One of Hollands oldest cities, Maastricht is a lively and energetic place, with appeal and allure out of proportion to its size. Churches, city walls, monumental merchant houses and big squares merge seamlessly with a comprehensive and varied range of shops.
PLACES TO SEE
1.THE TREASURES OF SAINT SERVATIUS
The Roman Catholic St. Servaaskerk is built atop the grave of St. Servatius, the first Bishop of Maastricht. Highlights include the Imperial Hall, Imperial Gallery, the fine south doorway and the Bergportaal. The most important part of the old church is the museum called The Treasures of St. Servaaskerk. Prime exhibits include a variety of sacred objects, pictures, and statues, as well as the Late Romanesque chest reliquary housing the remains of St. Servatius, a masterpiece of metalwork known as the Noodkist and the crypt, home to the tomb of Charles of Lorraine, a statue of Charlemagne, and the remains of a 12th-century altar.
Resembling a version of a 1950s rocket ship this ultra-modern building can be found on the banks of the River Maas. Here you will find some of the most important Maastricht art collections.Numerous paintings from the Dutch Masters as well as many Italian and modern works are housed in the massive conical tower houses. The museum also boasts a rich collection of medieval art, including wooden sculptures from the 13th to the 16th centuries.
Valkenburg, the only hilltop castle in the Netherlands has long been a popular holiday resort thanks to its splendid spas. Thermae 2000 is one of the largest spa and famous for its warm spring-fed baths and pools, its healing mineral waters, and its botanical garden.
4.THE OLD TOWN WALLS AND HELL GATE
The remains of the first circuit of town walls is the highlight of Maastricht's Old Town. Built around 1229, the wall's most impressive sections are Hell Gate on St. Bernardusstraat, the oldest town gate in the Netherlands, and the Jeker Tower. A stretch of old wall â€˜Onze-Lieve-Vrouwewalâ€™ offer fine views over the municipal park with its old cannons, as well as over the Maas. The remnants of the town's second circuit of walls date from around 1350.
5.MUSEUM AAN HET VRIJTHOF
The museum is one of the city's most important museums. Housed in a 16th century former home of the Dukes of Brabant, its collections include paintings, sculptures, furniture displays, and glasswork from Maastricht. The Wagner-De Wit collection of works by 17th-century Dutch and Flemish artists, as well as paintings from members of the Hague School, plus sculptures from the Middle Ages are particular highlights.
Join one of the spooky, thrilling, amusing and fascinating tours throughout the year by Maastricht Underground on a constantly shifting schedule. The more popular tours are of the North Caves; the entrance is near the fort.
This historic site the Helpoort is the oldest surviving gate in Netherlands and can be found at the end of Sint Bernardusstraat. The remains of more 13th-century ramparts and fortifications are across the Maas in the CÃ©ramique district.
8.FORT SINT PIETER
The five-sided Fort Sint Pieter formed the city's southern defense and is linked to a network of underground tunnels. Three nature walks begin from here, each marked by colour-coded posts.
OTHER PLACES TO SEE
The best way to get around is by bicycle, bus, train, motorbike or by foot.
The Netherlands' position near the sea gives Maastricht a rather mild, maritime climate. This generally means that the winters are cool but not freezing and the summers are mild.