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North and South Holland are provinces of the Netherlands as is Limburg, but there are significant social and cultural differences between them.

Historically, “The Netherlands”, meaning the lowlands, was the name given to the area of north-western Europe that is now known as Belgium and Nederland and a chunk of what is now northern France (see map 1).

By far the larger part of today’s Limburg was then part of other political entities.Maastricht was in the jurisdiction of the prince-bishop of Luik (Liege).Geleen was in the jurisdiction of the graaf van(of) Valkenburg who owed allegiance to the hertog of Brabant; Sittard belonged to the hertogdom Gulick (Julich in German); the area from Roermond north belonged to hertogdom Gelre (or Gelderland).When you get older you begin to think more and more about the past, probably because there is not much to look forward to.Memories about your childhood come to life and interest seems to grow in how our parents and grandparents lived and worked.

I have long toyed with the idea of sitting down one day and write about our family background.

It seems to me that a bit of written family history is especially important for first generation immigrants such as ourselves.

Children who grow up in the same country as their parents and grandparents can easily trace where and how their forefathers lived and what their occupations were if they are interested in such things.

For you that is not so easy, so it is perhaps worthwhile to write a few things down for those of you who are interested.

Our family has its roots in The Netherlands and more particularly in Limburg, the south-eastern-most province.

In English speaking countries The Netherlands is usually referred to as Holland, and after having lived in Canada for so many years we ourselves often say Holland instead of Nederland or The Netherlands.