Aachen known as Bad Aachen, in French and traditional English as Aix-la-Chapelle, is a spa and border city in North Rhine-Westphalia, Germany. Aachen developed from a Roman settlement and spa, subsequently becoming the preferred medieval Imperial residence of Charlemagne, from 936 to 1531, the place where 31 Holy Roman Emperors were crowned Kings of the Germans. Aachen is the westernmost city in Germany, located near the borders with Belgium and the Netherlands, 61 km west south west of Cologne in a former coal-mining area. One of Germany's leading institutes of higher education in technology, the RWTH Aachen University is located in the city. Aachen's industries include science and information technology. In 2009, Aachen was ranked eighth among cities in Germany for innovation; the name Aachen is a modern descendant, like southern German Ach, German: Aach, meaning "river" or "stream", from Old High German ahha, meaning "water" or "stream", which directly translates Latin Aquae, referring to the springs.
The location has been inhabited by humans since the Neolithic era, about 5,000 years ago, attracted to its warm mineral springs. Latin Aquae figures in Aachen's Roman name Aquae granni, which meant "waters of Grannus", referring to the Celtic god of healing, worshipped at the springs; this word became Åxhe in Walloon and Aix in French, subsequently Aix-la-Chapelle after Charlemagne had his palatine chapel built there in the late 8th century and made the city his empire's capital. Aachen's name in French and German evolved in parallel; the city is known by a variety of different names in other languages: Aachen is at the western end of the Benrath line that divides High German to the south from the rest of the West Germanic speech area to the north. Aachen's local dialect belongs to the Ripuarian language. Flint quarries on the Lousberg, Königshügel, first used during Neolithic times, attest to the long occupation of the site of Aachen, as do recent finds under the modern city's Elisengarten pointing to a former settlement from the same period.
Bronze Age settlement is evidenced by the remains of barrows found, on the Klausberg. During the Iron Age, the area was settled by Celtic peoples who were drawn by the marshy Aachen basin's hot sulphur springs where they worshipped Grannus, god of light and healing; the 25-hectare Roman spa resort town of Aquae Granni was, according to legend, founded by Grenus, under Hadrian, around 124 AD. Instead, the fictitious founder refers to the Celtic god, it seems it was the Roman 6th Legion at the start of the 1st century AD that first channelled the hot springs into a spa at Büchel, adding at the end of the same century the Münstertherme spa, two water pipelines, a probable sanctuary dedicated to Grannus. A kind of forum, surrounded by colonnades, connected the two spa complexes. There was an extensive residential area, part of it inhabited by a flourishing Jewish community; the Romans built bathhouses near Burtscheid. A temple precinct called. Today, remains have been found of three bathhouses, including two fountains in the Elisenbrunnen and the Burtscheid bathhouse.
Roman civil administration in Aachen broke down between the end of the 4th and beginning of the 5th centuries. Rome withdrew its troops from the area. By 470, the town came to be ruled by the Ripuarian Franks and subordinated to their capital, Cologne. After Roman times, Pepin the Short had a castle residence built in the town, due to the proximity of the hot springs and for strategic reasons as it is located between the Rhineland and northern France. Einhard mentions that in 765–6 Pepin spent both Christmas and Easter at Aquis villa, which must have been sufficiently equipped to support the royal household for several months. In the year of his coronation as king of the Franks, 768, Charlemagne came to spend Christmas at Aachen for the first time, he remained there in a mansion which he may have extended, although there is no source attesting to any significant building activity at Aachen in his time, apart from the building of the Palatine Chapel and the Palace. Charlemagne spent most winters in Aachen between 792 and his death in 814.
Aachen became the political centre of his empire. After his death, the king was buried in the church. In 936, Otto I was crowned king of East Francia in the collegiate church built by Charlemagne. During the reign of Otto II, the nobles revolted and the West Franks, under Lothair, raided Aachen in the ensuing confusion. Aachen was attacked again by Odo of Champagne, who attacked the imperial palace while Conrad II was absent. Odo relinquished it and was killed soon afterwards; the palace and town of Aachen had fortifying walls built by order of Emperor Frederick Barbarossa between 1172 and 1176. Over the next 500 years, most kings of Germany destined to reign over the Holy Roman Empire were crowned in Aachen; the original audience hall built by Charlemagne was torn down and replaced by the current city hall in 1330. The last king to be crowned here was Ferdinand I in 1531. During the Middle Ages, Aachen remained a city o
The Netherlands is a country located in Northwestern Europe. The European portion of the Netherlands consists of twelve separate provinces that border Germany to the east, Belgium to the south, the North Sea to the northwest, with maritime borders in the North Sea with Belgium and the United Kingdom. Together with three island territories in the Caribbean Sea—Bonaire, Sint Eustatius and Saba— it forms a constituent country of the Kingdom of the Netherlands; the official language is Dutch, but a secondary official language in the province of Friesland is West Frisian. The six largest cities in the Netherlands are Amsterdam, The Hague, Utrecht and Tilburg. Amsterdam is the country's capital, while The Hague holds the seat of the States General and Supreme Court; the Port of Rotterdam is the largest port in Europe, the largest in any country outside Asia. The country is a founding member of the EU, Eurozone, G10, NATO, OECD and WTO, as well as a part of the Schengen Area and the trilateral Benelux Union.
