Dutch territory and can only be considered as an inseparable part of Holland.
The bonds uniting Holland and its present province of Limburg date back from 1632. Since that date a territorial unity has developed, which has gradually made it into an integral part of the northern Netherlands. A clear proof of this was furnished when, during the last few months, almost the entire population, openly declared themselves against separation. For Holland the so-called Lands beyond the Meuse have always been a guarantee for her national integrity. First the town of Maestricht and its enclave and Valkenburg were made into Dutch territory. From the very beginning of the war of independence this city came to be considered as one of the "barrier places" of the Netherlands. Subsequently this system of "barrier places" was gradually extended with the sanction of the European Powers themselves. The rights of the Netherlands to Maestricht and to the other territories in question, were recognized in 1648 by the European treaties of Westphalia. In 1715 part of Upper Guelders, (that is to say the northern part of the present province of Limburg which wrongly bears this name, "Upper Guelders" being more in accordance with historie truth.) was also incorporated with Holland as one of its "barrier districts" by the will of Europe as expressed in the Treaties of Utrecht. In this part were included the towns of Venlo and Stevensweert (the other part then being joined on to Prussia). Between these two Dutch points of support on the lower Meuse, there remained Ruremonde, which belonged to the Austrian Netherlands, and Sittard which belonged to the Duchy of Juliers. These territories were not added to Holland, until after the revolutionary period in 1814-15. In spite of Prussia's claim to the right bank of the Meuse this district was then handed over to Holland, thus securing to that country the