Maastricht is the southernmost city in the Netherlands, and is the capital of the province of Limburg. Situated within walking distance of Belgium and cycling distance of Germany, it claims to be the oldest city in the Netherlands (a claim it shares with Nijmegen). A great place to spend some time, it contains some magnificent buildings and culture, taking the form of plenty of old houses and buildings, lovely cathedrals and a spectacularly cobblestoned town centre. The city is also well known for its fine cuisine, excellent shops and multicultural atmosphere.
Other airports in the Netherlands include:
Amsterdam - is the biggest airport for the Netherlands, and is the entry point for most air-borne travellers. Schiphol is approximately 3 hours from Maastricht by train.
Due to Maastricht's proximity to the Belgian border, some visitors prefer to use Belgian airports:
Brussels - , another Belgian airport, is the second largest airport (after Schiphol) within 2 hours distance of Maastricht, and is another decent option for arriving by plane. A journey to Brussels is slightly under 2 hours by train, which to some people makes the airport a more attractive option than Schiphol.
Liege Bierset - is located in Belgium, about a half hour from Maastricht.
Maastricht is well served by train, with train stations (Maastricht, near the centre of the city, and Maastricht Randwyck, in the south). There are two trains departing from Maastricht Station to the northern destinations every hour. Some popular destinations include:
There is an extensive rail system in the Netherlands. Travelling by train is generally a good experience in the Netherlands, although Dutch people will often complain that the trains are late and full. National train services are run by (NS), and an elaborate timetable system including price information is available on their website. Prices for trips are determined by distance, with longer distances costing less per km than shorter ones. Tickets can be bought at the ticket office in the train station's main hall, but you can save yourself an extra service fee by buying your train ticket from a yellow-and-blue electronic ticketing machine (note that some machines only accept European pin passes/debit cards and only older machines accept coins). Wherever you plan to buy your ticket, make sure you buy it before boarding the train, as it is not possible to buy a ticket on-board and you'll risk a € 35,- fine (in addition to the ticket price). Tickets can be bought as either one way tickets, or as a same-day or same weekend return. If you plan to return in the course of a couple of days, you should simply buy two separate one way tickets.
Visitors who intend to travel a lot by train in the Netherlands may consider purchasing a , which will set you back € 55,- but entitles you and three fellow passengers to reduced-fare tickets (40% off the price). Reduced-fare tickets can be bought from the same ticket-vending machines. The card can be purchased from any NS Ticketing Office, although an address is required (you are initially issued a temporary paper card, which will be replaced by a plastic card about 3 months later).
An hourly service connects Maastricht with Liege, Belgium. There is also a cheap, direct high-speed train connection to Brussels (1,5 hours), where you can switch trains to Paris and London. Check out the for more information on this connection.
There a two motorways from and to Maastricht: A2 (Amsterdam, Eindhoven, Sittard, Belgium and France - "Route du Soleil") and A79 (Heerlen, Aachen).
Bus 50 from Aachen serves Maastricht on an half-hourly basis. Generally, travellers pay €5,00 for a ticket, which actually allows all-day travel on South Limburg bus routes, including those to local cities such as Heerlen. Travel time is approximately one hour from Aachen. See Veolia Transport for timetables (Regio: Limburg).
Belgian busses come and go to Hasselt, Tongeren, Lanaken and Liege.
Eurolines Netherlands has a bus stop at the Central train station in Maastricht. In Liege is the Belgian Eurolines stop, which serves different routes to the Maastricht stop.
Travelling by Car can be painful in Maastricht, largely due to the fact that most of the city centre is pedestrian-only, and also due to the horrendous parking rates. It is often easier to park your car outside the town centre and either walk or bus into the city.
The city has a bus system called the Stadsbus ("City Bus") that travels over most of the city and to surrounding areas. Tickets can be bought on the bus, or in advance with a pass called a Strippenkaart "Strip-card".
You can purchase the Strippenkaart at the train station, or any post office or newsagent. There are two denominations, € 6.80 and € 20.10. The lesser of the two has 15 strips on it, and the larger 45. So, each strip costs about € 0.45, and each trip on the bus takes at least 2 strips. So a ride on the bus might cost about € 1. Depending on where you go, the fare increases. This is much cheaper then buying the fare on the bus, as a trip purchased from the driver might cost between € 1.60 and € 2.40. The "Stippenkaart" is valid on city buses/trams/metro all over the Netherlands, so even if you don't use all the strips in Maastricht they won't be wasted.