It hosts several intergovernmental organisations and international courts, many of which are centered in The Hague, dubbed'the world's legal capital'. Netherlands means'lower countries' in reference to its low elevation and flat topography, with only about 50% of its land exceeding 1 metre above sea level, nearly 17% falling below sea level. Most of the areas below sea level, known as polders, are the result of land reclamation that began in the 16th century. With a population of 17.30 million people, all living within a total area of 41,500 square kilometres —of which the land area is 33,700 square kilometres —the Netherlands is one of the most densely populated countries in the world. It is the world's second-largest exporter of food and agricultural products, owing to its fertile soil, mild climate, intensive agriculture; the Netherlands was the third country in the world to have representative government, it has been a parliamentary constitutional monarchy with a unitary structure since 1848.
The country has a tradition of pillarisation and a long record of social tolerance, having legalised abortion and human euthanasia, along with maintaining a progressive drug policy. The Netherlands abolished the death penalty in 1870, allowed women's suffrage in 1917, became the world's first country to legalise same-sex marriage in 2001, its mixed-market advanced economy had the thirteenth-highest per capita income globally. The Netherlands ranks among the highest in international indexes of press freedom, economic freedom, human development, quality of life, as well as happiness; the Netherlands' turbulent history and shifts of power resulted in exceptionally many and varying names in different languages. There is diversity within languages; this holds for English, where Dutch is the adjective form and the misnomer Holland a synonym for the country "Netherlands". Dutch comes from Theodiscus and in the past centuries, the hub of Dutch culture is found in its most populous region, home to the capital city of Amsterdam.
Referring to the Netherlands as Holland in the English language is similar to calling the United Kingdom "Britain" by people outside the UK. The term is so pervasive among potential investors and tourists, that the Dutch government's international websites for tourism and trade are "holland.com" and "hollandtradeandinvest.com". The region of Holland consists of North and South Holland, two of the nation's twelve provinces a single province, earlier still, the County of Holland, a remnant of the dissolved Frisian Kingdom. Following the decline of the Duchy of Brabant and the County of Flanders, Holland became the most economically and politically important county in the Low Countries region; the emphasis on Holland during the formation of the Dutch Republic, the Eighty Years' War and the Anglo-Dutch Wars in the 16th, 17th and 18th century, made Holland serve as a pars pro toto for the entire country, now considered either incorrect, informal, or, depending on context, opprobrious. Nonetheless, Holland is used in reference to the Netherlands national football team.
The region called the Low Countries and the Country of the Netherlands. Place names with Neder, Nieder and Nedre and Bas or Inferior are in use in places all over Europe, they are sometimes used in a deictic relation to a higher ground that consecutively is indicated as Upper, Oben, Superior or Haut. In the case of the Low Countries / Netherlands the geographical location of the lower region has been more or less downstream and near the sea; the geographical location of the upper region, changed tremendously over time, depending on the location of the economic and military power governing the Low Countries area. The Romans made a distinction between the Roman provinces of downstream Germania Inferior and upstream Germania Superior; the designation'Low' to refer to the region returns again in the 10th century Duchy of Lower Lorraine, that covered much of the Low Countries. But this time the corresponding Upper region is Upper Lorraine, in nowadays Northern France; the Dukes of Burgundy, who ruled the Low Countries in the 15th century, used the term les pays de par deçà for the Low Countries as opposed to les pays de par delà for their original
Mount Saint Peter
Mount Saint Peter referred to as Caestert Plateau, is the northern part of a plateau running north to south between the valleys of the river Geer to the west, the Meuse to the east. It runs from Maastricht in the Netherlands, through Riemst in Belgian Limburg to the city of Liège in Belgium, thus defining the topography of this border area between Flanders and the Netherlands; the name of the hill, as well as the nearby village and church of Sint Pieter and the fortress of Sint Pieter, refers to Saint Peter, one of the Twelve Apostles. The plateau, of which Mount Saint Peter is part, is bounded on the east by the Meuse river and on the west by the Geer. Since the 1930s, the Albert Canal divides the hill in two sections. Near the small Liège province village of Lanaye the canal cuts through the ridge over a length of 1,300 metres and 65 metres deep; the Lanaye locks at the eastern end of the cut permit boats to pass from the upper Meuse and the Albert Canal to the lower Meuse and Rhine basin.
