The oldest mural paintings in the Netherlands are hidden in a beautiful church on the outskirts of Sittard-Geleen. It might be somewhat confusing that there are two churches with the same name in the same village, but you can probably skip the new church in the centre that was built in 1922. The church replaced the ancient one at the castle, which you definitely shouldn't miss if you're in the region.
The history of the old Salviuskerk can be traced back to the late 10th century, but all that remains of the original church hall is the northern wall made of boulders from the River Meuse. Over the centuries, the church was enlarged several times and the tower was erected in 1458. During a restoration in 1977, murals from around 1300 were found. The paintings have been restored and after almost two years of tremendous efforts, which included the stripping of at least 20 layers of lime paint, are now on display. The paintings depict a Mary-themed cycle with portrayals of the childhood of Christ, the coronation of Mary and the salvation. Another sacred item found in this church is a box that supposedly contains pieces of Saint Salvius' bones.References:
The Old Town in Aarhus, Denmark (Den Gamle By), is an open-air town museum consisting of 75 historical buildings collected from 20 townships in all parts of the country. In 1914 the museum opened as the world's first open-air museum of its kind, concentrating on town culture rather than village culture, and to this day it remains one of just a few top rated Danish museums outside Copenhagen.
The museum buildings are organized into a small town of chiefly half-timbered structures originally erected between 1550 and the late 19th century in various parts of the country and later moved to Aarhus during the 20th century. In all there are some 27 rooms, chambers or kitchens, 34 workshops, 10 groceries or shops, 5 historical gardens, a post office, a customs office, a school and a theatre.
The town itself is the main attraction but most buildings are open for visitors; rooms are either decorated in the original historical style or organized into larger exhibits of which there are 5 regular with varying themes. There are several groceries, diners and workshops spread throughout the town with museum staff working in the roles of town figures i.e. merchant, blacksmith etc. adding to the illusion of a 'living' town.