Discover art, theatre, music and more in Heerlen. The former coal mining town is now a lively urban metropolis filled with modern architecture. Hop between museums and galleries in the city centre or rent a bike and explore the picturesque Dutch countryside on two wheels.
Things to do in Heerlen
Modern and upbeat, the Heerlen city centre is packed with shops, cafes and department stores. Browse independent boutiques and discover popular Dutch brands and designers. Stock up on fresh produce at the twice-weekly market and hunt for treasures at the weekend antique fair.
Modern art and architecture collide at Schunck, one of the top contemporary galleries in the Netherlands. The collection is housed in a striking avant-garde building known as the Glass Palace. It was once a department store but has been reimagined as a unique art space.
Enjoy everything from upbeat musicals to thought-provoking dramas at Theater Heerlen. The theatre occupies a modern building by famous Dutch architect Frits Peutz, who also designed the Glass Palace.
Get your hands dirty at the Dutch Mine Museum. Exhibits spotlight the long history of coal mining in Heerlen and how the industry transformed over the decades. Thermenmuseum recalls the city’s Roman roots. An elevated walkway winds through the museum and gives you a bird’s eye view of the ancient Roman bathhouse uncovered on the site.
Rent a bicycle and explore the rolling green hills, forests and moorlands that surround Heerlen. Stop to admire historic castles, windmills and working farms along the way. The Brunssumerheide loop is beautiful and takes you past pine forests and heather-strewn fields.
Getting around Heerlen
Heerlen is compact and easy to get around on foot. Buses are a fast and affordable way to cover longer distances, or you can take a taxi. Heerlen is in South Limburg, a 2.5-hour drive from Rotterdam and three hours from Amsterdam. Trains run between Amsterdam and Heerlen in around 2.5 hours and Amsterdam Schiphol International Airport is a three-hour drive away.