"The Netherlands’ Deep South" Maastricht by Nemorino

Maastricht Travel Guide: 1,286 reviews and 3,325 photos

If you look at a map of the Netherlands, you will see that the country is shaped roughly (very roughly) like a parallelogram.

But if you look at the lower right hand corner of this parallelogram you will see an oddly-shaped appendage dangling like a swollen tail down into a bit of left-over landscape between Belgium and Germany.

This appendage is the landstreek of South Limburg. It is connected to the rest of the Netherlands by a narrow strip of land which at its narrowest point is less than five kilometers wide, just enough space for a river, a harbor (Holtum-Noord), a town, a motorway, a double-track railway, some fields and a patch of woods.

Down towards the bottom, the appendage widens out a bit so there is room for some hills (more hills than in all the rest of the Netherlands put together, in fact) and for the city of Maastricht. This is a pleasant old city of 120,000 people on the banks of the Maas River, better known in French and English as the Meuse.

Maastricht is a lively university city with a high percentage of foreign students. Because of its location It is predestined to be a very international place, since it is only 26 km from the Belgian city of Liège and 30 km from the German city of Aachen, but over 70 km from Venlo, the closest city in the Netherlands with over 100,000 inhabitants.

Indeed Maastricht is best known today as the place where the Treaty of Maastricht was signed by representatives of twelve European countries in 1992, setting the ground rules for the creation of the European Union and the Euro as the common European currency.

People in Maastricht seem to be quite proud of this (even when the Euro is in the throes of some sort of crisis, which it usually is) and there is even a big new square in Maastricht called “Plein 1992” in honor of the Treaty and the Euro.

I first visited Maastricht in August 2012 (during a heat wave) and returned briefly with a group of VirtualTourist members in May 2015 to go on a self-guided walking tour starting at the city tourist office in the Thing House.

  • Last visit to Maastricht: May 2015
  • Intro Updated May 25, 2015
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Reviews (33)

Comments (25)

  • pieter_jan_v's Profile Photo
    Nov 16, 2014 at 12:43 PM

    Don, I have a laugh about the fact that the general Maastricht Travel Guide opens with your Favorites Dutch girls on bicycles. PJ

  • aussirose's Profile Photo
    Nov 9, 2013 at 5:00 PM

    Nice pictures Don. That boat you stayed on looks nice :o) Hugs, Ann.

    • Nemorino's Profile Photo
      Nov 12, 2013 at 2:50 PM

      Thanks, Ann. Maastricht is less than 20 km from Tongeren, where the 2015 meeting will be held, and I think Kirsty is planning to have an excursion there.

    • aussirose's Profile Photo
      Nov 13, 2013 at 1:55 AM

      I know Don. That is why I visited your page :o) We are coming to Tongeren and so are quite a few Aussies :o) It'll be an invasion so to speak lol. Can't wait!! Hugs xx

  • blueskyjohn's Profile Photo
    Nov 6, 2013 at 8:47 AM

    Great tour of Maastricht. As always, very informative!

  • Mikebb's Profile Photo
    Sep 14, 2013 at 5:04 PM

    Hi Don, Thanks for the tour of Maastricht. On our river cruise August 2012, we had the choice of day visit of Maastricht or visit to Venlo for Floriade. We chose Floriade as we wanted to view the Orchid displays and other flowers. Amazed at the size of Floriade, but we did not see anything of Venlo.

  • rosata's Profile Photo
    Aug 17, 2013 at 5:49 AM

    Good information, Don! It will come in handy for me in 2015 as it is a part of Europe I have yet to visit.

  • hunterV's Profile Photo
    Mar 4, 2013 at 10:53 PM

    Hello, Don! Thanks for your comprehensive page full of explanations and comparison... You look deeply into the matter...That's what I try doing too...)

    • Nemorino's Profile Photo
      Mar 6, 2013 at 10:15 AM

      Thanks for your ratings and your very nice comment on my Maastricht page.

  • Trekki's Profile Photo
    Mar 4, 2013 at 10:23 PM

    No opera this time, Don? Thank you for a fascinating insight into Maastricht :-)

    • Nemorino's Profile Photo
      Mar 6, 2013 at 9:33 AM

      No, Maastricht doesn't even have an opera house, so no chance. Also it was summer, so the nearby opera houses in Antwerp, Gent and Aachen were closed.
      Thanks for your ratings and nice comment on my Maastricht page.

  • Bwana_Brown's Profile Photo
    Mar 3, 2013 at 12:49 PM

    Another great page Don. I like the idea of spending a floating night in a 'Botel' - quite a change! Great tips on the bicycles too, especially how the street traffic signs/lights take into consideration the danger of motorized traffic. The Gronsveld windmill has quite an interesting history and looks great. It appears that another old-timer, the limestone quarry, will soon be coming to an end.

    • Nemorino's Profile Photo
      Mar 6, 2013 at 9:21 AM

      Thanks, Glenn. I was afraid the Botel was going to be loud and raunchy, but it turned out to be very pleasant. Glad you liked the bicycle and windmill tips.

  • CatherineReichardt's Profile Photo
    Dec 31, 2012 at 11:43 PM

    Hi Don
    So interesting to explore the city behind the infamous treaty!
    Reading your page just reinforced what cultural diversity there is in this little corner of the world where three countries come together. What a pity so many tourists neglect this region for the more 'glamorous' mass tourism locations, but I guess that their loss is our gain!

  • traveldave's Profile Photo
    Nov 19, 2012 at 5:51 AM

    Way down in the corner of the Netherlands, Maastricht seems to be off the beaten path. I never knew much about the city and enjoyed learning something about it through reading your page.

    • Nemorino's Profile Photo
      Nov 20, 2012 at 8:38 AM

      Hi David, thanks for your ratings and nice comment on my Maastricht page.


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