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Maastricht – the city that brings history to life

Servaas Bridge across the Meuse River
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Maastricht is a treasure trove of culture and history, and you won’t easily run out of interesting stuff to do and see. Large areas in this compact city are pedestrian only, and walking is definitely the best way to explore, so put on your walking shoes and let’s go!

 

There are no less than 1677 protected historical monuments in town. Maastricht has the oldest city gate in the Netherlands (Helpoort, dating from 1229 AD), two of the most important Roman Catholic churches and seven gothic churches and chapels, fortified city walls, ruins and many historic façades.


Worth exploring:

 

  • At the Market (Markt) you’ll find the 17th century Town Hall. There’s a small market on Wednesdays, and a large one - for general merchandise, produce, fabrics and fish - on Fridays from 9 am to 3 pm.
  • selexyz 20070321 0001 smallThe Vrijthof Square, with the Sint Servaas Basilica and the Sint Janskerk (Church of St. John), is a great place to relax and do some ‘people watching’ – a favourite Dutch pastime - on one of the many terraces while enjoying a locally brewed beer. Every year the Vrijthof Square is the décor for several outdoor concerts by world-famous Maastricht-born violinist and conductor Andre Rieu with his Johann Strauss orchestra; a once in a lifetime experience, if you have the chance!
  • The 13th century Dominican Church just north-east of the Vrijthof is no longer used as a church, but now houses the Selexyz Dominicanen bookstore. Even if you don’t want to browse through the books, it’s well worth a visit.
  • The Stokstraat District is the oldest part of the city, with many of the façades dating from the 17th and 18th centuries. The District was named after the street formerly inhabited by the poor, but now it’s known for its exclusive shops. Here you’ll find the Onze Lieve Vrouwebasiliek (Basilica of Our Lady), dating from before 1000 AD.
  • Jeker District, with the old Helpoort city gate and parts of the old city walls dating from the Middle Ages. There are some old water mills along the Jeker River which winds its way through the neighbourhood. In the Jeker District you will find many art galleries and shops. Admire the stately mansions along the Grote Looiersstraat, as well as the characteristic, more modest houses in the Sint Martinushofje, which were built in 1715 to house unmarried elderly women.
  • Enjoy a leisurely stroll along the Maaspromenade along the river Meuse (Maas). Along the promenade are various outdoor terraces where you can enjoy a cup of coffee with a piece of famous Limburg vlaai (fruit or rice pie), while watching the boats go by and enjoying the view of the oldest bridge in the Netherlands, the Servaasbrug, which connects the old city centre with the Wyck District.
  • Being on the other side of the river, the Wyck District has its own special ambiance. Here you’ll find specialty delicatessen, art and antique shops, as well as great eateries. This is where the Maastricht railway station is located.
  • Get your cultural fix at the Bonnefanten Museum in the modern Ceramique District just south of the Wyck District, thus named because of the ceramics factory that once dominated the area. Here you’ll find old masters as well as modern art.
  • Enjoy one of the many festivals or events that take place throughout the year, whether it’s about music, dance, food or contemporary culture.
  • Once you’re ready to give your legs a rest, consider taking a cruise on the Meuse. Choose from a variety of boat trips, from a short boat trip, a Sunday morning cruise including brunch, a romantic Saturday night cruise, or a trip including a tour in the limestone caves in the St. Pietersberg, to a day trip to Liège in Belgium, and more.
  • Another adventurous option is to rent a scooter or a regular or electric bicycle to explore the lovely countryside. You can also go on a horse-drawn carriage tour through Maastricht, or take the city tram.

 

Once you’ve experienced the feel, tastes and sounds of Maastricht, this amazing city will live on in your heart forever!