The Weichselian Late Pleniglacial and Lateglacial aeolian stratigraphy (Older Coversand I, Beuningen Gravel Bed, Older Coversand II, Younger Coversand I, Usselo Soil, Younger Coversand II) in the southern Netherlands has been reinvestigated in its type locality (Grubbenvorst). Sedimentary environments have been reconstructed and related to their climatic evolution based on periglacial structures. In addition, 22 optically stimulated luminescence (OSL) ages have been determined that provide an absolute chronology for the climatic evolution and environmental changes of the coversand area. From this work it appears that, prior to 25 ka fluvial deposition by the Maas dominated. After 25 ka fluvial activity reduced and deposition occurred in a fluvio-aeolian environment with continuous permafrost (Older Coversand I). This depositional phase was dated between 25.2 ± 2.0 and 17.2 ± 1.2 ka. The upward increase of aeolian activity and cryogenic structures in this unit is related to an increase of climatic aridity and a decrease in sedimentation rate during the Last Glacial Maximum (LGM). The Beuningen Gravel Bed, that results from deflation with polar desert conditions and that represents a stratigraphic marker in northwestern Europe, was bracketed between 17.2 ± 1.2 and 15.3 ± 1.0 ka. Based on this age result a correlation with Heinrich event H1 is suggested. Permafrost degradation occurred at the end of this period. Optical ages for the Older Coversand II unit directly overlying the Beuningen Gravel Bed range from 15.3 ± 1.0 ka at the base to 12.7 ± 0.9 ka at the top. Thus this regionally important Older Coversand II unit started at the end of the Late Pleniglacial and continued throughout the early Lateglacial. Its formation after the Late Pleniglacial (LP) maximum cold and its preservation are related to rapid climatic warming around 14.7 ka cal. BP. The Allerød age of the Usselo Soil was confirmed by the optical ages. Copyright © 2007 John Wiley & Sons, Ltd.