MAASTRICHT: A city of “joie de vivre”!

Maastricht is a river city located on both sides of the river Meuse/Maas. It is debated as the oldest city in the Netherlands, serving as a Roman settlement and a medieval religious center. Today, it is a modernized, industrialized city housing 1677 national heritage sites (Rijksmonumenten). It is the birthplace of the European Union, the European citizenship and the euro. It is also a proud member of the Most Ancient European Towns Network.

Maas Promenade
Maas Promenade

After enjoying our little visit to Château Neercannemy wonderful Dutch host and I went further downtown to explore the vibrant city of Maastricht. It is a cultural and historical haven, if I may say, with beautiful narrow and cobbled streets, colorful buildings, ancient churches and ruins, and of course, the river Maas and its bridges. The Maas Promenade offers a wonderful walk, and there you can find the oldest bridge in the Netherlands – the Sint Servaasbrug. It was named after Saint Servatius, the first bishop of Maastricht.

Me with Sint Servaasbrug in the background
Me with the river Meuse and Sint Servaasbrug in the background
Me with Sint Servaasbrug in the background
Me with the River Meuse and Sint Servaasbrug in the background
Sint Servaasbrug, the oldest bridge in the Netherlands
Sint Servaasbrug, the oldest bridge in the Netherlands

Aside from the Sint Servaasbrug, one can also admire the Hoge Brug, or “high bridge”, a pedestrian and cycle bridge. I managed to snap a shot of it from a distance.

Hoge Brug
Hoge Brug

At the city center, I was awed to see some familiar streets. Familiar because they look exactly the same as the streets in Brussels, which I also visited with my host during the visit. There were squares also filled with beautiful art installations, monuments and exhibitions.

Maastricht street corner
Maastricht street corner
Art installations
Art installations
Maastricht narrow street
Maastricht narrow street
Maastricht narrow street
Maastricht narrow street

One famous building in the heart of the city is the Ding Huis, literally the “Thing House”. It is a medieval courthouse with prison cells built around the 1400s. A National Monument, it now serves as a tourist information center.

The Ding Huis
The Ding Huis

Also in the city is one of the world’s most beautiful squares, the Vrijthof. It is famous for its restaurants and cafes, and the St. Servatius Basilica, a Romanesque cathedral with crypts and treasures. Pilgrims go to the square to visit the grave of Saint Servatius. Another popular landmark is the impressive Sint Janskerk or St. John’s Cathedral, an amazing 13th century Gothic church made with red stones!

Vrijthof Square with the Sint Janskerk and St. Servatius Basilica
Vrijthof Square with the Sint Janskerk and St. Servatius Basilica
St. Servatius Basilica
St. Servatius Basilica
At Vrijthof Square
At Vrijthof Square
Vrijthof Square
Vrijthof Square

The sights mentioned above are just some of the things to see and experience in the city of Maastricht. There’s more, I promise, and them I’ll write about in the next entry (ies)! 😀 Cheers!

Having an ice cream in Maastricht
Having an ice cream in Maastricht
Just me at Maas Promenade
Just me at Maas Promenade

P.S. “joie de vivre” is French for life’s vibrance. 😉 The languages the Maastrichtenaar (or Mestreechteneer or Sjeng) speaks is diverse — Dutch, French, Limburgish, German and English.

 

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