fri 8.30AM-12.30PM and 2PM-5.30PM, Sat.8.30-NOON.
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