Valkenburg, at the road to Sibbe.
All year daily, after appointment only.
Various different tours and activities.
Cavebiking: Adults EUR 30.
|Classification:||Rock Mine subterranean limestone quarries.|
|Dimension:||L=90,000 m, T=12 °C.|
|Guided tours:||D=90 min.|
|Address:||Sibbergroeve, ASPAdventure, Oud Valkenburg 2a, 6305 AB Shin op Geul, Tel: +31-43-60-40675, Fax: +31-43-6041165. E-mail:|
|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.
|1850||"new mountain" opened.|
|1937-1963||mined for lime production.|
|2019||quarry is operated by two construction and restoration companies that specialize in the extraction and processing of marlstone.|
The Sibbergroeve is named after the small village Sibbe. This underground limestone quarries are located at the road from Valkenburg to Sibbe. They are also the biggest labyrinth of passages in the area with a total length of 90 kilometres.
Unlike the other tourist sites at Valkenburg, this one is not an electrically lit tourist site. Also, it is not simply a quarry which was developed into something else, like a museum, aquarium or whatever. It is a system of almost unaltered caverns which are used for various underground adventures, extreme sports, and other activities. The main adventure is obviously the cave biking. It is available as a comfortable biking sightseeing tour, and as a sportive event, in combination with climbing or with caveing. Other activities are quad tours, cave trekking, and more. Actually there is also one tour which is called cultural cave tour, which is more or less a normal walking tour through the caves. The company had a new entrance constructed at Daelhemerweg, a 40 m deep spiral staircase.
The quarries where also called Sibberberg or short de Berg, which means the mountain. The quarries were started in the Middle Ages, initially intended for local use only. They nevertheless reached a size of 30 km by the mid 19th century. Around 1850 a new quarry was opened, and logically the old was now called old mountain and the new nieuwe berg (new mountain). The main difference was a new entrance at the Bergstraat-Lokerstraat junction, which is still in use today. It is a long ramp which allowed the easy use of cart for transport, later small trucks. The Sibbersteen, locally Suubersjtein, (limestone from Sibbe) was used for numerous construction projects throughout Limburg during the 19th and 20th century. This new section today has a length of 60 km.
And the new part is actually in operation again. Two companies are currently quarrying the limestone, both with about 15 employees. The reason is simple, there are so many historic buildings built of this rock, which are now Historic Monuments and for the restoration the original stone must be used. Those companies are not mining companies, they are specialized on the restoration of historic buildings. Nevertheless, a small amount of the rock is also used for new buildings. This is the only limestone quarry in the Netherlands which is still in operation.
During the times the quarry was also used for other purposes. From 1937 to 1963, limestone from the Sibbe quarry was used to produce lime, remains of the lime kilns still exist. Some sections were used as cellars, to store agricultural products such as potatoes and beets. It was also used for the cultivation of mushrooms, chicory and salsify. Like other quarries in the area, it was also used as a shelter during times of danger. After Napoleon had conquered the Netherlands the area was French from 1794 to 1814. At some point the French requested all priest to make a vow on the French Republic, which many refused. The oath was dubbed oath of hatred or oath of loathing. Those priests were persecuted and so many went into hiding in the quarries. From this time is the Ondergrondse kapel (underground chapel) with an altar and some murals. The priests even held mass underground in the quarries. The murals are newer though, the charcoal drawings are from the German artist Joseph Lücker (1865) and by schoolmaster J. Habets (around 1900).