Maasgouw (Limburgish: Maasgoew) is a municipality in Central Limburg that was created on 1 January 2007 from the municipalities of Heel, Maasbracht and Thorn. These three municipalities have decided on a voluntary municipal reorganization. As of 1 May 2020, the municipality has 24,275 inhabitants, divided over the ten cores: Maasbracht, Ohé en Laak, Stevensweert, Linne, Thorn, Heel and Panheel, Wessem and Beegden. The total area of the municipality is 5,812 hectares.



In history, the name Maasgouw can be traced back to the Carolingian period (750 - 900 AD). Shire was a Germanic designation for province. The municipality of Maasgouw is centrally located in the historic Franconian shire Pagus Mosarium. This Maasgouw covered an area along the Meuse from Liège to Grave, approximately the Maasland (Limburg-Liège), the Meuse valley including the current Dutch province of Limburg, between Aachen, Visé and Nijmegen. From 900 AD. the Maasgouw was divided into kingdoms and principalities, including Thorn.

The name Maasgouw for the new municipality was chosen by vote on 17 November 2005 by councilors of the former three municipalities. It is a name that fits the current municipalities, given their location on the river Maas.

On June 7, 2006, the House of Representatives canceled the plans for the municipality of Maasgouw, the municipality of Maasbracht would fit better with the municipality of Roermond. This amendment was introduced by the VVD. This would mean that Heel and Thorn would probably be added to the new municipality of Leudal, with Hunsel going to Weert as compensation. The municipalities did not agree with this and have taken action to allow the original plans to continue.

On June 12, 2006, members of the Lower House of the PvdA and GroenLinks announced during a manifestation in Maasbracht that they were nevertheless declining support for the amendment of the VVD and that they would also vote in favor of the original redistribution plan and therefore the new municipality of Maasgouw. As a result, a Chamber majority was a fact.

In the afternoon of Tuesday, June 13, 2006, a vote was taken in favor of the original reclassification plan in the House of Representatives, including members of the VVD.

In the evening of September 12, 2006, the Senate voted on the reclassification proposal. The proposal was accepted, making the new municipality of Maasgouw a fact on 1 January 2007. At the same time as the 2006 House of Representatives elections on November 22, the municipalities of Heel, Maasbracht and Thorn voted for the first municipal council of the new municipality. The newly elected council took office on 1 January 2007 when the new municipality was created.