Trains run four times per hour between Maastricht Centraal Station, and Maastricht Randwyck station (at the South of the City), at a cost of €2.20.
This is by far the most attractive option as it allows travellers to see the beautiful winding streets in the centre of the city, as well as experience the cultural melting pot that Maastricht's location allows. A particularly nice walk outside of the centre is along the river, from St Servaas Brug (The Stone Bridge near the entrance to the city) down to the JFK Bridge (near the bottom), which goes through Maastricht's largest park. Visitors can then cross the JFK bridge and go to Maastricht's modern art museum - the Bonnefanten (see below).
Can't believe this wasn't mentioned already. There are thousands of bicycles in Maastricht, often the young gents give their girlfriends a lift on the parcel carrier at the back, the girls sat "side saddle". A charming sight, and you can join in the bicycle culture very easily, there are several bicycle hire shops in Maastricht. At around €10 per day (2006 prices) you can explore the flat country of South Limburg. Dutch traffic law is heavily biased towards the cyclist, so you might find cars slowing down to let you pass when they are pulling in to a side street which you are about to cross - no sane car driver is going to cut you off since in the case of an accident the cyclist is always presumed innocent unless grossly negligent. Also while there are many one-way streets in Maastricht, almost all if not all of them have a cycle lane going the other way up the street. Very handy. I would dispute the previous reviewer's assertion that foot is the most attractive option, for me it has to be the bicycle.
Perhaps one of the best (free) sights of Maastricht is simply to admire the two town squares in the centre of the city; The Vrijthof, which features the massive St Servaas Church and St Jan's Cathedral; and The Markt, which features the Town Hall (Stadhuis) and on Wednesdays and Fridays, markets.
The Vrijthof regularly hosts large festivals at various times throughout the year, including autumn and winter festivals. The Carnaval before Lent is an amazing occasion where (it seems) the whole city dresses up in costume and parties until the early hours. It really has to be seen to be believed, this is a North European Mardi Gras, hence colder and darker than its American cousin.
Bonnefantenmuseum , +31 (43) 329 01 90, +31 (43) 329 01 90, Tue-Sun: 11.00 am - 5.00 pm; Mon: closed, except on public holidays, Avenue Céramique 250, The museum is the foremost museum of Old Masters and contemporary art in the province of Limburg. The contemporary art collection contains works by an international group of artists. In addition to contemporary paintings, the collection also includes projections and gallery-sized installations. The collection of Old Masters emphasises on 16th and 17th century Flemish paintings, including major works by Peter Paul Rubens, Anthony van Dyck and Jacob Jordaens. In addition, the collection comprises magnificent medieval sculptures by Jan van Steffenswert, early Italian paintings and a presentation of Maastricht silver.
Centre Céramique, +31 (43) 350 56 00, +31 (43) 350 56 00, Tue and Thu: 10.30 am - 8.30 pm; Wed, Fri, Sun: 10.30 am - 5.00 pm, Avenue Céramique 50
Derlon Museum Cellar, +31 (43) 325 21 21, Sun: 12.00 am - 4.00 pm. The museum is not wheelchair accessible, Plankstraat 21, Before the restoration of the Derlon Hotel started, Maastricht's city archeologists undertook an extensive survey of the site. The Roman finds, from the 2nd, 3rd and 4th century, are considered that important that it was decided to conserve them and exhibit these to interested parties. The following can be seen in the cellar of Derlon Hotel: part of a 2nd and 3rd century square, a 3rd century well, part of a pre- Roman cobblestone road and sections of a wall and a gate dating from the 4th century.
Natuurhistorisch Museum , +31 (43) 350 54 90, +31 (43) 350 54 90, Mon-Fri: 10.00 am - 5.00 pm; Sat-Sun: 2.00 pm - 5.00 pm, De Bosquetplein 7, The museum outlines the natural history of southern Limburg. Modern displays offer an insight into both the recent and distant past. Among the museum's highlights are the remains of enormous Mosasauriers and Giant Turtles found in marlstone at the St Pietersberg caverns. Fossils of all shapes and sizes show how South Limburg has changed in the course of the last 300 million years.
