Roermond is situated in the middle of the province of Limburg bordered by the Maas River to the west and Germany to the east. The municipality has a population of about 57,200 (2016). Roermond is also the seat of a Roman-Catholic diocese.
Where before Celtic inhabitants of this region used to live on both sides of the Roer river, invading Romans built a bridge and founded the first town at Roermond, now a suburb called Voorstad Sint Jacob. Around 1180–1543, Roermond belonged to the duchy of Guelders. Around 1350, Roermond became the capital of the 'Upper Quarter of Gelre'. In 1441, Roermond became a member of the Hanseatic League, and by 1472 acquired the right to mint its own coins. Between 1543–1702 the area was part of the Spanish Netherlands. Under Spanish rule Roermond became a bastion of the Counter-Reformation. Between 1632 and 1637, Roermond was under the control of the Dutch Republic, and again from 1702 to 1716. Between 1716 and 1794, it was part of the Austrian Netherlands within the Habsburg Monarchy. During the French Revolutionary Wars, Roermond was first briefly under French control in 1792/1793, and after a renewed occupation in 1794 became part of the French département Meuse-Inférieure (capital at Maastricht) from 1795 to 1814. In 1814, during the War of the Sixth Coalition Roermond was liberated by the Russians. After the Anglo-Dutch Treaty of 1814 Roermond became part of the new Kingdom of the Netherlands. When the Netherlands and Belgium separated in 1830, there was support for adding Limburg to Belgium, but in the end (1839) the province was divided in two, with the eastern part (with Roermond) going to the Netherlands and the western part to Belgium. Between 1940 and 1945, during World War II, the Germans occupied Roermond. By the time of liberation on 1 March 1945, 90% of all buildings were either damaged or destroyed. Restoration gave back the old city center its full glory.
Onze Lieve Vrouwe in 't Zand (Our Lady in the Sand) [left, no. 3215]
is a popular Catholic grace image in the city of Roermond. It is preserved in the Chapel in 't Zand in the south
of Roermond. The image is first mentioned in 1578 in the Chronicles of the city of Roermond, which ran from 1562 to
1638. The statue comes from a studio in Mechelen and was made shortly after 1500. It was originally polychromated.
The base, which represents clouds, was made in 1866. Until 1866, the statue was customarily dressed and decorated.
the Chapel in 't Zand was built in 1418. During the siege of Roermond, in 1578, the chapel was destroyed by
Spanish troops, and the grace image was moved to the former Saint Christopher church in Roermond until 1610,
when the chapel had been rebuilt. In 1945, when Roermond was evacuated by the Germans, the image was taken to
Leeuwarden, where it was kept in the Saint Bonifatius church until it was returned to the chapel in 't Zand
a few months later. Roermond evacués donated a copy of the image to the Leeuwarders in 1947.