Most people associate Maastricht with fun, drinks, laughter, and amusement. How could it be otherwise? After all, this is the city that is also referred to as the ‘capital of the good life’. The Sphinx Quarter, a bustling district just outside the city centre, takes this a step further. Here industry, culture, and gastronomic enjoyment go hand in hand. It's an unusual combination. Featuring ‘t Bassin, a pop music venue, an art cinema, and – not to be overlooked – a number of buildings dating from the heyday of Maastricht’s ceramics industry, this district is a great place to explore on foot.
Let’s start at ‘t Bassin: a small recreational harbour surrounded by warehouses, art galleries, and delightful restaurants. This hidden gem, which once served to connect the Zuid-Willemsvaart and the Liège-Maastricht Canal, has since been transformed into one of the most beautiful corners of the city. Stroll along the water's edge at ‘t Bassin. admiring the boats, stop for refreshments at a café terrace, and pick up a little inspiration in the various shops.
Leave the harbour and climb the steps towards Boschstraat, where you will find a huge dose of culture waiting for you! There are two cinemas located just a stone’s throw away from one another, each with its own identity. If you have the time, you could take in a film. Tight schedule? Just admire the buildings: both cinemas are housed in impressive buildings.
From here on, the route leads seamlessly to Maastricht’s most impressive pedestrian passageway: Sphinxpassage Stroll past the Eiffel Building for a 120-metre-long history lesson about the Sphinx Quarter featuring text, marvellous images, and a unique selection of objects. This passage, which shows the quarter’s past as well as its future, will add extra enjoyment to a wonderful walk in Maastricht’s most industrial district. This part of the city is developing quickly. Like to know more? Just visit the Sphinxpassage!
After some gastronomic enjoyment and a healthy dose of culture, it is time to relax. The best place to start is by wandering in the direction of the abandoned warehouses, where you can enjoy some fabulous images painted by numerous graffiti artists, admittedly in a rather ‘arty-farty’ setting.
But that’s not all! There is more culture here. You are only a few hundred metres from the Muziekgieterij, Maastricht’s finest pop concert venue. Big names in the music world perform in this splendidly-converted warehouse every week. Catering to all tastes, the programming ranges from reggaeton to live jazz concerts and techno festivals.
Worked up an appetite walking around the Sphinx Quarter? If you’re hungry, you couldn’t be in a better place! A five-minute walk will take you to the lively market square (Markt), with its beautiful seventeenth-century City Hall. Was this a wonderful day? It certainly was!