Cultural Experience | Netherlands

Spring in Maastricht: Five Reasons to Visit the City

Five reasons why do you need to visit Maastricht

“He who is outside his door already has the hardest part of his journey behind him.” — Dutch proverb

In spring 2018, I visited a wonderful province of Limburg, the Netherlands and I had a chance to explore Maastricht, its largest city and capital. It was such a lovely time to visit Maastricht because this city has many things to offer, from beautiful natural scenery to ancient and modern buildings. It is worth to note that Maastricht is located in the sunniest part of the Netherlands and situated in the heart of Western Europe. Now, getting to know more, I will list down five reasons why you should visit this splendid city at least one day trip.

Prior to traveling consideration, the first question across your mind is probably: “How to get there?” Unfortunately, the flights from Amsterdam to Maastricht Airport were discontinued on 26 October 2008 as a result travelers can choose between two possibilities: either you can plan your journey by train or by bus or you can rent a car. The estimated time of arrival to get between the two cities by train is about 2 hours and 20 minutes. Traveling by train is perhaps the fastest way, including transfers and departs every 20 minutes but it depends on the route you take. Moreover, you have to check whether there is construction work on the railway track in your journey planner because it can take longer than expected. Further, the distance between Amsterdam and Maastricht is approximately 178 km (with road distance is around 216 km). In addition, if you will be traveling from Germany or Belgium, you can also have option to use bus or train. Therefore, please choose wisely.

Once you get there, you can explore the city by walk or you can rent a bicycle near Maastricht station.

Maastricht Station

Natural Beauty, Astonishing Architecture, and shopping place

Undoubtedly, Maastricht is home to beautiful scenery and amazing architecture. To start the journey, you can begin with the main square, het Vrijthof (a large square in the city center filled with historic buildings). Some of the attractions are Saint Han and Saint Servaas. If you are lucky enough to visit on certain days, an open market also fills the square. The big one is Maastricht Friday Market; you can buy cheese, fruits, vegetables, meat, and fish with affordable price. Maastricht is also a perfect place to go shopping. Although all shops are open 7 days a week including shopping night every Thursday until 9 PM, there are a few exceptions on the weekend and public holidays. Checking the schedule of available stores is a good thing. On its hidden place of nature, a must-visit place is absolutely the Mount Saint Peter Caves, it is one of the highest spots in the country. The caves were used as a refuge in wars when the city was under siege. This place is accessible to several entrances; you can walk about 25 minutes from the city center. Another must-see attraction is Sint Servaasbrug, it is a footbridge across the Meuse River. It has been called as the oldest bridge in the Netherlands. From this point, you can see boat tours near the main bridge. Moreover, the river separates Maastricht into two distinct halves.

Great Cuisine and Cultural Festival

What is the best about Maastricht? Obviously Dutch snacks (for me). You will find stroopwafels and appeltaart here, the Limburg Pie is worth to try as the most popular one. If you want to try local foods, the streets surrounding the main square (and on the other side of the river near Rechstraat) are packed with shops and cafes. As for spring festival, there are several cultural festivals in the spring season ranging from art exhibitions, concerts, and lightshows in public spaces.

Thousands of Flowers

Spring is one of the most beautiful times of the year to visit European Countries including Maastricht. Why? Because the days are getting longer and the flowers come out in bloom. From mid-March to the end of May, the tulips and other flowers such as cherry blossom or magnolia transform big parts of Holland into a colorful fields of flowers. If you are traveling to Maastricht in spring, you will discover flowers with gorgeous color everywhere.

Birth Place of European Union

According to its outstanding feature and distinct history, Maastricht is considerably the oldest city in the Netherlands inhabited since Roman times. As one of the oldest cities in the Netherlands, Maastricht has a rich cultural history and historical events. For instance, in 1992, twelve Member States formed the European Union (EU) concluded ‘Treaty of Maastricht or well known as Maastricht Treaty’ as birth certificate of EU and introduction of the Euro as single currency. This city has become a good place to reminisce Maastricht Treaty, its historic legislation as fundamental importance of the establishment of EU. Stone memorial is located in front of the entry to the Limburg Province government building in Maastricht.

Border Zone and Sister Cities

This region reflects diversity of Europe; it is a truly international hub connecting both the Belgian and German borders. Maastricht is a region where three countries meet around Liège, Maastricht, and Aachen, incorporating three countries (the Netherlands, Belgium, and Germany) and having three languages in daily conversation (Dutch, French, and German). Referring to term of “twin town”, Maastricht is also twinned with Chengdu (China). The two cities signed the memorandum of the sister cities relationship in 2012. (P.S.: Do not worry about language barrier, most Dutch people speak fluent English).

To conclude, in my defense, if you are planning a trip to the southern part of the Netherlands, Maastricht shall be included in your bucket list. You will not regret getting to this city because Maastricht will have special place in your heart.

Firly Permata

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Firly is originally from Jakarta, Indonesia and currently resides in Los Angeles, California to pursue her studies. Her interests including exploring new countries and cities, visiting exhibitions, and walking in the countryside.

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