Maastricht: Worth a visit by E ALAN
There are some cities which are ideal for a one day visit. When you have left the city in the evening after a long day of walking and sightseeing, you wouldn’t comment ‘I want to see more’. Maastricht belongs surely to the group of cities which offer enough for those who like short trips. Although Maastricht belongs to the Netherlands, the city has more connections to Belgium, Germany (Rhineland), Luxemburg and partly the north east of France. Maastricht is literally situated between these countries. So, you might be able to visit the city not only when you are in Amsterdam, but also from Brussels, Cologne or Luxemburg. But the city’s relation to these areas is not only geographically. Also culturally it is a mix of different styles and tastes. In this sense it is one of the cities in the Netherlands which has not the typical Dutch flower on it. From architecture to food, the French- Belgium influences are very clear. While wandering through the city, one can perfectly enjoy the mixture of cultural differences that are melted in the old city center along the river Maas. By exploring Maastricht you even don’t need a guide. Just use your instincts and you will see until the end of the day you will have discovered the landmarks by yourself. A visit during the month of December will have an additional value as Maastricht offers many activities during the Christmas season.
Maastricht also has an interesting historical heritage. It is known as one of the earliest area of Celtic settlements. The city was build by the soldiers of the Roman Emperor Julius Caesar. During the middle ages it was one of the main posts of the Franks and Christian activities. After the middle ages it was regularly handed over between the French and the Dutch kingdoms and republics. The long history has left its traces. Those who like to be discover the past also don’t need more than a day to dive in.
Speaking about the past we should not forget Europe, for which Maastricht also plays an important role. The famous ‘Maastricht Treaty’ which introduced the Euro was signed here in 1992. Expectations from the city were high. As a perfect ambassador of Europe it had to benefit more of the Union. The city couldn’t benefit from its crossroad situation. Maybe because of the decline of economic potential of its German neighbors.
Whatever, Maastricht offers what we might call the north-west European culture and has enough to be the cultural and political center of this area in the coming decades. Unfortunately, its destiny is related to that of Europe, more than any of another city in the Netherlands.
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Latest update: May 10, 2010