Spaans Gouvernement , +31 (43) 321 13 27, +31 (43) 321 13 27, Wed-Sun: 1.00 pm - 5.00 pm, Vrijthof 18, The museum contains period rooms with mainly 17th and 18th century furnishings, including furniture, silver, porcelain and pottery, glassware and paintings. Two of the rooms have been decorated in the mid-18th century Liège-Maastricht Regence Style.
Coffeeshops (eg. Mississippi on the Wilhelminakade, at the Maas quai)
'Regular' shopping centre, known for its exclusivity.
In the Netherlands, the policy regarding soft drugs (such as weed, hash and magic mushrooms) is lenient. Therefore, there are several coffee- and headshops where you can buy these products. It is tolerated to buy up to 5 grams of marijuana. Make sure you bring your identification card or drivers license with you, because the shops are very strict about age and they will check it no matter how old you look. You have to be at least 18 years old to enter a coffee- or headshop.
The coffee shops in Maastricht have a lot of foreign customers, so they are able to understand Dutch, English, French and German. The Mississippi boat is the most popular with coffee shop visitors from abroad. It is a coffee shop built in a large boat which lays in the Maas river and is certainly worth visiting.
Visit the Uitbalie in the Theater on the Vrijthof for (last minute) tickets to almost any cultural event. Pick up a Week in/Week uit with its weekly English agenda published by MaastrichtNet , or see what students are upto on .
Visit the European Fine Art Fair (TEFAF) This art fair is among the world's leading art fairs. Buyers from all over the world come and visit this fair. More information on www.tefaf.com
In Autumn 2007 a collective made an English Map of Maastricht, the Ekoplan, listing as much fair trade, organic (dutch: 'eko'), second hand and vegetarian initiatives in Maastricht they could find. The map is distributed on strategic spots in town (eg. Stayokay hostel), and also available on-line
Eating out in Maastricht is seldom cheap, with most restaurants catering to a posh older crowd, rather than the student population. On weekdays, good and relatively low-priced sandwiches can be had at Deli Belge and Somethin' Good, both on Tongersestraat, close to the Economics and Law faculties of the Universiteit Maastricht.
Eetcafé De Preuverij , +31 (43) 325 09 03, Mon-Fri: 10.00 am - 10.00 pm; Sat-Sun: 12.00 am-10.00 pm, Kakeberg 6, If you are really hungry, but don't want luxury food then visit this place. Try the **Vesserslatien** sandwich (**cock-and-bull story** sandwich). At night it is a popular drinking venue with students of Maastricht University.
Sour Meat (Zuurvlees in Dutch or Zoer vleis in the local dialect)
Maastricht has many bars, restaurants, pubs and dance clubs, located on Vrijthof and Market Squares, and in the centre of downtown it's nearly impossible to walk around and not see anything to do.
Maastricht is great for a night out (Maastricht is home to both a University & Institute). therefore, lots of students, also lots of foreign companies are based here so a mixture of international pubs & clubs can be found here.
Be sure to check out these places to go drink and have a good time: The Highlander, Falstaff, Twee Heeren, Metamorfoos, C'est La Vie, Take5, and De Allabonneur. They all are very welcoming and have great music to dance to.
Maastricht is known for its yearly "Carnival," a tradition celebrated in many towns in the south of the Netherlands.
Stayokay Maastricht , +31 (43) 750 17 90, +31 (43) 750 17 90, Maasboulevard 101, This hostel opened its doors on 5 April 2007 and offers 38 rooms. It has a deck looking over the Maas river and is a delightful place to have a beer in the evening.
Cafeshamrock (city centre, from 20euro) http://www.cafeshamrock.nl/hostel/hostel.htm
Hip Hotel St. Martenslane Maastricht , +31 (43) 321 11 11, +31 (43) 321 11 11, St. Maartenslaan 1-7, **Hip Hotel St. Martenslane Maastricht** is the most affordable trendy Bed & Breakfast designe hotel in Maastricht city centre.
Townhouse Designhotel Maastricht , +31 (43) 321 11 11, +31 (43) 321 11 11, St. Maartenslaan 5, **Townhouse Designhotel Maastricht** is a new and innovative hotel concept located in Maastricht city centre.
Bastion Deluxe Hotel Maastricht , +31 (43) 321 22 22, Boschstraat 27, **Bastion Deluxe Hotel Maastricht** is part of a Dutch chain of four star hotels at sub-four star prices. If you are used to the full four star service this will be a disappointment, but it is only a five minute walk into the city center of Maastricht and provides free wireless internet service.