To the east of these locks the Meuse has altered its course, creating old channels. Mount Saint Peter's limestone composition, its deposits of flint nodules and its geographic position make it a remarkable place; the locale has been mined for flint from Neolithic times. The network of mining tunnels extended 200 kilometres by the 19th century but was shortened in the 20th century by surface mining; these days Mount Saint Peter is considered an important nature reserve, as well as an area for recreation and tourism. In the part of Mount Saint Peter, in the Flemish municipality of Riemst, archaeological evidence of an Iron Age fortress has been found; the fortress is one of the strongest contenders for being identified as the fortress Atuatuca of the Eburones, which played an important role in Julius Caesar's commentaries on his wars in Gaul. Dendrochronological evidence was once thought to count against this proposal, but more recent review of the evidence has reinvigorated the idea. During the Middle Ages several castles were built on the hill.
The hill was favoured by attackers during the various sieges of Maastricht, most notably by Louis XIV of France in the Siege of Maastricht. As a result of this, the fortress Sint-Pieter was built on the northern edge. Around 1765 the skull of a Mosasaurus was discovered here in a limestone quarry, one of the first recognised reptile fossils, acquired by the Teylers Museum in Haarlem. A more famous Mosasaurus fossil was found between 1770 and 1774 but was confiscated by the French in 1794 and is now in the Muséum national d'Histoire naturelle in Paris. Dinosaur remains were discovered here as well, belonging to Betasuchus and Orthomerus, as well as turtles and fossils of smaller creatures of the sea. From 1930 through 1939 the Albert Canal was constructed; the first ships went through in 1940. The hill's strategic location made it the site of Fort Eben-Emael, a major artillery defence point in the Belgian defences against any invading forces coming from Nazi Germany. At the opening of the war, the entire installation was taken by a small number of German paratroopers.
At Mount Saint Peter the rivers Geer and Meuse have cut into the limestone plateau known in the east as the Herve plateau and in the west as Hesbaye. The succeeding geologic layers include loess, quartz sand and chalky limestone of the Maastricht Formation with inclusions of flint; the chalk deposits contain numerous fossils of sea urchins and belemnites. Humans have used the site since the lower Paleolithic period; the area around Spiennes is known for its flint mines. Limestone has been quarried in the area for building fertilizer for many centuries. Several of Maastricht's medieval churches were built from local stone, incorrectly referred to as mergel; the quarrying of limestone has created a vast network of subterranean corridors incorrectly referred to as grotten. Although vast sections of these "caves" have now disappeared through surface mining, other sections are well-preserved. Guided tours of these limestone quarries, some with ancient inscriptions and other works of art, constitute one of Maastricht's main tourist attractions.
In modern times limestone from Mount Saint Peter continues to be quarried in surface mines for portland cement production. Abandoned quarries in the Belgian part of the hill are used to dispose of ashes from municipal waste incinerators. A large quarry and cement factory operated by ENCI exists since 1921 in the Dutch part of the hill; the quarrying of limestone in a protected nature area was controversial for many years but for economic reasons ENCI was able to extract most of the mount's limestone, creating a vast area of connected quarries. In 2010 it was decided. Various plans for redevelopment of both the quarry and the factory site have been presented in recent years. Parts of the quarry that were abandoned years ago have been taken over by nature once again. Mount Saint Peter is a Natura 2000 protection area; because of its limestone soil, the hill is exceptional in its botanical variety. It is the northern limit for a number of species of orchids due to its favorable microclimate; some of the orchids found there include: Aceras anthropophorum, Ophrys apifera, Ophrys insectifera, Orchis militaris, Orchis purpurea and Platanthera bifolia.
