Where is Limburg? The Paradoxes of a Strong Regional Identity Limburg is a good example of the tensions that exist in the Dutch provinces Limburg is a good example of the tension that exist in the Dutch provinces between administrative territoriality, regional identity and spatial functionality. Right up to the present day, strong regional sentiments have hampered territorial restructuring based on more rational or functional criteria. Limburg was formed in 1815, much later than the other Dutch provinces, from different territories on both sides of the river Meuse. After the Belgian Revolt (1830- 1839) it was divided into a western (Belgian) part and an eastern (Dutch) part. This is how the Dutch part of Limburg acquired its odd elongated shape.
In spite of its recent formation, the inhabitants of the Dutch part developed a strong provincial identity. The identification with the province of Limburg as a territorial unity can, however, not be based on any objective characteristics, but is in itself a result of its progressive integration into the Dutch state, which made the inhabitants aware of their divergent dialect, religion, culture, and, last but not least, interests. The paper argues that this provincial regionalism will become more and more obsolete as state borders gradually become ‘denationalised’ through the process of European integration. As Limburg participates in two Euregios, Meuse-Rhine in the south and Rhine-Meuse North in the north, a growing administrative division within the province into a northern and southern part seems inevitable.
This article is part of the forum 'De taaiheid van de provincie'.