The city was fortified in the 3rd century and again in the 14th century when the city evolved into a Christian religious centre but due to her strategic location, she was visited quite often by foreign forces like the Spanish, French, Prussian and the Dutch which all left their mark on the city. The latter being the most important as Maastricht is part of the Netherlands.
But most of you will probably know Maastricht from the Treaty of Maastricht, which is also known as the Treaty of the European Union, where Maastricht became the birthplace of the European Union and European citizenship signed by the original 12 member states in 1992. Further, the city of Maastricht is well-known with tourists for shopping and recreation and has a rising international population. A full 49% of the students from the university of Maastricht come from abroad, making the UM the most international university in the Netherlands.
Now let’s talk about the five top-rated tourist attractions in Maastricht:
1. The Basilica of our Lady
The Basilica of Our Lady (‘Onze Lieve Vrouwe Kerk’) was originally build around 1000 A.D and is one of the oldest, if not the oldest, basilica in the Netherlands. Her fortress-like character is a reminder of the struggle Maastricht went through throughout the years as the Romanesque church was part of the city’s fortifications. The side chapel of the Basilica contains the beautiful image of Our Lady of the Sea (15th century) and is a real pleasure to visit.
2. The Vrijthof
One place in the city with many historical structures and squares that you cannot miss is the Vrijthof square! The square has been well-known by populations from all around Europe where pilgrims came to visit the grave of Saint Servatius. Nowadays, the square is well-known for her many cafes, terraces and out-door events. The ambience on the square is almost magical. Enjoy the outdoor cafes with a nice wine or have a fine beer on the Vrijthof and don’t forget to visit the Beautiful Basilica of St. Servatius Basilica!
3. Crossing the Meuse river by walking the St. Servaasbrug
The St. Servaasbrug is a splendid seven-arched 13th century bridge and is a typical symbol for the city of Maastricht and is well-known for its statue of St. Servatius. It would be for the best if you start your visit in the Wyck District on the right bank of the Meuse river, to eventually visit the old Town Hall in at the Market of Maastricht by crossing the river.
4. Mount Saint Peter and and the St. Pietersberg caves
Mount Saint Peters, which is the northmost section of a large plateau stretching between Maastricht and the city of Liege in Belgium, is a well-known nature reserve and recreational area. The area famous for the 18th century Fort Sint Pieter and a large system of tunnels and passages formed over many centuries.
5. Bonnefanten Museum
The Bonnefanten Museum is a museum of fine art in Maastricht housed in a ulta-modern building on the banks of the Meuse River. The building was designed by the Italian architect Aldo Rossi representing a 1950s version of a rocket-shaped cupola overlooking the Meuse River. Within the Museum you will find Maastricht’s most important art collections and it is one of Maastricht’s most prominent modern symbols. The combination of old art and contemporary art under one roof gives the Bonnefanten Museum its distinctive character. When visiting Maastricht, you have to visit the Bonnefanten Museum!
- Written by Leander Vranken