An abandoned part of the ENCI quarry has become in recent years the breeding ground of the Eurasian eagle-owl, locally known as oehoe. Mount Saint Peter supports the richest environment for b
The Scheldt is a 350-kilometre long river in northern France, western Belgium, the southwestern part of the Netherlands. Its name is derived from an adjective corresponding to Old English sceald, Modern English shoal, Low German schol, West Frisian skol, Swedish skäll; the headwaters of the Scheldt are in the Aisne department of northern France. It flows north through Cambrai and Valenciennes, enters Belgium near Tournai. In Ghent, where it receives the Lys, one of its main tributaries, the Scheldt turns east. Near Antwerp, the largest city on its banks, the Scheldt flows west into the Netherlands towards the North Sea. There were two branches from that point: the Oosterschelde. In the 19th century, the river was cut off from its eastern branch by a dyke that connects Zuid-Beveland with the mainland. Today the river therefore continues into the Westerschelde estuary only, passing Terneuzen to reach the North Sea between Breskens in Zeelandic Flanders and Vlissingen on Walcheren; the Scheldt is an important waterway, has been made navigable from its mouth up to Cambrai.
Above Cambrai, the Canal de Saint-Quentin follows its course. The port of Antwerp, the second largest in Europe, lies on its banks. Several canals connect the Scheldt with the basins of the Rhine and Seine, with the industrial areas around Brussels, Liège, Lille and Mons; the Scheldt flows through the following departments of France, provinces of Belgium, provinces of the Netherlands, towns: Aisne: Gouy Nord: Cambrai, Valenciennes Hainaut: Tournai West Flanders: Avelgem East Flanders: Oudenaarde, Dendermonde, Temse Antwerp: Antwerp Zeeland: Hulst, Sluis, Vlissingen The Scheldt estuary has always had considerable commercial and strategic importance. In Roman times, it was important for the shipping lanes to Roman Britain. Nehalennia was venerated at its mouth; the Franks took control over the region about the year 260 and at first interfered with the Roman supply routes as pirates. They became allies of the Romans. With the various divisions of the Frankish Empire in the 9th century, the Scheldt became the border between the Western and Eastern parts of the Empire, which became France and the Holy Roman Empire.
This status quo remained intact—at least on paper—until 1528, although by both the County of Flanders on the western bank and Zeeland and the Duchy of Brabant on the east were part of the Habsburg possessions of the Seventeen Provinces. Antwerp was the most prominent harbour in Western Europe. After this city fell back under Spanish control in 1585, the Dutch Republic took control of Zeelandic Flanders, a strip of land on the left bank, closed the Scheldt for shipping; this shifted the trade to the ports of Amsterdam and Middelburg and crippled Antwerp—an important and traumatic element in the history of relations between the Netherlands and what was to become Belgium. Access to the river was the subject of the brief Kettle War of 1784, and—in the French Revolutionary era shortly afterwards—the river was reopened in 1792. Once Belgium had claimed its independence from the Netherlands in 1830, the treaty of the Scheldt determined that the river should remain accessible to ships heading for Belgian ports.
The Dutch government would demand a toll from passing vessels until 16 July 1863. The Question of the Scheldt, a study providing "a history of the international legal arrangements governing the Western Scheldt", was prepared for the use of British negotiators at the Treaty of Versailles in 1919. In the Second World War, the Scheldt estuary once again became a contested area. Despite Allied control of Antwerp, in September 1944 German forces still occupied fortified positions throughout the Scheldt estuary west and north, preventing any Allied shipping from reaching the port. In the Battle of the Scheldt, the Canadian First Army cleared the area, allowing supply convoys direct access to the port of Antwerp by November 1944. Western Scheldt or Honte Schijn Rupel Nete Kleine Nete Aa Wamp Grote Nete Wimp Molse Nete Laak Dijle Zenne Maalbeek Woluwe Maalbeek Molenbeek Neerpedebeek Zuun Geleytsbeek Linkebeek Molenbeek Senette Hain Samme Thines Vrouwvliet Demer Velp Gete Herk Melsterbeek Grote Gete Kleine Gete Voer IJse Nethen Laan Zilverbeek Thyle Durme Molenbeek Dender Mark Ruisseau d'Ancre Zulle Eastern Dender Western Dender Molenbeek-Ter Erpenbeek Lys/Leie Mandel Heulebeek Gaverbeek Douve Deûle/Deule or Feule Marque Souchez Carency Saint-Nazaire Laquette Lawe Brette, ruisseau de Caucourt, fossé d'Avesnes Clarence Nave, Grand Nocq Becque de Steenwerk Zwalm Rone Rhosne