Thorn - the white town in the heart of Limburg

Thorn, the little white town

The little white town of Thorn is popular among tourists and it has a rich history dating back to the late 10th century. The historic centre of Thorn is a protected heritage area. Sights include the cobbled streets, the beautiful Abbey Church and the Municipal Museum called ‘Het Land van Thorn’, with the Thorn Panorama, a 3D painting of the historic old town. You can also visit the ‘Kapel onder de Linden’ chapel, approximately two kilometres outside of town.  


The history of Thorn

Over the course of time Thorn developed into a miniature convent ruled by an abbess and 20 ladies of noble birth. It had its own jurisdiction and its own currency, but this came to an end in 1794 with the arrival of the French. That’s when Thorn got its distinctive white colour. After the aristocratic ladies had fled, the French imposed a tax based on the size of the windows. The locals were often poor people living in large properties that previously belonged to the rich. To reduce the amount of tax they had to pay, many of them bricked up the windows and then whitewashed their houses to conceal the signs of their renovation work (‘scars of poverty’).


One of the oldest nature-development projects of the Border Meuse (Grensmaas) is the ‘Koningssteen’ close to Thorn. Here, Galloway cattle and Konik horses ensure that hardwood forests, thickets and grasslands continue to grow and evolve side by side.

Guided tours of Thorn

A VVV-authorised guide organises a themed walk on every third Sunday of the month. In addition, groups can pre-arrange guided tours all year round. For more information, contact VVV Thorn. Thorn is also the starting point for various boat trips to explore the splendid Maasplassen network of lakes.