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Sittard

Sittard
Zitterd
The Markt (market square) of Sittard
The Markt (market square) of Sittard
Flag of Sittard
Flag
Coat of arms of Sittard
Coat of arms
Location of Sittard
Country Netherlands
Province Limburg
COROP South Limburg
Municipality Sittard-Geleen
Population (1 January 2011) 37.730
Major roads N276, N294, N297
Close up of Sittard ancient market square.

Sittard (Dutch pronunciation: ; Limburgish: Zitterd) is a city in the Netherlands, situated in the southernmost province of Limburg.

The town is part of the municipality of Sittard-Geleen and has some 48,400 inhabitants (including those of neighbouring villages Munstergeleen, Limbricht, Einighausen and Guttecoven).

In its east, Sittard borders the German municipality of Selfkant (in the state of North Rhine-Westphalia).

The city centre is located at 45 m above sea level.

Contents

  • History 1
  • Main sights 2
  • Economy 3
  • Education 4
  • Sports 5
  • Well known natives 6
  • Dialect 7
  • Sister city 8
  • Gallery 9

History

Archaeological discoveries have dated the first settlement in the Sittard area around 5000 B.C. Present day Sittard is assumed to have been founded around 850 A.D. and to have been built around a motte. Sittard was first mentioned in 1157. It was granted city rights by the Duke of Limburg in 1243. In 1400 it was sold to the Duchy of Jülich, and remained in its possession until 1794. The city was destroyed and rebuilt repeatedly, due to fires and various conflicts during the 15th-17th century. It was a stronghold until it was largely destroyed in 1677, during the Franco-Dutch War. Under French occupation (1794-1814), Sittard was part of the Roer department. Since 1814, it has been part of the Netherlands, except for the years 1830-1839, when it joined the Belgian Revolution. During the Second World War, it was occupied by the Germans, who incorporated several small municipalities, like Broeksittard, into Sittard. The city was liberated September 18–19, 1944 by the 2nd Armored Division. The historic town was mostly spared destruction, despite lying in the frontline for over four months, in which over 4000 shells and rockets struck the city.

After World War II, Sittard expanded rapidly and many new neighbourhoods were built. The coal mines in the region were the driving force of a booming economy, until closed in the 1960s and 70s. It now has large industrial zones and office premises.

Main sights

Stylish buildings of a street in the ancient city centre.

Sittard has a small historic city centre with numerous architectural monuments, including several old churches (St Peter's, St Michael's, Basilica of Our Lady of the Sacred Heart), monasteries and a few half-timbered houses. The central market square has many restaurants and bars. The city has retained part of its city wall. On the south-eastern side of the city centre, the St Rosa chapel crowns the Kollenberg hill. Museum "Het Domein" is situated in a converted nineteenth century school building in the city centre. It focuses on contemporary art, urban history and archaeology. There is also a Commonwealth War Cemetery, where 239 soldiers of the Commonwealth Nations lie buried. Among them Dennis Donnini, the youngest to have received the Victoria Cross in World War II.

Economy

Sittard houses the SABIC European head office and a large DSM office; both companies having large chemical production facilities in nearby Geleen. The head office of the plant hire company Boels Rental is also located in Sittard.

Education

There are several schools for higher vocational education and training (hbo) in the city, including faculties of the Hogeschool Zuyd and Fontys Hogescholen. Large schools for secondary education in Sittard are 'Trevianum' (havo and vwo) and 'Da Capo' (vmbo).

Sports

Sittard is the home of the professional football club Fortuna Sittard and of the handball club Sittardia.

The biggest Kennedy march of the Netherlands starts and ends in Sittard.

Well known natives

Dialect

The Sittard dialect is a particular variant of Limburgish.

Sister city

Gallery

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