The province of Limburg is adjacent to the Dutch provinces of North Brabant and Gelderland to the north, Germany to the East, and the Belgian provinces of Liège and Limburg to the south and west.
It has a surface area of 2.153 km², a population of 1,132,000 inhabitants. The province only joined the Kingdom of the Netherlands in 1839. Prior to that, most of it briefly belonged to Belgium.
In ancient times, what is now the province of Limburg was settled by Celto-Germanic tribes, like the fearsome Eburones, the only tribe that managed to inflict a serious defeat to Julius Caesar.
The Romans founded two major fortified towns in Limburg, Mosa Trajectum (Maastricht) and Coriovallum (Heerlen). In the 4th century, Maastricht became the seat of the first bishopric in the Low Countries, which was transferred to nearby Liège in the 7th century. The region was heavily settled by the Franks from the late Roman Empire.
In Medieval times, Maastricht was part of the Duchy of Limburg (with capital the small town of Limbourg in Belgium), but most of the rest of the province was shared by the Prince-Bishopric of Liège (e.g. the County of Hoorn), the Duchy of Gelders, and the Duchy of Jülich.
The territory of the present province was annexed to France with all of modern Belgium in 1792. The French created the province of Lower Meuse, roughly equal to the modern province. In 1815, it was incorporated to the United Kingdom of the Netherlands. Upon the split of Belgium in 1830, the south of Dutch Limburg sided with Belgium, but was finally traded against Antwerp in 1839.
City of the famous treaty creating the European Union, Maastricht is perhaps the second most attractive Dutch city after Amsterdam, though the two share little in common.