Maastricht

Maastricht is a place of contrast—the southernmost city in the Netherlands has a history that dates back to Roman times, but yet feels modern. It’s a place where Dutch is the official language, but plenty of residents are conversant in French, Flemish, and English. The city, which at once feels rural and urban, is home to diverse residents, a place that attracts day-trippers and extended vacationers. It does share some in common with other Netherlands cities. Like Amsterdam or Rotterdam. Maastricht offers a mix of experiences that are authentically Dutch. It’s nestled on the border between Belgium and the Netherlands with the Meuse River (or Maas) running through town.

History

History
History

The capital of the Limburg Province has a history that stretches back for thousands of years. Its name is Latin for crossing at the Meuse, a nod to its Roman roots. There was already a settlement along the river when the the Romans arrived, likely around the time of Caesar Augustus in the first century of the modern area. The Romans built bridges, roads, shrines, and other structures that have captured the attention of both archaeologists and visitors. Many of the treasures are on display in the city’s library. During the Middle Ages, the cities of the region, including Aachen and Liège, became important cities of Charlemagne’s empire. Later in its history, Maastricht became a center of trade and remained an important city in the Holy Roman Empire. After decades of war in the 16th and 17th centuries, the city fell into decline as the Spanish and locals battled for dominance. It wasn’t until that industrial revolution in the 19th century that Maastricht regained its footing as a commerce center, a tradition that continues today.

Museums

Museums
Museums

With such a long history, it’s no surprise that Maastricht has a rich array of attractions to enjoy. Its museums preserve the city’s history from the Roman times into the present, telling a story that no other city has to share. The Bonnefanten Museum is a distinctive addition to the city’s skyline. Its collection and architecture is a mix of the old and new, much like Maastricht. Inside, you’ll find Old Master paintings and amazing collection of medieval sculptures. The views of the river from the museum’s cupola is not to be missed. The Spanish Government building is home to the Museum aan het Vrijthof, which focuses on the last 500 years of Maastricht history. Charles V and his wife Isabella often came here when they were the regents in charge of the Lowlands. Long before the duo arrived, people where exploring the underground caverns. Today, the caves of Saint Pieter are a great place for a tour under the surfacee.

Attractions

Attractions
Attractions

Like the museums, the attractions in Maastricht reflect the city’s unique past. Visits to Fort Sint-Pieter are some of the most popular things to do in Maastricht. Completely restored in 2007, the defensive site was built during the first years of the 18th century, providing protection from invaders. Today, guided tours reveal the history of the fort and point out the spectacular views from the highest point in the area. Visitors also make their way to Maastricht’s town squares. Market Square, the shadow of city hall and some amazing mansions, is one of places to shop the outdoor stalls stocked with fresh produce, flowers, and gifts on Wednesday and Friday. A flea market sets up on Saturdays here. The city center,Vrijthof Square, is an excellent place to enjoy the architecture and enjoy a meal at an outdoor cafe.

Maastricht Hotels & Lodging

Maastricht Hotels & Lodging
Maastricht Hotels & Lodging

If you’re planning on seeing the city for more than a day, you’ll have many choices on where to stay for the night in Maastricht. If you’re on a tight budget, both campgrounds and budget properties that while provide you a place to rest your head without laying out a lot of cash. You’ll also find chic apartment rentals and distinctive bed-and-breakfast inns, to go along with luxury hotels. All of the lodging properties in Maastricht are a good base for exploring three countries—heading north to more of the Netherlands, east to Aachen, Germany, and south to Liège, Belgium.

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