The head-on crash happened at about 10.30pm on Sunday on the southbound carriageway, at the entrance to the Roertunnel. The drivers of both cars were killed.
1Limburg reported that one of the vehicles had been filmed driving against the traffic nine kilometres further up the road a few minutes earlier, near the Maasbracht junction, with its lights flashing.
The motorway was closed in both directions for several hours while the scene was cleared. The force of the collision sent debris from the vehicles across to the northbound carriageway. The road was reopened at around 5am.
Busiest rush hour
The crash happened on the eve of the busiest rush-hour of the year so far, as heavy rain and a spate of accidents led to 889 kilometres of tailbacks across the country.
The worst queues were on the A9 between Alkmaar and Diemen, where the ANWB reported 50-minute delays, as well as the A4 and A12. A collision involving a lorry on the A37 near the German border close to Emmen also caused misery for motorists.