The municipality of Riemst is located in the east of Limburg, on the border with the Netherlands. Limestone was extracted from the subsoil of this municipality for centuries to use as a building material. This resulted in a corridor system of a total of 300 kilometers. Several of these underground quarries, with passages four to five meters wide and six to ten meters high. In the so-called ‘marl caves’ the unique cave beer ferments, two types of cave cheese ripen and mushrooms grow.
Marl has been known since the Romans. They called the material ‘marga’. It consists of a mixture of lime and a variable proportion of clay (approximately between 30% and 60%). The building blocks, which were first extracted above ground and later underground in the Riemster districts of Kanne and Zichen-Zussen-Bolder, are almost pure limestone. Strictly speaking, this is not about marl. The old quarries that can still be visited were created by centuries of mining. In fact, one cannot speak of caves because the latter are underground cavities that are created by erosion. However, if you ask strictly correctly about ‘the limestone quarries’, you will only get an uncomprehending frown from the residents. Limburg knows this unique tunnel system as ‘the marl caves’. The oldest date found in one of the quarries is 1468, the date on which a painter visited the space. Over time, drawings and texts have been added to the walls of the caves. During the Second World War they served as an air raid shelter. The unique climate in the caves, with high humidity and a constant temperature, makes the corridors ideal for the maturation of the cave beer, which is brewed in Watou in West Flanders. The cave cheese ripens on wooden planks and is regularly turned and kept moist with cave beer. Mushrooms are grown in the traditional way in the marl caves of Kanne. Tourists can take a tour and buy cave mushrooms. In Kanne, part of the corridor system was converted into a banquet hall. It is a unique location for weddings, seminars and exhibitions and even concerts are held there.
The marl caves in Kanne are located in Marl Caves of Kanne in the Avergat street and have no house number. You can contact us by telephone at number +32 (0)12 44 03 75, the fax number is +32 (0)12 44 03 79. In Zichen-Zussen-Bolder you can go to Gielenstraat number 13. The contact details remain the same.
You can reach the caves in Kanne as follows:
- Drive on the N79 between Tongeren and Maastricht until you reach the bridge over the Albert Canal.
- From Tongeren you drive over the canal and immediately turn right, from the Netherlands you turn left just before the canal. This is the Muizenberg.
- After 1.5 km, keep right on the Muizenberg
- After 1.2 km turn right onto Statiestraat (N619)
- After 800 meters you will find Avergat on your right.
The Zichen-Zussen-Bolder caves are a little more difficult to find:
- Drive on the N79 until you reach the municipality of Herderen. Look out for the Valmeerstraat. From Tongeren it is on your right, from the Netherlands it is on your left. There is a signpost towards Valmeer.
- 2.3 kilometers further you turn left onto Bolderstraat.
- After 600 meters you will find Haselindestraat on your right.
- Five hundred meters later you turn left.
- 700 meters further you will find Gielenstraat on your right.
The caves of Zichen-Zussen-Bolder and Kanne are open every day of the year. Groups are asked to book in advance. Individuals can take a guided tour every Sunday at 3:30 PM, and in July and August from Monday to Saturday at 2 PM.
Adults pay 3.00, children over 12 years 2, younger children 1.2 and disabled persons 1.1.