Hotel MABI , +31 (43) 351 44 44, +31 (43) 351 44 44, Kleine Gracht 24, The **Hotel MABI**, just off the market place, must be owned by a group of dentists. Little jars of sweets are everywhere in the public spaces. However, that is about the only redeeming feature of the hotel.
NH Hotel Maastricht , +31 (43) 383 82 81, +31 (43) 383 82 81, Forum 110, The **NH Hotel Maastricht** is about a 25 minutes walk from the city center, but very convenient if you are attending a conference or fair in the Maastricht Exhibition & Congress Centre next door. The hotel is comfortable enough, however, only the
Hotel De Pauwenhof , +31 (43) 350 33 33, +31 (43) 350 33 33, Boschstraat 70, **De Pauwenhof** is a small hotel with a family run feel. It has recently been refurbished with air conditioning in all 15 rooms. There is no restaurant in the evening, but with all the eateries in central Maastricht within a few minutes walk, who really cares?
Design Hotel Eden , +31 (43) 328 25 25, +31 (43) 328 25 25, Stationsstraat 40, If you're bored of identi-kit hotel rooms then **Design Hotel Eden** will be a breath of fresh air. All the rooms are comfortably furnished in a variety of modern styles. You'll appreciate a philosophy that doesn't put a desk in your room so you can relax properly; and with the centre of Maastricht less than 5 minutes walk away that's easy to do.
Kruisherenhotel , +31 (43) 329 20 20, +31 (43) 329 20 20, Kruisherengang 19 - 23, A beautifully renovated gothic monastery in the center of Maastricht, complete with a church, is a rather spectacular stage for an unusally stylish hotel.
Maybe even more than in other parts of the Netherlands, people know how to speak foreign languages. So don't worry if you don't speak Dutch, many Maastrichtenaars are happy to converse with you in English, German or even French.
Maastricht is an especially popular tourist destination in the Netherlands because of its historical old center and broad shopping possibilities. The city is home to approximately 120,000 people. The University of Maastricht attracts many national and foreign students to the city. Geographically, the city is split in half by a major river (the Maas), with the majority of commercial activity being concentrated on the Western bank of the river, and the train station and the Bonnefanten Museum on the Eastern side.
The VVV is a branch office of the Dutch national tourist agency. The office offers maps, souvenirs, and local, regional, and national travel suggestions. They can be located in Maastricht at Wycker Brugstraat 24, in the city center.
For information about all (cultural) events in Maastricht, try to find a copy of the Week in Week uit . They are distributed all around the city. Also visit Crossroads , a webzine in English for expatriates in Maastricht.
Holy mass in Catholic churches in Maastricht:
Sint Matthiaskerk, Boschstraat 99. Sat: 17:30; Sun: 11:15; Tue-Fri: 08:30
World War II Netherlands American Cemetery and Memorial: take the N278 9.5 kilometers (6 miles) east of Maastricht. The cemetery is located just west of the village of Margraten. Open daily except for December 25 and January 1; 9:00 a.m. to 5:00 p.m. The cemetery is the final resting place for 8,301 American military dead. A monument is inscribed with the names of 1,723 Americans whose remains were never found or identified. The site contains a chapel and museum with three engraved operations maps describing the European Campaign.
Caves in the Sint Pietersberg: Although the limestome caves are actually mines, it is nice to take a guided tour through the belly of the berg. In the Second World War, the Dutch stored their national arts collections in a vault in the hill, and a lot of engravings - some more old than the other - are to be admired. Entrances lie at several places on the mountain, and are well within walking distance of the town center. Plan in advance to make sure you can get in.
Valkenburg aan de Geul: This historic town was beseiged many times and many traces remain to be seen, including Valkenburg castle. Along with tours of the old mines there is also a popular spa and a casino.
The photos displayed on this page are the property of one of the following authors:
This travel guide also includes text from Wikitravel articles, all available at View full credits
Jim DeLaHunt, Ivo Louppen, firstname.lastname@example.org, Mart, Sjoerd van Wijk, David, Sueli Brodin, Philipp Sch., Pascal Schoenmaekers, Klaus, Kasper Souren, Colin Jensen, Tom Holland, Eric Polk, Ryan Holliday, Joshua Ely and Michele Ann Jenkins, Globe-trotter, BadJelly123, Episteme, Hbar.cc, Brendio and Huttite
This travel guide also includes text from Wikipedia articles, all available at View full credits