We are so much more than just Amsterdam. When travelling, Amsterdam might be the first that comes to mind. But we have more to offer than our beautiful beaches, colourful houses and canals. When you travel further south across the river, you will find the city of Maastricht. I wouldn’t call it a hidden gem, but if you want to experience the Burgundian lifestyle in the Netherlands? Maastricht is a delicacy full of culture, gorgeous architecture, incredible art, little boutiques and exquisite cuisine. 

Ducklings for a day

Maastricht is a delight for anyone who loves history. But even if you do not, you will feel as if time has stood still here. Every nook and cranny is filled with historical architectural designs mixed in with modern living. Maastricht has something for everyone. Young and old have left their mark throughout the city. There are so many untold stories because of the sheer amount of sightseeing. Some neighbourhoods, such as the Sphinxkwartier, will showcase a high point in Maastricht’s industrial history. I recommend taking a tour with a guide along some of the lesser-known spots in the city. And believe me, it took some convincing before going on a walking tour. I found it a very “un-sexy” thing: walking with a tour guide waving around their neon orange flag, telling their ducklings where to go. However, I believe it opened a world for me. 

Unexpected art

Maastricht is the home to some of the most inspiring architectural surprises. One of these surprises is Fotomuseum aan het Vrijthof. Now I might have a bias about this museum. I love an excellent photography museum, but this one was truly inspiring. The building is a work of art: a combination of an old Spanish palace and a modern architectural masterpiece. The museum focuses predominantly on an interactive display of art to draw attention to the significance of the narrative given by the exhibition. In addition to presenting the work of photographers from around the world, local exhibitions are held throughout the Netherlands. 

Another museum that is trying to break free from the norm, the Bonnefanten will be an exciting visit. They showcase performance art, endurance art, and art in its most accurate form. For example, it can sometimes frustrate me to see banners made for protests collecting dust on a wall. However, as the Bonnefanten organises events to showcase art, the banners, for example, are intended to be used in a strike (all in good nature, of course). I was very pleased to see how they go back to the heart of the art collection and see how they could showcase it in a different format. 

Redirecting, repurposing, and redesigning 

For the people who aren’t the biggest art lovers, Maastricht has plenty of cultural delights for you too. A short walk from the city centre lies the Sphinxkwartier. Here you can find multiple cinemas like the well-known Pathe cinema. If you want something more authentic, a beautiful cultural heritage building is repurposed and redesigned into the most gorgeous cinema. Cinema Lumiere presents all the new arthouse movies and documentaries as well as rescreens of all the old classics. After watching the movie, you can visit the adjacent cafe located in an old power plant that is part of one of the old Sphinx factories. 

For the foodies that want to enjoy a fresh cup of coffee, there is a coffee roastery around the corner in the same neighbourhood. Located on top of this roastery is the restaurant NOVO New Dining. A new restaurant where chef Rodney Welters presents dishes inspired by their travels without losing their love for the french kitchen. The restaurant’s intimate setting creates a warm ambiance where the chef tells you about the dish, its secret ingredients, the choices behind each element, and the accompanying wine. 

Visit  www.visitmaastricht.com for more information about this city