Limburg's name derives from the fortified town of the same name, situated on the river Vesdre near the High Fens, now in the nearby Belgian province of Liège. Its name is derived from the Germanic elements *lindo, "lime tree," and burg, "fortification." Limburg town was the seat of the medieval Duchy of Limburg. None of present-day Limburg was part of this duchy, which had its northern border along what is the modern southern border of South Limburg. South Limburg in the Middle Ages was mainly made up of the lands of Valkenburg, Dalhem, and Herzogenrath, which under the rule of the Duchy of Brabant came to be known collectively as the Lands of Overmaas.
The Duchy of Limburg and its dependencies first came under Brabantian control in 1288, as a result of the Battle of Worringen, then in the 15th century under the Duchy of Burgundy. By 1473, the Lands of Overmaas and the Duchy of Limburg formed one unified delegation to the States General of the Burgundian Netherlands. Both the terms Overmaas and Limburg came to be used loosely to refer to this sparsely populated province of the so-called Seventeen Provinces. Maastricht was never part of this polity; as a condominium souvereignty over this city was held jointly by the prince-bishops of Liège and the dukes of Brabant. Also, the central and northern part of present-day Limburg belonged to different political entities, notably the Duchy of Jülich and the Duchy of Guelders.
After 1794, the French unified the region, along with Belgian Limburg, and removed all ties to the old feudal society (the ancien regime). The new name, as with all the names of the départements, was based on natural features, in this case Meuse-Inférieure or Neder-Maas ("Lower Meuse"). After the defeat of Napoleon the newly-created United Kingdom of the Netherlands desired a new name for this province. It was decided that the historic connection to the town and duchy of Limburg was to be restored, albeit only in name.
View of a typical street in a hilly South-Limburgian hamlet; here in Walem
Huis Bloemendaal in Vaals
, an 18th-century stately home, also used as a monastery, now a hotel