12 Best things to do in Vals (Netherlands)

The small town of Vals in South Limburg is on the map for two important reasons.

The first is Drielandenpunt, three points on the border of the Netherlands, Germany and Belgium.

5 minutes from the city center, it has become a real tourist attraction, with a viewing tower, hedge maze and some places to buy Dutch delicacies such as poffertjes (mini pancakes). Three Points is located on the wooded Vaalserberg mountain, the summit of which is the highest point on the Dutch mainland.

Vals itself is very beautiful, and the wealthy Lutherans who crossed the border from Germany in search of religious freedom in the 17th and 18th centuries shaped the cityscape.

1. Derry Landon Ponter

Delhi Landampong

What really puts Vals on the map are the three points where the borders of the Netherlands, Germany and Belgium meet.

This point is close to the top of Walser Mountain, the only place in the Netherlands where the three countries meet.

Belgium have three more, while Germany have seven threes.

Between 1839 and 1919, there was actually a quadrangle, with the fourth border being the Belgian-Prussian small apartment Neutral Moresnet.

The signpost where the three lines intersect dates from 1926, and there are three other signs nearby, representing Germany, Belgium and the Netherlands.

2. Walserberg

Walserberg

The hill where Three Points is located also happens to be the highest point on the Dutch mainland.

Vaalserberg is 322.4 meters high and is located on the eastern edge of Vijlenerbos, a woodland that we will discuss below.

On the mountain, you can follow hiking trails that disappear into the forest, as well as visit various small attractions in summer, such as a large hedge maze, playground, observation tower (see below) and some restaurants.

3. Wilmingham

William Ming Dynasty

Not far from Drielandenpunt is a watchtower built in June 2011, replacing one that had stood for 65 years but was beginning to show its age.

Before that, there was another wooden tower, which, like its successor, was named Queen Wilhelmina, but was damaged by storms and German artillery fire during World War II.

The latest version is equipped with a lift, is 35 meters high and offers views of the Ardennes and Aachen’s iconic cathedral.

There is also a clear glass platform at the top called the Skywalk, and the terrace below offers dazzling views.

4. Historic Center

von Clermont Pring

It’s no surprise that Tripoint and Vaalserberg have won most of the attention at Vaals, but if you don’t take the time to wander around the old center, which is full of beautiful old buildings, you’re missing out.

We’ll deal with some of them below, but just a few streets are packed with over 70 Dutch heritage sites.

On Von Clermontplein/Julianaplein, where the town hall is located, is a collection of ornate 18th and 19th century stately houses with mansard roofs and whitewashed walls.

Many of them were associated with the Lutheran German fabric maker Johann Arnold von Clermont, who established a manufacturing base in Vals as he could practice freely in the Netherlands his religious beliefs.

There is an eye-catching fountain in the square with 44 nozzles and a pattern of woven cloth.

The local tourist office has planned a walking route for the centre of Vals, marked with a hexagonal sign.

5. Vals Museum

Vals Museum

If you are interested in liturgical art, you will be satisfied with the Vals Town Museum, which displays more than 200 images of the saints.

The location is also impressive, in the De Esch church in the former Camilli Convent.

Before the Camilla family took over in 1897, it was a country estate, a Rococo mansion redesigned in the 1770s by German-Italian architect Josef Moretti.

The house is now a hotel, and the museum opened in the chapel in 2009. The workmanship and diversity of the museum’s collection is astounding, with pieces ranging from 1m to 3.5m, all set against the church’s own frescoes and stained glass windows.

Stop by the café for a coffee and a slice of Limburgse vlaai fruit pie, then stroll through the estate’s gardens, which feature the oldest tree in town.

6. Luthers Kirk

Luther Kirk

Located in Von Clermontplein/Julianaplein and the town hall of Vals is the town’s Lutheran church, built in 1736. The Lutheran Church in Vals was founded in 1669 when the town was occupied by Lutherans from Aachen who were able to practice their religion under the protection of the Dutch state generals.

In the Lutheran style, which emphasizes participation and equality, the church is octagonal and is internally supported by eight tall Doric columns with octagonal bases.

