Hotel Derlon Basement Museum

Lots of Roman remains have been discovered on and around Onze Lieve Vrouweplein. These artefacts are kept in Hotel Derlon's basement museum, and can be viewed by arrangement with the hotel staff.

  • In the 1980s, Hotel Mauel was demolished to make way for the present-day Hotel Derlon. Before construction work got underway, a major archaeological survey was carried out. A six-metre-deep trench was dug out, revealing traces from the first century BC to the fourteenth century.

    In the deepest layers, relics from the Roman period were exposed. These have been conserved in an archaeological crypt beneath Hotel Derlon. The revealing finds are in display cabinets, with panels providing background information. The basement museum can be visited free of charge on Sunday afternoons, by arrangement with the hotel staff.

    Derlon Actueel
  • Just beneath the oldest Roman layer, a road was found, paved with stones from the Meuse. This has been conserved in the centre of the crypt. Here too are the remains of a shrine with a Roman column dedicated to the gods and dating from the third and fourth centuries. This shrine must have stood along the Via Belgica. There was also a marlstone well on this road, at which people and animals could drink. After the shrine and well were destroyed in the second half of the third century, in 333 the Romans built a castellum, or fort, here. In the last phase of the Roman empire, Maastricht became a stronghold.

    The fort has been dated using tree ring analysis of the oak posts used for the foundations of the fortification by the Meuse. Apparently, the oak trees were felled in the spring of 333, and were probably used straight away to build the wall. Part of the western entrance gate and the fortification are preserved in the basement museum.

    Westelijke castellumpoort
  • More underground remains of Roman buildings have been discovered around Hotel Derlon. Beneath Onze Lieve Vrouwe Basiliek (Basilica of Our Lady), for instance, part of a shrine was unearthed, along with its temple, and the remains of a round fortified tower were found in the church cloister.

    On Havenstraat, a section of the fortified wall has been conserved in the basement of a shop. On Houtmaas, beneath a thick layer of fine sand, are the remains of a fortified tower. Beneath the present-day Stokstraat quarter are the remains of the shrine and the fortification, as well as remnants of Roman baths and a grain store.

Fun fact

None of the structures that currently sit above ground date back earlier than the year 1000. The oldest building above the ground is the westwork of the Basilica of Our Lady.

  • The old cobblestone road conserved below Hotel Derlon is probably the oldest road in the Netherlands. Judging by its different course, however, it does not pre-date Via Belgica. It is possible that this road led to a Celtic shrine, at the confluence of the Meuse and Jeker. Beneath the Basilica of Our Lady, it is thought that there was not only the first cathedral and a Roman temple, but also a Celtic place of worship.

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