NLMAP_000Upon my arrival to this small city in the southeast of Netherlands, located on both sides of the Meuse river, I could have not notice so many bikes parked along the the train station building. 🙂 Afer all, it is a Dutch city!

There is some debate as to whether Maastricht is the oldest city in the Netherlands. However, Maastricht has become known, by way of the Maastricht Treaty, as the birthplace of the European Union, European citizenship, and the single European currency, the euro.

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Typicall Dutch!

The city’s name has meaning ‘crossing at the Meuse.’ The place started as the Celts then Roman settlement,  continuing as part of the heartland of the Carolingian Empire along with Aachen and the area around Liège, Belgium.

Around 570, the first stone church was built on the grave of Servatius, the present-day Basilica of Saint Servatius – an armenian missionary, today patron of Maastricht.

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River Meuse
St Servas Bridge
Bridge St Barvis

The Basilica of Saint Servatius is a gothic church with a severe religious significance of the city.  The most depicting is south portal’s late Romanesque sculptures for the early development of Gothic sculpture in France.

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St John’s church (left) and St Servaas church (right)

As the day was grey with not many people in the streets, I got lower vibes of the city. But I was recognizing the beauty of the facades here and there… Streets can tell the story by itself, if you manage to read them prperly and give a time to observe them…

One of the attractions is the the old mill, which was built in the 17th century by Franciscan, and now used for making bread. The oven is part of the facility. As you can see on the photo below, everything is made of wood and well preserved.

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The mill dating from 17th century


Second visit in 2021

Visiting the capital and largest city of the province of Limburg was a pure joy. The Christmas mood just started to appear, sun was shining through the chilly air.

Maastricht is adjacent to the border with Belgium. It is part of the Meuse-Rhine Euroregion. As so it is a big commerce center and shopping place.

The visit continued in Vrijthof – the historical city center. The main square Grote Markt where the City Hall is placed had the Saturday market.

I couldn’t not notice the Zwarte Piete (eng. Plack Pete) – the character that has been increasingly controversial since the early 2010s and decreasingly prevalent at municipal holiday celebrations in the years that have followed. In Belgium is prohibited, so I was happy to see it here. History is a construction and I am afraid of it sometimes, especially when it is used in political purposes. There is natural nonsense and nonsense ex officio.

Let it be written here: The earliest known illustration of the character comes from an 1850 book by Amsterdam schoolteacher Jin which he was depicted as a black Moor from Spain. My beloved Croatia has the small jewelry as its proud. Let’s keep it a secret before it becomes woke.

With its nice neighborhoods with charming streets, historic buildings and squares, chic boutiques and yet plenty of trendy hotspots and culinary delights, Maastricht exudes something un-Dutch that you won’t find anywhere else.

What is travel without food and beverage produced by locals? Especially when seated somewhere in Maastricht’s city centre. The place is compact but very complete: you’ll find small bars and amazing restaurants. This is the perfect moment to remind myself and wonder why Dutch eat sandwiches for lunch and is such a normal (and most popular) item on their menu.

Wandering around the Grote Maarkt, one can not miss the statue of Jan Pieter Minckelers  (18 – 19th century) – a Dutch academic and inventor of coal gasification and illuminating gas.

One more item to mention there is the Maastricht City Hall (Stadhuis van Maastricht). The building was designed in the 17th century in the style of Dutch classicism.

The Basilica of Our Lady is a Romanesque church dedicated to Our Lady of the Assumption and is a Roman Catholic parish church in the Diocese of Roermond. The church is often referred to as the Star of the Sea after the church’s main devotion, Our Lady, Star of the Sea.

As a university city, Maastricht has a remarkable number of international students, who make the city vibrant. Together with its own hospitable population, they show you that Maastricht is so much more than just that Burgundian city in the south.

Besides meeting crazy students on the way, I have spotted numerous religious items on the city facades.

The day of the visit was St Martin’s day – a patron of the wine, wine producers and necessitous. So, I honoured the guy visiting his church. Little pilgrimage is never of a harm.

To the very end, the river Meuse and the Hoge Brug (eng. bridge).

18 Comments »

  1. Lovely! I’m on the hunt for other places to explore besides Amsterdam on my next trip to the Netherlands. Thank you for sharing your journey with us!

    Best,
    Rebecca

    Like

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