Geulhemmergroeve


Useful Information

Location: Geulhem, Valkenburg aan de Geul.
(50.867050, 5.783518)
Open: Currently closed due to Covid-19.
Groups after appointment.
[2022]
Fee: Groups (-15) EUR 45, Additional Person EUR 3.
[2022]
Classification: SubterraneaRock Mine subterranean limestone quarries.
Light: LightIncandescent Electric Light System
Dimension: L=20 km.
Guided tours:  
Photography: allowed
Accessibility: no
Bibliography:  
Address: Stichting “De Rotswoning”, Geulhemmerweg 30a te Berg en Terblijt, Tel: +31-43-6040834, Tel: +31-43-6041356.
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.

History

17-MAY-1971 Geulhemmer quarry managed by volunteers.
25-NOV-1976 De Rotswoning foundation for the management and maintenance of the Geulhemmer quarry and the nearby rock dwellings established.

Description

The Geulhemmergroeve (Geulhemmer quarry) was a limestone quarry where the Meerssen Limestone in the Maastricht Formation was quarried. Locally it called marl, although it is actually limestone. Quite interesting are the places where the Horizont van Berg en Terblijt can be seen. This is the Cretaceous-Paleogene boundary in South Limburg. It was also the sig to stop quarrying, because the rock above is not suitable as a building material, so block breakers avoided this layer and stayed below it. As a result it forms a thin layer at or below the ceiling. Where it was thicker if fell off the ceiling after the rocks below were removed, becaus it is rather soft and unstable.

The quarry was simply named after the village Geulhem, where it is located. Today the village is a part of Valkenburg aan de Geul. The quarry has about 25 km of tunnels, only a small part is open to the public. During the centuries the vast space was used for various purposes, several times as a shelter. For example during the time of the French Revolution. In November 1794 the French conquered the fortified city of Maastricht and all priests were obliged to take the oath of allegiance to the Republic and the Constitution. Those who refused to take this oath went underground, some like the pastor Joannes Schepers van Berg en Terblijt in this quarry. He held masses in an underground chapel in the qurry, until the French were gone, and he returned to his church.

The Orange Gallery was created in 1907 by the sculptor Lamour and the painter Hartigh. It shows charcoal murals and medallions with portraits of the Oranges, the royal family of the Netherlands. Afterwards the quarries were neglected until local volunteers started to restore it in 1971. In 1976, they founded a non-profit association for the management and maintenance of the Geulhemmer quarry and the nearby rock dwellings which is named De Rotswoning. They manage the site until today.

The quarry is not the only underground site, there are also numerous cave houses along the road, dug into the escarpment. They are called the Rotswoningen van Geulhem (Rock Houses of Geulhem), and there is also a double rock house. Another quarry named Amorgroeve (Amor quarry) is located further north.

The Geulhemmergroeve is open to the public but only around Christmas every year. However, due to Covid-19 it has been closed the last two years [2022]. It's possible to visit the Chapel, the Orange Gallery, the Blockbreaker Museum, the shelter from the French Revolution, and a Fossil Museum.