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10 Cultural Things to Do in Maastricht-->
As well as being home to the EuroSTAR Software Testing Conference this year, Maastricht is also home to a plethora of museums, cafés, book shops and theatres. This guide will take you through some things that you should definitely do if you’re visiting the city for the Conference or at any time of year.
Maastricht may be most recently famous for the 1992 Treaty creating the European Union but the city can trace its roots back to 50 B.C. when it was established by the Romans and became the capital of Limburg province. The city has had a varied history since then but is recognised now as one of the most cultural cities in the Netherlands. With that in mind we thought we would take a look at some important cultural events and places for you to check out.
1. The Carnival
Just before the beginning of Lent each spring, Maastricht hosts a carnival that’s tradition stretches back over two hundred years. The Carnival begins on the Saturday before Shrove Tuesday with with a ceremony in the Hall of Maastricht with the Mayor of the city. On Sunday, there is a gun salute and the hoisting of the Mooswief (an old woman dressed in traditional clothes which is the symbol of the Maastricht carnival). The Mooswief will remain there until Tuesday. On Monday the family parade occurs with Shrove Tuesday see the bands marching and playing in the main square; the Vrijth.
Taking place every March for 10 days, the European Fine Art fair is the largest art fair in the world. It presents 260 of the worlds leading galleries and art dealers from 20 countries, showcasing some of the best works of art currently on the market. This years fair showcased work by Mostaert, Velázquez and Cézanne.
The Great State is a street in the centre of Maastricht . The street is part of the historic main route between Vrijthof Plaza and St. Servaas Bridge . The Great State is located in the pedestrian area and is the main shopping street of Maastricht. Stop here at one of the many cafes or brasseries and enjoy the surroundings and do some people watching.
A landmark sight in Maastricht, this spelt mill makes a great stop for lunch or gift shopping with a shop stocked with speciality produce made on site. Tours are conducted on the site which includes a working mill wheel where you can learn about the history of farming in the region and those who used the mill.
No list of cultural expeditions would be complete without mentioning the Theater aan het Vrijthof. Built in the early 19th century neo-classical style, this historic building on Vrijthof Platz was once a medieval palace. Some limestone cellar arches of the monastery are still visible in the foyer of the theatre.
6. Andre Rieu Concerts
Enjoy André’s summer evening concerts in Vrijthof Platz, known as the most romantic square in the Netherlands. For 11 years running André Rieu and the Johann Strauss Orchestra have entertained audiences with unique performances, alongside soloists and guest appearances. Join the party and enjoy the irresistible waltzes, classical music, operetta and musicals for an unforgettable evening of culture.
In the very centre of the old town stands the Derlon Hotel. Several years ago during reconstruction of the hotel, archaeologists found several Roman remains, which have been left visible in the Derlon Museum Cellar. You can also see 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.
A large statue, situated at the top end of the Aldenhof Park which lies alongside the old city walls. D’Artagnan is probably most known as featuring in Alexendre Dumas novels, in particular The Three musketeers. The real life D’Artagnan was Captain-Lieutenant of the Musketeers. He died in a battle in Maastricht, whilst fighting for his King in 1673. The statue makes a great excuse for a stroll through this lovely park taking in all that a tour of the old city walls has to offer.
9. The Hoppy Brothers
A visit to the Hoppy Brothers Craft Beerhouse showcases exactly why the Netherlands is so famous for its craft beers. It is THE shop for gourmets who love a good beer. The huge variety of special beers including dark, triple, blond, bock, trappist, geuze, kriek and Irish red are imported from a wide variety of countries but also plenty of Dutch micro breweries and local breweries especially De Fontein and Stoombierbrouwerij De Keyzer. The owners are very eager to advise and visitors will feel like they are in Beer Heaven between the amazing choice and reasonable prices.
A 13th century Gothic style Dominican church converted into an impressive contemporary bookstore. The building that houses the store is in fact a Gothic church consecrated in 1294 by the Order of Predicators founded by St. Dominic. The church has not hosted a religious function since 1794, when the church was confiscated by Napoleon’s army for military purposes. Since then, the space has been used as a town archive, warehouse and even an inglorious site for bike storage. In 2005, Boekhandels Groep Nederland (BGN) decided to give new life to the building by transforming it into what is now one of the world’s most incredible bookstores.