Limburg (lĭmˈbûrg, Dutch lĭmˈbûrkh) [key], province (1994 pop. 1,125,200), c.850 sq mi (2,200 sq km), SE Netherlands, bordering on Belgium in the west and south and Germany in the east. Maastricht, on the Meuse (Maas) River, is the province's capital and chief industrial center. Regional industries include chemicals, clothing, and metal products. Wheat is grown, and pigs and poultry are raised. Market gardening is important in Venlo. Heerlen, Roermond, and Sittard are other principal cities. Rich in historic antiquities, the province takes its name from the former duchy of Limburg, which comprised the southern part of the modern province, including Maastricht, and an eastern portion of modern Liège prov. in Belgium. The small town of Limbourg, E of Liège, was its capital. Founded in the 11th cent., the duchy was divided in the Peace of Westphalia (1648) between the United Netherlands (which received Maastricht) and the Spanish Netherlands. The duchy was united (1815) under the kingdom of the Netherlands. Limburg prov., as established in 1815, did not correspond to the borders of the old duchy. It was contested after the establishment (1831) of an independent Belgium. The Dutch-Belgian treaty of 1839 divided the territory, which was incorporated with the Dutch and Belgian provinces of Limburg. Belgian separatist feeling existed in the Netherlands' Limburg prov. in the 19th cent.; the area was not fully integrated into the Dutch national structure until the early 20th cent.
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