Maastricht discover the oldest and nicest city in Holland
Maastricht is the oldest and according to many also the nicest city in the country. Maastricht emerged about 50 years before Christ at a place on the Meuse that could be waded through. At the time, the area was mainly inhabited by farmers and hunters. 15 years after Christ, the Romans conquered the area for its strategically important location on the Meuse. The Romans saw the importance of the region and quickly built reinforcements there. Maastricht quickly developed into a stop on a very important trade route between Tongeren and Cologne at that time.
The struggles of Maastricht
Maastricht has always seen a struggle throughout history. The development of the city into a center of culture, religion and trade was a reason for the Spaniards to attack the city in the 16th century. However, the city was defended hand and tooth by the Dutch. Since then there has always been a struggle for the area and it has never really calmed down.
Maastricht and the 80 year war
The local population has always been under siege around the area. The region has therefore changed its authority several times. After the 80-year war, the area became a colony of the Republic of the United Netherlands. This completely ignored the inhabitants of the region and it was even forbidden to confess the Catholic faith.
Then came Napoleon Bonaparte
Soon the so-called French period came when Maastricht surrendered to the armies of Napoleon Bonaparte on November 5, 1794. Again the city was subject to all kinds of changes. After the domination of the French armies of Napoleon, Belgium actually belonged to the Kingdom of the Netherlands. However, in the Belgian uprising of 1830, Limburg actually wanted to belong to “the south”.
Dutch or Belgian ?
If it were up to the Limburgers you were not Dutch but Belgians. In the end, Maastricht remained loyal to King Willem 1. That happened under the leadership of then-fortress commander Lieutenant-General Baron Dibbets. He was so fed up with the fight that he was sending an army south to teach those Belgians a lesson. All of that seems to be going well until the great powers England and France got involved in the issue. The Dutch troops were ordered to withdraw. However, with this military action, which has become known as the ten-day campaign, William 1 could force a better division of the area for him.
Nowadays, Maastricht is a bustling city with a wide variety of activities and sights. The bustling heart of the city is filled with cafés, terraces, eateries and restaurants that ensure the Burgundian atmosphere of the city. But the city is also rich in sights, just think of the Martini tower or the St. Servaas Basilica.
The city’s fortifications
Those who like to immerse themselves in history will certainly be in their element in and around Maastricht. Take a look at Fort Sint Pieter, for example, or visit the famous and beautiful marl caves in the area. Everywhere in and around the city you can still find parts of the old fortifications of the city such as the Onze Lieve Vrouwewal. The city of Maastricht has seen quite a few well-known historical characters.
Over the centuries they have all stood at the gates of Maastricht, just think of the “iron duke” Alva or “city dweller” Frederik Hendrik of Orange, and what about D’Artagnan, the world-famous musketeer. The musketeers are historically linked to the Waldeck Bastion where the most famous musketeer of all namely, Captain D’Artagnan died in 1673.
The Maas River
Of course, a walk along the beautiful Maas should not be missing. The river Maas is where the city owes everything and runs straight through the city. Maastricht also has beautiful architectural structures such as bridges in and around the city such as the Sint Servaasbrug and the Wilhelminabrug.
The Marl Caves
Limburg as a province is also known for its caves. The caves that have been carved into large Marbled stone areas are partly open to the public. Always be smart to enter the caves only with a guide. You can easily get lost in the networks of tunnels.
The Lichtenberg ruines
On the east side of St. Pietersberg (this is on the side where the Maas is located) is a very special place, the Ruins Lichtenberg. Without a doubt this is the oldest castle remains in the country. The restaurant stands on foundations dating back to the 10th century. The more elevated parts date from the 12th and 15th centuries and are made of sandstone and marl. A small climb to the highest point gives the visitor a magnificent view of almost the entire Maasdal.
If you are going to see Maastricht, a visit to the Bisschopsmolen should certainly not be missed. The mill is located in the Jekerkwartier, a romantic part of Maastricht with the Bisschopsmolen as the highlight. The mill dates from the 11th century. At the rear of the mill you will find the still working water wheel. Since 2005, the mill has also been operating as a traditional bakery.
An inescapable part of Maastricht is of course the market. You simply cannot ignore this. Markets have been organized here for centuries. The square is located in the center of Maastricht and, in addition to a number of restaurants, also houses the Maastricht town hall.
In short, Maastricht is the city that you must see if you have visited the Netherlands or Limburg. The city is full of history and beautiful buildings, but also for a drink and a snack you are in the right place in Maastricht. That is better, because when you walk around the area you will soon notice that there are a few nice roe biters in the area. The hills of Limburg may not be the highest mountains, but you can surprise the rise percentage. But once it is above it is always more than worth it.