A modern city with an ancient heart
Maastricht, with its over 120,000 inhabitants, is the oldest city in the Netherlands, having been populated since 50 BC, and is the capital city of the province of Limburg.
It is a unique city in Holland, with a modern character, an almost Mediterranean feel in the old town and a particular location amongst the South Limburg hills
It has a event-filled past and its streets are abundant with reminders of its role as a city of transit since Roman times. It was also a destination of pilgrims visiting the tomb of St. Servatius in the Middle Ages, the headquarters of a military garrison and the leading exponent of the industrial revolution in Holland.
Landscape of Maastricht
In Europe Maastricht has been famous since 1992, the year in which the famous treaty was signed that led to the adoption of the Euro.
At the end of 2008, Maastricht decided to a compete for the title of Cultural Capital of Europe for 2018, in view of its vast range of museums, galleries, theatres and cultural institutions. The historic past of the city, together with the present, have been able to mix the culture of times gone by with that of today.
The basilica of St. Servatius in Maastricht
The churches
The centre of Maastricht is compact and easy to explore, and most sights can be reached on foot. The city offers the basilicas of Our Lady and St. Servatius, some fifty churches in Romanesque, Gothic and more recent styles, but also chapels and cloisters. Some historic churches have been converted in surprising and innovative ways, such as, for example, the Hotel Kruisheren and the Selexyz Dominicanen bookshop.
Maastricht has dozens of beautiful historic monuments and examples of modern architecture, but also offers many adventurous excursions to caves, underground mines and characteristic bell towers.

Dinner on the banks of the River Meuse, crossed by the bridge of St. Servatius dating back to the 13th century, or lunch in a church are wonderful experiences. There is a vast number of opportunities for dining, and five of Maastricht’s restaurants have Michelin stars.
Bridge of St. Servatius in Maastricht
With exhibitions and shows aplenty, Maastricht has earned the reputation of a city of festivals and events. It has always been a musical city, and offers festivals of all types of music: classical, pop, dance, jazz, chamber, organ and medieval; but also festivals dedicated to the theatre, dance, poetry and new forms of contemporary culture.
The Town Hall in the Markt district of Maastricht
The districts and the shopping
Shopaholics will love Maastricht. Shopping is made special by the multitude of small shops and characteristic boutiques, each with its own identity in keeping with the diversity of the shopping districts located throughout the city, including the trendy Wyck district, the modern Céramique quarter, the artistic Jeker quarter, the Stokstraat fashi-on district, the Markt (with the market square).
Open-air cafe in the old city district of Maastricht
And the famous area of Vrijthof Square in the centre of the old city of Maastricht, today known for its open-air cafes and for the events it holds.
Each district has a unique character, which is seen in the streets, shops, restaurants, bars and other places of entertainment.
The region’s verdant countryside, with its hills and valleys around the city, inspires active people. These areas are all within easy reach of the city and here you can choose from any number of different activities. Why not practise your swing on one of the well-equipped golf courses, cycle along the flat valleys of the Meuse or tackle the ups and downs of the lush hills of South Limburg, or, instead, go on a healthy walk, tackle a crazy slope with a snowboard or enjoy total relaxation at one of the spa resorts?
Being near to the borders of Belgium, Germany and France, cities such as Liege, Heerlen, Aachen, DüsseldorfCologneFrankfurt and Brussels are all situated nearby. Maastricht has its own airport and is located in the centre of some five other airports (SchipholBrussels,  Anvers, Düsseldorf and Cologne) and has rapid, comfortable rail links with BrusselsLondon and Paris. A place that is easy to enjoy and easy to reach.
Where to sleep in Maastricht
Maastricht is a welcoming city and offers different possibilities for accommodation.
To find the ideal hotel and the best offers you can do a search for the stars but also for districts or landmarks
Text by Alisè Vitri
Photos: Sisterscom, Shutterstock
Copyright ©
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Published on Avion Tourism N46
Tourism Board
The Our Lady of Maastricht Basilica is known locally as Selvrouwe and is famous for the Madonna Stella Maris (protector of sailors and all seafaring people). Each day numerous candles are lit in honour of the Madonna. Remains of the Roman era can be seen in every corner of the square and surrounding streets.
Due to location on the other side of the River Meuse, the Wyck District has a special atmosphere and is well known for its speciality delicatessens, art and antique shops. In this area lies Vrijthof square, the cultural heart of the city and the site of two important religious buildings: the Catholic Church of St. Servaasbasiliek and the Protestant Cathedral of  St. Janskerk. Lying to the south of  Wyck, the new Céramique District is known for its architecture. It owes its name to the Société Céramique, an industrial ceramics facility that once dominated the area. The urban landscape features buildings and office blocks designed by internationally renowned architects, including the Bonnenfanten Museum and the Centre Céramique. Located in the centre of the city, between the districts of  Wyck and Céramique, the centre offers numerous activities such as exhibitions, concerts and a well-stocked library.  The building itself, designed by Jo Coenen, and the view from above are also well worth seeing.

St. Bernardusstraat 24/b
The Helpoort was built in 1229. It is the oldest gate in the Netherlands and the only one remaining in Maastricht. An extremely tall two-towered construction, it was once part of the city walls.
Markt 78
The Town Hall is a building dating back to 1659-1664; the tower was built in 1648. It houses a carillon with some 49 clocks. The Town Hall is located in the Markt (Market) district, the beating heart of the city, which offers weekly markets, shops and cafes.
Capucijnenstraat 98
Founded in 1998, the centre showcases special exhibitions dedicated to contemporary art and design. It also organises conferences, research projects and other projects that focus on current problems. The beautiful house and ecological garden created by De Groene Stap are well worth a visit and are freely accessible.
Avenue Céramique 226
This museum houses unique exhibitions of architecture and design studies. 
Each year several different exhibitions are held in the Wiebengahal building, which dates back to 1912.
Avenue Céramique 250
The Museum houses public and private collections of old, modern and contemporary art, with interesting works of painting and sculpture, but also temporary exhibitions. The building, designed by the Italian architect Aldo Rossi, is one of the landmarks of the city’s skyline. 
Fort Sint Pieter, Caves of Mount Sint Peter, Kazematten, The Du Moulin Line
Beneath the hill of St. Pieter lies an extensive network of tunnels and underground caves where marl has been mined since Roman times. Between 1575 and 1825, a network of bunkers and tunnels were created on the west side of Maastricht. They were used during times of siege to surprise and approach the enemy and in World War II as shelters during bombing raids. Inside the approximately 20,000 tunnels various artists have left their mark on the walls, ranging from those dating back to the Middle Ages to those from more recent times by Hollywood celebrities.
A few kilometers from Maastricht is Hasselt a beautiful city on the banks of the River Demer. You can visit the Cathedral of St. Quentin, the Basilica of Virga-Jesse, the abbey of Herckenrode in Kuringen and several museums.
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