Dutch are amazing. Somehow they manage to make everything look cool and classy at the same time. For example, Maastricht, one of the oldest cities in Netherlands: 13th-century Dominican Church converted into classy bookstore, flea market outside the main railway station, seas of stylish bicycles instead of vehicles, flowers – everywhere.
We have heard a lot about the city of Maastricht since the young age. To be fair, the most of it came from the history lessons. There we were taught that the history of this city is significant for all us, Europeans. Later on, we heard about it from our school friends who chose to spread their wings there – to study in one of the most popular European universities. So when we found ourselves in less than 100 kilometers from it, read about it is old and preserved beauty, we decided that we need to go on a Thursday day trip. And guess what, Dear Reader? It was awesome!
Short Background, Dry Facts and Several Thoughts
Maastricht is the capital city of Limburg province located just 10 kilometers from Netherlands-Belgium border and not very much further from the Germany. It is the most southeast city in the country, but with its population of just a bit over 120 thousand residents, it won’t even enter the TOP 20 biggest cities in Netherlands list. Nevertheless, it is not the size that matters. Maastricht has the second highest number of national heritage sites in the country – over 1600 to be precise, and is outrunned only by Amsterdam. Checkmate to all the others!
Maastricht’s history started back in the Roman Times when first settlers started creating the city on the shores of the River Meuse. Today Maastricht is situated on both sides of the river and in no way could be so beautiful without it. Actually, the most popular sight of the city is built over the River Meuse. It is the bridge of Saint Servatius, which is together the oldest bridge in whole country.
Throughout the history Maastricht had a lot of roles. It was the religious center in the Middle Ages, the garrison and the industrial center later on, and it is the birthplace of European Union in the modern times. Precisely here, in the year of 1992, by the Maastricht Treaty was created European Union together with European Citizenship and European Currency. Yes, Maastricht is the birthplace of those identical dark red passports that citizens of the member-states share, and, of course, it is the home of euro.
I believe that when city has had so many roles over the centuries, every single one of them has written a lot into city’s visual appearance. And in case of Maastricht, my prejudice turned out more truthful than I have even expected.