Lutherse Kerk’s last service was in 1955, and since then the building has been the De Kopermolen Cultural Center, arranging concerts, theatrical performances and exhibitions.

7. Whistler Clermont

whith clermont

The magnificent Rococo complex that houses the town hall of Vals was originally Johann Arnold von Clermont’s cloth mill.

It was established in the 1770s and was also designed by Joseph Moretti.

Before the factory closed in the mid-1920s, the complex was a square courtyard containing residences, offices and two wings for a cloth mill and paint shop.

When production ceased, the main factory wing to the north was removed, leaving a U-shape.

The local council moved in after the restoration was completed in 1981. Proceed to the facade of the south wing, where there is an outstanding pediment with the coat of arms of von Clement and his wife Maria Elisabeth Emminghaus.

8. Aachen

Aachen

Cross the German border and in ten minutes you will arrive at Aachen, a city of real historical significance.

Aachen was Charlemagne’s preferred residence and where he died in 814. His remains are in the gleaming Karlsschrein Relic Box at the magnificent and UNESCO-listed Aachen Cathedral, which was built on his orders and is one of the oldest cathedrals in Europe one.

The Palatine Chapel here is the last surviving element of Charlemagne in Aachen and witnessed the coronation of every Holy Roman Emperor until 1531. The cathedral’s treasury houses centuries of priceless treasures, such as the silver-plated bust of Charlemagne, the Lothair cross inlaid with Ottonian jewels, and the Roman marble Proserpina sarcophagus, in which Charlemagne was first interred in the 9th century.

9. Vijlenerbos

villenerbosch

Vals is located at the eastern end of a forest covering a total area of ​​650 hectares.

The area extends westward for about 8 km, from Drielandenpunt to the village of Epen.

Vijlenerbos is worth noting that it is one of the few places in the Netherlands that can claim to have a microclimate, caused by the highlands, similar to the Ardennes not far to the west.

If you feel like taking a walk, you can exercise your calves on these hills, wander among the birch, oak and pine woodlands, and discover Bronze Age cemeteries, three of which are located near Vals.

10. Zuid-Limburgse Stoomtrein Maatschappij

Zuid-Limburgse Stoomtrein Maatschappij

After the passenger railway between the nearby Simpelveld and Kerkrade closed in 1988, a heritage line was established at its location.

Travel 29 kilometers through the green rolling countryside of South Limburg.

You’ll travel in vintage 1930s carriages, while trains are pulled by historic steam and diesel engines, such as the Swedish NOHAB steam locomotive built in the 1910s.

If you are exploring the countryside around Vals by bike, there are special carriages designed for cyclists.

The elegant old station of Simpelveld is also stunning, with restaurants and a museum about the South Limburg Railway.

Outside there are well-preserved steam railway infrastructure such as water towers, turntable pits and locomotive workshops, where you can watch these ancient giants being restored.

The line runs mainly on Wednesdays, Thursdays and Sundays in summer, and on select weekends over Christmas and the rest of the year.

11. Cycling

ride a bicycle

The regional tourist office VVV Zuid Limburg has created a 37.7 km Drie Grenzenroute (three-sided trail) for cyclists that can be done in an afternoon.

Excitingly, over the course of two or three hours you will travel through three different countries.

The ride can be a little strenuous in some places, but your reward will be fresh highland forest and some awesome views.

The trail is on an existing bike network and you will use knooppunten or nodes to get around.

These are signposted intersections, often with useful geographic details.

To make up for some of the climbing, the trail is designed to lead you past bar and café terraces where you can rest and rejuvenate.

12. Wekelijkse Market

Wekelijkse Market

Von Clermontplein/Julianaplein has a market that seems to be bigger than the town of Vals.

The Wekelijkse Markt is open every Tuesday from 08:00 to 13:00 (or 13:30 in summer), attracting shoppers from the Belgian and German borders.

If you’re staying in a vacation rental in Vals, you can buy groceries like fruit, vegetables, cheese, deli, fish, fresh bread, and herbs here.

There is also a local speciality market on the second Sunday of every month in summer if you want to buy some handmade preserves and mustard to take home.

Where to Stay: Best Hotels in Vals, Netherlands
Lowest Price Guarantee