The city of Maastricht is together with Nijmegen one of the two cities that claims itself to be the ‘oldest city of The Netherlands’. Which of these two really is the oldest city is not easy to tell, but fact is that both share a long history that goes back before the beginning of our era. Besides its Roman and Burgundian influences Maastricht is also well known for its university and conference center.
Over five hundred years BC a Celtic settlement arose near a shallow part of the river Meuse. This settlement would be called Mosa Trajectum during the Roman garrison and would receive town privileges later on.
Not only is Maastricht located at the Meuse, it is also in the extreme south of The Netherlands. The west side of the capital of the province Limburg is also the only part of South-Limburg where the Maas does not form the natural border between the Netherlands and Belgium. When in 1843 a new border was determined between both countries, it was decided that at Maastricht the border would be at a cannon shot’s distance from the Meuse west bank.
Around Maastricht we find a surprising divers scenery. One who leaves the city sees for instance the woods and the heath of the Hoge Kempen, the valley of the old Grensmaas and the slopes and grand views of the Voerstreek and Mergelland.
Because of the historical city center with its ancient sights we cannot ignore the rich history of Maastricht. Especially known are the many squares and churches, like the Vrijthof and the Servaaskerk.
Another characteristic piece of architecture is the Sint Servaasbrug, a bridge that has connected both the banks of the Meuse since the thirteenth century. This bridge was only the second that made it possible to cross the Maas even in times of great rain fall. An earlier bridge built by the Romans lasted service over thousand years.
Not only walking through the town we get an impression of the rich culture tradition. Maastricht is also a city of museums, with a large collection of Roman finds in the cellar of the museum Derlon, the treasure rooms of Saint Servaas, the Spanish Government and the Natuurhistorisch museum. Lovers of art go for instance to the Bonnefantenmuseum.
Are you looking for a bit more active amusement, you should consider one of the many festival, like the Musica Sacra, JONG! And the Dutch Dancing days. Or vsit one of the theatres or cinemas.
Maastricht is a town with a rich past, but is also very up-to-date. The presence of the university makes Maastricht a popular city for students. Which results in a lively outbound life. Are you in to shopping then you will also really enjoy downtown Maastricht.
More information about Maastricht and what is to be seen and done in the city can be obtained at the VVV Maastricht.
Are you considering spending a day in Maastricht, then you should be aware of the excellent state of the public transportation. The railway station lies on no more than a five minute walk from the historical centre and the Seraas bridge. With direct connections to the rest of the country, the train appears to be the best way to travel to Maastricht.
Do you prefer travelling by car, you should know that the city discourages parking downtown. But luckily Maastricht has an extensive network of parking garages.
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