If you plan on attending TEFAF this year, you've probably heard of The Royal Collection: a selection of art objects carefully curated by TEFAF as an ode to the 2020 King's Day celebrations in Maastricht. We're adding an extra touch this year by sharing a list of royal hotspots in and around the city that have an air of regality to them.
For example, the vineyard where King Willem-Alexander went wine-tasting and the academy where talented young people stole Queen Maxima’s heart. These ten hotspots haven't gone unnoticed by the royal family and are certainly worth a visit even without the royal pomp and circumstance that surrounds them.
When it comes to heraldic motifs, the Netherlands has the lion and Maastricht has the sphinx, the symbol of the Koninklijke Sphinx pottery factory. This factory is home to the Dutch Industrial Revolution, the famous boerenbont pottery pattern, and the world-famous toilet bowls. It therefore comes as no surprise that Sphinx is regarded as the industrial heart of Maastricht. While the factory closed its doors in 2009, the industrial character of the site has remained untouched, lending the current Sphinxkwartier a contemporary, creative, international, and up-and-coming vibe.
Cheers! And they lived happily ever after... A fairy-tale wedding for a fairy-tale couple calls for wine from an equally exquisite place. Sixty bottles of Riesling 1999 from Hoeve Nekum were served at the wedding of Crown Prince Willem-Alexander and Princess Máxima. At this vineyard, nestled among the rolling green hills just outside Maastricht, you can taste this royal white Riesling and other wines produced from grapes grown in local soil. