Vijlen is a village in South Limburg, the southern most part of the Dutch province Limburg. The surrounding hamlets included, some 1500 people live in Vijlen. It is known as the highest situated village in the Netherlands and is commended for the beautiful landscapes and forest areas around.
The village of Vijlen comrpises the hamlets Camerig, Harles, Rott, Melleschet and Cottessen. Vijlen as a whole is part of the municipality Vaals. If accomodation gets scarcer during the summer season, or if you like the countryside experience, these hamlets have a number of camp sites and holiday houses to offer. The main village of Vijlen is located on a hill, the Vijlenerberg, and therefor lies up to 200 meters above Normaal Amsterdams Peil.
Typical timber framed houses are common in the hamlets around Vijlen
Burial mounds in the nearby Vijlener forest are proof of human settlement in this area at the time of the Linear Pottery Culture, some 3000 - 5000 years ago. Children's teeth were found in one of the mounds, which is therefor called the "children's grave". Since no valuable items were found at the site, but Roman pottery remains were, the Romans are believed to have plundered the graves long before their excavation in the 1920's and 30's. The modern day village is most likely Roman in origin, and the name Vijlen is presumably derived from "villa" or "villare", which would mean "farm villa" or "belonging to a farm villa" in Latin.
Around 1877, cement industry settled in the small village. A factory was build on top of the Vijlenerberg (the hill on which the village lies) and made a natural cement out of local limestone. A second factory was build in 1899, lower on the hill, but went bankrupt soon after. A new owner was able to get the new factory running again and made good profits during World War I, when cement became scarce. Both factories had underground tunnels, originally for underground mining purposes and later to connect open air quarries to the factory buildings. A long 2 meter high and no more than 1.7 meter broad tunnel under the Vijlenerberg connected the new factory to its quarry. In the 1920's, strong competition in the cement branch and the remote location, far from any railway, eventually caused the factories to close.
The main road leading to Vijlen is a side way of the N278 (between Maastricht and Vaals). When leaving the N278 it's about 1 km uphill to the centre of the village.
Bus line 61 runs right through the village on its way from Vaals to Gulpen and back. If you're coming from Heerlen or Simpelveld bus line 43 can take you as far as the hamlet of Mamelis, at the foot of the hill. From there its another 15 minutes walk uphill to the village itself. Bus line 50 from the direction of Maastricht and Margraten also passes that stop.
The town itself is small, and you'll be fine on foot. Visiting one or two hamlets is still doable on foot. However, unless you like a firm walk, you'll need a car, bike or some other form of transport to get around to several of them. You can reserve an electric bike via Wandelcafé A gen Kirk and hotel/restaurant Vijlerhof. If you're staying in holiday park Reevallis, you can also rent a bike there. For cars, quads or vespas, head to Valkenburg or Maastricht.
- St. Martinus church. The neo-gothic and Catholic church dedicated to St. Martinus is known as the highest located church in the country. Right in the heart of the village, along the main road, its clearly visible from miles away and can't be missed.It was designed by Carl Weber and mostly finished around 1862. edit
- Timber framed houses. are common in the hamlets around Vijlen. Camerig, Cottesen, Mamelis and Mellechet are dotted with old farms and timber framed, ancient houses. edit
- Of course, the main activity in Vijlen (as in most villages around), is exploring the surrounding natural areas. Around the village you'll find great landscapes (in part because of the high location of the village), lots of marked routes and a nice forest.
- The Vijlener forest is nice for a walk and the Linear pottery culture burial mounds there are visible. One of the mounds, the "children's grave", has been opened on one side. The information sign next to it is not in English, though.
- The Koelmarkt is an annual summer fair, held around the end of July. It has a flee market, lots of stalls with all kinds of goods and food, but also music and fireworks at night.
