Discover Roman life along the Rhine and Meuse

Romans on the Riversides

On display from 20 May to 4 September 2022
On display from 20 May to 4 September 2022
Today we are open from
11 am to 5 pm

Discover Roman life along the Rhine and Meuse

In this interactive exhibition for the whole family, you’ll discover how the Romans lived, played and fought some two thousand years ago. The Roman Empire’s northern border, known as the ‘limes’, was formed by the Rhine river. The Meuse was Rome’s hinterland. Here, the Romans ruled supreme, including in Limburg.

What was life like in those days? Dive into the stories of soldiers and their families, of Roman building technologies and Roman cooking. Theirs was a lively community with a Mediterranean spirit. What did the people who lived here do in their spare time? What games did they play? Inhabitants of the limes and the villas – farmsteads – left many fascinating traces. Not only swords and helmets, but toys, baby bottles, children’s shoes and ladies’ jewellery.

One of the most marvellous objects in the exhibition is the sandstone head of a woman, known as the ‘Lady of Voerendaal’, found on a hill along the Via Belgica. The Lady of Voerendaal is your guide through this exhibition. Together, you’ll explore day-to-day life and get to know the inhabitants and their ways.

In association with Rijksmuseum van Oudheden
Image of mask: Erfgoed Leiden en Omstreken
Image of fibula: Rijksmuseum van Oudheden

Romans on the Riversides presents many extraordinary archaeological finds. These are just a few:

Dagger and belt. Two thousand years ago, a Roman soldier was buried in a well outside the castellum at Velsen. He was equipped with a silver dagger in an ornamented sheath and a silver belt. Image: Rijksmuseum van Oudheden Leiden

Buchten rooster. This statuette was a votive offering made in Buchten to the goddess Aracuna by a Roman veteran named Ulpius Verinus. Image: Limburgs Museum

Game board on a tile. The inhabitants of Villa Voerendaal also played games. A Roman scored lines on this ordinary tile to play a game on it. Image: Provinciaal Depot van Bodemvondsten Limburg and Diederick Habermehl

Wooden children’s toys. The discovery of these wooden toys is proof that Roman forts were home to not only soldiers, but children as well. The toys were unearthed with the remnants of the border fort of Praetorium Agrippinae along the Old Rhine in Valkenburg, in South Holland. Image: Rijksmuseum van Oudheden Leiden

Silver-gilt brooch. This brooch was found in Zwammerdam, but its origins are Germanic. Image: Rijksmuseum van Oudheden Leiden

Treasure trove of gold coins and silver pieces. The Romans had soldiers of their own, but they also hired auxiliary forces from among foreign peoples. These support troops were usually paid in coin, but if coins ran out, they might also be paid in cut-up pieces of silver, like those in this dish. Image: Limburgs Museum