Fluweelengrot

Velvet Cave


Useful Information

Location: Valkenburg.
A 79 Maastricht-Heerlen exit 3 (Valkenburg), at roundabout turn left, Provinciale Weg Broekhem. After 1.6km turn right into Koningin Julianalaan, at the end of the road (Fire Department) turn right into Wilhelminalaan. After 300 metre turn left into Daalhemerweg. Entrance to the castle left, stairs with lions, entrance of the cave 150m furtther.
Open: JAN to MAR Mon-Fri 11, 13, Sat-Sun 11-15, hourly.
APR to JUN daily 11-16, hourly.
JUL to AUG daily 10:30-16:30, half hourly.
SEP to OCT daily 11-16, hourly.
NOV closed.
mid NOV to DEC daily Christmas Market, no tours.
Closed on 01-JAN, Carnaval, 25-DEC. [2007]
Fee:  
Classification:  Rock Mine: subterranean limestone quarries.
Light:  
Dimension: T=12°C, H=90%, L=5,000m.
Guided tours: L=800m, D=60min. English description text available.
Photography:  
Accessibility:  
Bibliography:  
Address: Stichting Kasteel van Valkenburg, Grendelplein 13, 6301 BS Valkenburg aan de Geul, Tel: +31-43-6090-110, Fax: +31-43-6090-114,
Fluweelengrot, Daalhemerweg 27, 6301 BS Valkenburg aan de Geul.
As far as we know this information was accurate when it was published (see years in brackets), but may have changed since then.
Please check rates and details directly with the companies in question if you need more recent info.
Last update:$Date: 2015/08/30 21:57:35 $

History

 
1050start of underground marlstone quarrying.
1797secret chapel founded by Father Widdershoven.
1886end of mining.
1937underground passages redicovered.

Description

The Fluweelengrot (Velvet Cave) is located under the ruins of the Castle of Valkenburg. The marlstone was mined sinc the 11th century to build various buildings in the area, especially the castle itself. They were used for quarrying, but also as secret escape passages, allowing the knights and their warriors to secretly escape from the castle and attack the enemy from behind.

Then in 1797 Father Widdershoven founded a secret chapel deep inside the mine. The reason was Napoleon, who closed down all the churches during the French occupation period. He forced Roman Catholic priests to swear allegiance to France and exiled those who refused. Those who stayed resisted by helding secret masses, and the small chapel, which is part of the tour, is one of those places.

Around 1886 the mining ended, the abanoned quarries were soon forgotten. Rediscovered in 1937 the cave served as a shelter for Jewish people, locals, and American troops the during the German occupation. One of the highlight of the tour is a wall with the names of U.S. soldiers carved into the soft marl. After the end of the war, an artist painted the silhouettes of the soldiers on the cave walls to honor them. Then is was almost forgotten again, until it was reopened some time ago as a tourist destination. The mines are now part of a visit to the castle.

The caves are today more or less a sort of underground fairy land for children. Equipped with scenes from fairy tales, we are not really sure about the age of mural carvings, inscriptions, and exceptional sculptures in the soft marlstone walls. However, it is hard to tell which parts are historic and which are 20th century Disney Land.


See also


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