History of the Euregio Meuse-Rhine

History of the Euregio Meuse-Rhine

The history of Euregio Meuse-Rhine is as fascinating as it is complex. There were tribal and ancient, face-painted Picts, Roman conquerors and audacious red-headed Vikings, fallen monarchs and powerful warrior-royals, noble clansmen, great explorers, pensive philosophers, bright inventors, and all that came with them and the remnants they left behind including astonishing signs of their presence and sophistication. Think ancient and mysterious standing stones, fine castles and lavish stately homes, striking architecture, derelict fortresses, world-famous feats of engineering and more! From the buregio Meuse-Rhineorders, fierce battles, cruel ridings and bloody risings were won and lost, lasting unions were forged, and new discoveries and world-changing inventions were made.

The list could go on as the history stretches back thousands of years. Relive the past and witness the wondrous monuments that today proudly tell their stories. People move through space in many different ways.

A Brief Timeline of History

  • 4000 BC
    During the long prehistory an history of the Euregio Meuse-Rhine different kinds of mobility existed.

    Around the time before Jesus was born the Romans founded a village around the thermal hot water sources of Aachen / Aix-la-Chapelle. The village grew and was called Aqua Granni and became a well-known spa town.

  • 700 AD
    Iron Age heralds better weapons and tools, more organised communities and trade. 

  • 800 AD
    It were the thermal water sources that brought Charlemagne / Carolus Magnus to Aachen / Aix-la-Chapelle. For a long time he led his great empire, which covered large parts of the European continent as a traveling king, because he had no fixed seat, but traveled with his retinue from palt to paltson. But even then, especially in winter he always found his way to Aachen / Aix-la-Chapelle, where he found warmth and relaxation in the thermal water sources; heated by the Eifel volcanoes. He was of great significance to Aachen and Europe.

    Charlemagne’s preference not only made Aachen the most important center of power in Europe, but also experienced its cultural flourishing evidence of which can still be found today. For example, the octagonal and sixteen-sided central building of the Maria church, which the catholic King had built at his palace is now part of the world-famous Aachen Cathedral.

    In 1978 the imposing building, one of the best preserved monuments from the Carolingian period, together with the impressive cathedral treasures was the first German monument to be included on the Unesco World Heritage List.

    During Christmas 800, Charlemagne was crowned emperor in Rome.

    Charlemagne is the mythical predecessor of Europe and paterfamilias of two nations: France and Germany.

    In january 28, 814 the Maria church also became the tomb of Charlemagne.

  • 1200 to 1600 AD
    In 1572: Aachen / Aix-la-Chapelle; the imperial city has grown considerably. The city’s basic outline is defined by two circular city walls, they are still be recognised on maps of Aachen today.

    Between 900 and 1500, 30 kings and 12 queens were crowned at St Mary’s church in Aachen / Aix-la-Chapelle and as part of the coronation the kings and queens were to sit on Carolus Magnus / Charlemagne’s throne.
    The main reason why coronations were held at Aachen / Aix-la-Chapelle is the memory of Charlemagne, whose tomb and throne can be found at St Mary’s Church.

  • 1600 to 1700 AD
    The great fire in 1656 was one of the biggest disasters in the history of the city. Nine tenth of all buildings were gone through the fire and medieval Aachen was completly destroyed. At the same time, the fire marked the beginning of the baroque spa city of Aachen.

    During the 17th century, spa physician François Blondel from Liège / Lüttich began to practice in Aachen / Aix-la-Chapelle, marking the beginning of a golden age of spa culture. From all over Europe illustrious people came to Aachen / Aix-la-Chapelle seeking for relief of their ailments. The thermal water was used for showering and steam treatments, but patients would also drink the curative thermal water from a fountain.

  • 1700 to 1900 AD
    In 1794, the Rhineland became French territory and in 1804 Napoleon paid a visit to Aachen and presented himself as Charlemagne’s successor in front of the throne at St Mary’s Church. “Je suis Charlemagne – I am Charlemagne”, said Napoleon.

    During Napoleon occupied the Rhineland he demanded that detailed maps were to be made of his newly acquired possessions. The man chosen for the job was Jean Joseph Tranchot, a French army officer who was a distinguished cartographer.

    On 2 April 1814, after French had withdrawn from the Rhineland, the obelisk was looted by Prussian soldiers from the valuables hidden in the foundation of the obelisk. Following this act, Major-general von Müffling immediately ordered to reconstruct faithfully the obelisk with the texts that had been inscribed. But the text about the greatness and tyranny of Napoleon was changed.

    Today the monument stands as a memory for the cartographers and of their remarkable accomplishments.

  • 2000 to 2100 AD
    Since 1950, the Charlemagne Prize for achievments to Europe has been awarded every year in the “Coronation Hall” of the Aachen / Aix-la-Chapelle town hall. It has transformed post-war Aachen / Aix-la-Chapelle into a European city of long-standing history.