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Blick auf Maastricht, Bild: Jullex / shutterstock

Maastricht: An exciting mix of ancient and modern

In the far south of the Netherlands is Maastricht. The university city is also the capital of the province of Limburg. With its almost 120,000 inhabitants, however, the city scores more with “village” charm than with capital city flair. Don’t be fooled. Maastricht is a city that has a lot to offer. Above all, an exciting mix of antiquity and modernity.

Why a trip to Maastricht is worthwhile

Maastricht is a holiday destination that leaves nothing to be desired. In doing so, the city manages to create a symbiosis between old and new like no other. In addition to impressive, ancient buildings, there are galleries and museums of modern art. This should come as no surprise, as it is one of the country’s most important university cities. Therefore, the capital of Limburg can boast a charm of its own. If you are not yet completely convinced of this variety, you will be after a look at the geographical location at the latest. Because the region in and around Maastricht is known for its breathtaking nature.

These sights should not be missed in Maastricht

Bars Maastricht
Cozy get-together in the old town of Maastricht, Image: Harry Beugelink / shutterstock

Of course, Maastricht attracts with almost countless sights. However, if you visit the city, you should not miss the following attractions.
If you don’t just want to immerse yourself in the history of the city, you can do so in Maastricht without any problems. For this purpose, you book a guided tour through the grottoes of St. Pieter. This is an underground grotto system. And that’s a tough one. With a length of almost 80 km, it runs through the entire city. This complex has existed under Maastricht for more than 1000 years. In the past, miners mined the coveted sand-lime brick here; during wartime, the grotto system served as a shelter. Not only is the complex spectacularly large, it also contains an impressive underground dome and a secret shelter.

History can also be found in the unofficial “most beautiful bookstore” in the world. And not only in printed form. The bookstore is located in the oldest Gothic church in the Netherlands, the Dominican Church. In this venerable wall, several thousand books are available for literature fans. If you don’t like books quite as much, you should still visit the bookstore. In addition to the probably unique setting, the bookstore also houses a café, which not only serves “bookworms”.

No building in Maastricht stands for the balancing act between antiquity and modern times as much as the Bonnafantenmuseum. The museum not only stands out from the crowd with its futuristic construction, but also houses a unique exhibition. Because both masters of ancient and contemporary art are shown. The range of works of art on display is wide-ranging and ranges from historical paintings to works of minimalism. Depending on the season, exhibitions of the municipal art academy also take place.

Sint-Lambertuskerk, Maastricht
Sint-Lambertuskerk, Image: ColorMaker / shutterstock

Not far from the museum is the Vrijthof. This square is probably one of the most famous sights in the city. There is a reason for this, after all, the Vrijthof has a lot to offer. The surrounding shops invite you to shop, while the adjacent cafés promise relaxation. The square is also home to the famous St. John’s Church. With its striking red church tower, it is hard to miss. You should definitely climb the tower and not shy away from the numerous steps. Once at the top, you will be rewarded with a breathtaking view.

The Lumière Cinema Maastricht is not only worth a visit in bad weather. The cinema is in a class of its own. This is already shown by the unique architecture. In the futuristic hall, friends of the industrial style will get their money’s worth. But the program offered can also speak for itself. Arthaus films, classics or documentaries are usually shown. After the performance, you can fortify yourself in the in-house restaurant and enjoy the view of the water.

Insider tip: A walk through the old town

In Maastricht, it is worth exploring the city on foot. You should not miss the Maastricht market in the city centre. In addition to the architectural diversity, you will also be overwhelmed with a selection of goods on offer. On more than 200 stalls, traders offer all the specialties that the country has to offer. If you need to relax from this, you can either relax in one of the numerous cafés or regenerate with a walk through the city park. The park has existed for almost 200 years and is therefore one of the oldest in the Netherlands. Whichever route you choose, you should end your walk on the St. Servatius Bridge. Because the bridge from the 13th century is not only the landmark of the city, you can also enjoy a wonderful view of the old town here.