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I love unique places to stay. After coming across Abdij Rolduc (Abbey Rolduc), I knew that I wanted to surprise my husband and my in-laws with a stay at this impressive abbey, which is the largest abbey in the Benelux region. I’ll include a bit of history about this historic abbey in the south of the Netherlands [close to Aachen], a few tips, how to get to Abdij Rolduc, and what it was like to stay at Abdij Rolduc.
History of Abdij Rolduc
Abdij Rolduc dates back to 1104 when the abbey was founded when a Dutch clergyman (Ailbertus of Antoing) and his brothers left Tournai, a well-known monastery. They ended up in modern-day Limburg (a Southern province of the Netherlands) and decided to start a church in 1106. What is now the crypt of the church can be still visited today and you can spy the (possible) remains of Ailbertus within the sarcophagus. The church surrounding it has been renewed a number of times.
Later on, the church was built upon and many of the canons became pastors in the surrounding areas. The abbey was not afraid to show its political influence and one of the abbots even convinced Limburg to join the United Dutch States.
The abbot was abolished by the French and the building was briefly abandoned prior to being turned into a property used for coal mining. Starting in the 1800s, the abbey was turned into a Catholic boarding school. Finally, in the post-war period, the abbey was used by monks as a seminary. In recent years, parts of the abbey have been turned into a hotel, where you can stay overnight!
What it’s like to stay at Abdij Rolduc
The typical room at Abdij Rolduc is pretty basic (unless you spring for a deluxe room or extras). Our room was the basic room. It had two single beds with a sink. We had to share a clean bathroom and shower with the rest of the hallway, but it wasn’t an issue as it seemed that we were the only ones there. I paid about 63 euros for my room, which fit two people.
The view from the window was absolutely stunning. I visited with my parents-in-law who also would get up in the middle of the night prior to pausing to enjoy the view from the window of the abbey courtyard (seen above!)
One of the highlights of staying at Abdij Rolduc was definitely the buffet breakfast that came included in the price. It was a proper breakfast, including eggs, poffertjes, fruit, cereal, meats, yogurts, and very drinks. We all left quite full prior to wandering the grounds.
Tips for visiting Abdij Rolduc
Be sure to arrive early to enjoy the abbey and consider getting up early to explore the grounds. Don’t miss the Rococo library and the chapel! You can follow the map to find these rooms. The Rococo library is hidden behind a door and can be viewed through a glass panel. The chapel itself is incredibly impressive and I can honestly say that I spent about thirty minutes just admiring the interior.
If you’ll be visiting on a Sunday, consider taking a tour of the abbey for a couple of euros. We stayed on a different day, but I would have loved to see more of the grounds as well as step into the Rococo library.
Consider adding a bit of the abbey beer or wine onto your hotel bill if you arrive too late to enjoy the bar/dining room! I purchased the beer special, which included a special keepsake crate along with five bottles. The beer is not produced by monks, but it’s delicious. I didn’t try the wine, but I was also tempted by it!
How to get to Abdij Rolduc
Abdij Rolduc is very close to Aachen. I ended up staying here as you’ll have free parking at the abbey and it’s only twenty minutes to Aachen. The best equivalent in Aachen was considerably more and didn’t include breakfast! It’s also not so far from Valkenburg or Maastricht.
If you’re coming by public transit, you can take a train from Aachen towards Dortmund. Get off at Herzogenrath bf and walk about twenty minutes. The total trip is about forty minutes. It’s also possible to take a bus from Heerlen if you’re coming from within the Netherlands.