One of the pearls of Limburg is the white town of Thorn. The town is known for its striking white-painted houses, monumental buildings and authentic cobbled streets. The Abbey Church of Thorn towers high above the white houses.
For 800 years Thorn was a miniature principality where 33 abbess queens ruled the roost. The little state had its own jurisdiction and minted its own currency. The arrival of the French in 1794 brought an end to this. The French introduced a tax based on the size of the windows. More windows in the house meant a higher tax. The poor people bricked up the windows to reduce their tax burden. To hide the 'scars of poverty', the houses were painted white.