Kerkrade begins as 'Land van Rode'
From 1100 to 1815, present-day Herzogenrath, Kerkrade, and the surrounding area were known as the ‘Land van Rode’ (Land of Rode) or ‘Land van 's-Hertogenrade’. In this Land van Rode, ‘Hertogenrode’ was the governing and administrative centre. The Count of Saffenberg ruled the area from Castle Rode. ‘Kloosterrode’ (Cloister Rode) was home to the monastery of the Land van Rode, now called Rolduc Abbey. ‘Kerkrode’ (Church Rode) was home to the parish church and was where most people lived. After Napoleon lost the Battle of Waterloo, the borders of European countries were redrawn in 1815. This was done arbitrarily. Rolduc Abbey ended up on Dutch soil and Castle Rode on Prussian soil. After seven centuries of unity, a boundary line was drawn straight through the Land van Rode. On the two sides of the border, Kerkrade and Herzogenrath grew to become two distinct cities. Today, they work together under the name ‘Eurode’.
Kerkrade was the oldest mining city in the Netherlands. Coal had been mined here since the Middle Ages. Rolduc Abbey became the centre of coal mining. During the industrial revolution, the mining companies developed at a rapid pace throughout the mining region. The 1960s brought an end to coal mining. Almost all the mine buildings were demolished. Schacht Nulland - the Nulland mine shaft - in Kerkrade is one of just a few remnants of that era. This protected building is an air shaft, part of the former Domaniale mine - the oldest coal mine in the Netherlands. The World Music Contest (WMC), which is held in the city once every four years, is one of the traditions that arose from Kerkrade's mining past. The statue of a miner - ‘d’r Joep’ on the Markt (market square) and the miners’ colony Hopel symbolize this important part of Kerkrade's history.