‘As you approach the south of the Netherlands, a sense of calm comes over you. Your breathing and heart rate slow as stress and haste make way for relaxation. Walking becomes strolling, and your senses awaken – there is so much to see, smell, and taste! You want to take the time to experience and enjoy them. That was my experience years ago when I first came to Maastricht, long before I became mayor. You get a sense that it is an honour and privilege to live and work here. Visitors to the city often describe it as feeling very un-Dutch. You’ll never get used to it. I still feel honoured every day.’
Dynamism and inspiration
‘Maastricht has the air of a city that enjoys a challenge; it has such dynamism and is a source of inspiration. But being a compact city, you don’t get overwhelmed by everything like you sometimes do in a bigger city. And then there’s that constant weekend feeling – giving you the space and opportunity to switch off and take the time to open your eyes to what is happening around you.
Heart of Europe
This is the heart of Europe, and we are working hard on its future. And then there’s the cultural sphere... I recently heard that Maastricht is the Netherlands’ second city in terms of the culture on offer, and that’s without even starting to think about the wonderful array of shops, cafés, restaurants, and bars.
‘Mestreechter Geis’: the Spirit of Maastricht
‘In Maastricht, we also take the time for each other and for our guests, not just at the dining table but also in the shops, stopping for a chat in the park... everywhere in fact. The people of Maastricht – with their typical “Spirit of Maastricht” – are great people, from the older Maastrichtenaren whose families have been here for generations to the later arrivals and young students. They are sociable, open, helpful, and fun-loving.
The best tip we can give is:
Enjoyable moments should be shared with others. ‘It’s hard to think of just a few tips for a visit to Maastricht. Just do as the locals do. Slow down, take a stroll, and look up and around you. Follow your nose, especially if it lures you into a cosy pub or onto a bustling café terrace. Enjoy everything together. And above all, take your time.’