- Vineyard St. Martinus, Rott 21, ([email protected]), . edit This family run vineyard has been producing the village's own wine since the late 1980's. You can take a guided tour or taste the different kinds of wine they produce, but you'll have to book in advance.
The village has a small groceries store for all daily needs, as well as a bakery and a flower/gifts-store. All those are located on the main road, around the church. In April and May there's also a temporary garden center on the Mamelisserweg. The groceries place, advertised as "buurtwinkel" (neighborhood store), sells postcards and some local specialties including beer, wine, apple juice and honey.
There are a few places to eat in this small village, but several of the restaurants are attached to hotels. Therefor, see the Sleep-section for more options.
- Cuba Libre, Mamelisserweg 16-18, ☎ +31 (0)43-30 60 206, . The specialty of this Cuban restaurant is Sopa de platanos, a banana soup. Not everyone's favorite, but interesting for sure. Opened just a few years ago, the owners have made this restaurant one of the most lively places around, with regular cocktail- and salsa workshops and other activities. They also provide free walking routes of the village. mains from 16 EUR. edit
- Buitenlust, Camerig 11, . This place lies outside of the village, on the edge of the forest and has a unique view over the countryside. A good place for a lunch break or for diner mains from €16. edit
- Fiets & Wandelcafé A gen Kirk, Vijlenerberg 115, ☎ +31 (0)43-3061963, . This cosy little café opposite the church (hence the name "a gen kirk", "at the church") is decorated from floor to roof with Christian art, statues and bibles. The tourist information office uses the place as a leaflet post and there's a small outdoor terrace, but that's unfortunately located next to the main street. You can also eat here, as there is a simple but budget friendly menu for lunch and dinner (mains from €10). There are also 4 bed & breakfast rooms upstairs. edit
- Hotel Restaurant Vijlerhof, Hilleshagerweg 2, ☎ +31 (0)43 306 1710, . checkin: from 2PM; checkout: 11 AM. Friendly, family-run place with small but clean rooms with private bathroom, some with a balcony. Extensive breakfast, central location and lots of walking routes from the hotel. There's a bicycle shed and free parking. The terrace in the front and the garden with a view in the back make the downstairs restaurant a good choice, also if you want to try local specialties. from 36 EUR p.p.p.n.. edit
- Hotel de Linde, Vijlenberg 33, ☎ +31 (0)43 306 32 45, . Rooms are somewhat worn-down and noisy but they have private bathrooms. The service is friendly and there's free wifi. The modern downstairs restaurant has a very limited menu but offers a 3-course menu for €22.50. The view from the restaurant is great. from €36 p.p.p.n.. edit
- Landal Reevallis, Oude Akerweg 40, ☎ +31 900-8842 (€ 0,20 p. min.), . A chalet village of the Landal chain, not far from the village center. They have 69 chalets, for 2, 4 or 6 people but you'll have to stay at least a weekend. Ask for a renovated chalet as some are a tad worn down. All chalets have private bathrooms, a kitchen and outdoor terrace. Wifi is available but you'll have to pay extra for it. From ~€200 (2 pers., 3 nights). edit
- Camping Rozenhof, Camerig 12, ☎ +31 (0)43-455 1611, . This large camping has lots of facilities, including a swimming pool and the option of an electric connection at your place. They also have fully equipped caravans and two timber framed chalets for rent, but make sure to book well in advance. from €15 for a place with electricity, 2 pers.. edit
- Camping Cottesserhoeve, Cottessen 6, ☎ +31 (0)43 455 1352, . checkout: 10.30AM. €Large camping with swimming pool, small groceries store, a play ground, snack bar and other facilities. They also rent out a few caravans and apartments, but you'll need to book those well in advance and in summer, you can only book them for full weeks. €21,40 for a place, 2 pers.. edit
Most hotels and larger lodging facilities have wifi available, but in some cases you will pay extra. Check in advance. For computer use you'll have to head to the local public library in Vaals.
Nearby destinations that are popular with tourists include:
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