The oldest city in Holland
Continuing to take some advantage from living these past months in Dusseldorf due to the work contract, it’s great to take the chance for visiting that many cities all around, most of which really important and not only in Germany, but across the border into the Netherlands or Belgium. Distances from this part of Germany are really small to be honest, not to mention how easy is to reach a place or the other with such a great railway and road network.
So for today it was the turn of Maastricht, some 100 kilometres west of Dusseldorf. The oldest city in Holland, one of the most beautiful and historical retaining much of its original medieval fabric unchanged; although it’s difficult to find any city in the Netherlands which do not fall under the same beauty circumstances, no matter how modern and futuristic some are turning nowadays. And as a good note in here, the small size and short distances mean a day is well more than enough for visiting absolutely every sight. It is the fact that you could easily visit both Maastricht and Eindhoven in the very same day for example.
This is a very traditional city, you can feel the “real” Netherlands and its people, its culture. Quiet and laid back as opposed to what you will find in Amsterdam and Rotterdam where majority of tourism go. The Meuse River splitting the city in two, and the Jeker River cutting through the historical old town with two branches create great perspectives from the many bridges and the ancient houses built literally on top of the river. There is without doubt a great collection of renaissance style houses scattered all over the city, truly worth to come and enjoy.
Being such small and straightforward to visit, there is not really much more to be said in this brief introduction to the city. The best is to check from the next section below the sights and mark these on a map for your guidance; or just simply walk around the streets and wander, it will be almost impossible to get lost.
For more information about the city check Wikipedia and Wikitravel sites. The Netherlands currency is the Euro (EUR). Please note that any price reference is true as from when this guide was created, therefore check prices in advance as with the time they change.
What to see and do in Maastricht
- Vrijthof Square Is the most famous and largest square in the city with large monuments all around.
-Basilica of Saint Servatius Built mostly in the Romanesque style with construction started in the 11th century, although completed centuries later with extensions and renovations mixing Gothic, renaissance, Baroque.
-St Jan’s Cathedral Next to Saint Servatius, this Gothic building he city’s main Protestant church since 1632.
-Theater aan het Vrijthof The main theatre in the city, an stunning building from the outside and inside. The facade is reused from the 1805 General House.
- Markt Square A major landmark in the city due to its architecture of beautiful buildings. plenty of cafes and bars align all sides around. The views towards the towering Saint Servatius and Saint John’s behind the row of buildings is perhaps your picture perfect postcard.
-Town Hall (Stadhuis) Built in the 17th century and considered a highlight of the Dutch Baroque architecture.
- Jekerkwartier Neighbourhood One of the oldest and most historical areas of the city where every building is a sight on their own. Located west of the Meuse River.
-Leeuwenmolen An old water mill on the south branch of the Jeker River.
-Huis op de Jeker Standing atop the Jeker River, this 16th century house was built in the Maasland Renaissance style.
-Sint Pieterstraat Street One of the thoroughfares in the neighbourhood containing mostly renaissance style houses.
–Oude Minderbroederskerk Church In Gothic style, built between the 13th and 14th centuries. It contains the city’s archives.
-Nieuwenhof Convent Built in the 16th century, contains an octagonal chapel in classical style.
- City Walls and fortifications From Roman to medieval times to the 18th century bastions scattered around the city. The most impressive of all are:
-Helpoort The oldest surviving town gate in the Netherlands dating back to 1229. A symbol of the city and the nation.
-Poort Waerachtig While not an original gate, it was opened in 1887 in neo-Gothic style in the current city walls as a breakthrough into the new town.
- Onze Lieve Vrouweplein Is another of the squares in the city where you can see more walls, a tower and nice buildings along the tree lined street.
-Basilica of Our Lady One of the oldest constructions in the city, in Romanesque style, built mostly between the 11th and 12th centuries.
Although the city hosts an international airport with some routes through Europe, it does mostly serve the local area. Alternatively, the neighbouring larger Eindhoven airport can be the perfect choice offering plenty more routes cross-Europe. Cologne and Dusseldorf airports are pretty much equidistant as well, bringing the routes to an already vast choice. From the airport it’s only a short bus ride to the city centre.
Coming overland is the most common way to reach the city. Not just only within the Netherlands, but from the neighbouring countries like Belgium in the west where part of the city actually lies, Germany at the east and Luxembourg farther south across part of Belgium. There are direct frequent rail and bus routes to Brussels, Antwerp, Luxembourg City, Aachen, Cologne, Dusseldorf, Rotterdam, Amsterdan and plenty more in between.
Within the city there is not need at all for taking any public transportation. Everywhere you will be is within walking distance from any sight.
Maastrich is one of the most important cities in the Netherlands, notably for business and tourism, and although small in size, the hotel choice is quite large and great to be honest. Unfortunately I cannot recommend any place since this was a day trip from Dusseldorf, hence not staying overnight. Nevertheless, a good and reasonable point to start your search is by checking some of our preferred affiliate hotel search engine such as Hotels.com, Booking.com, Expedia, Otel.com, Agoda, Opodo or Ebookers.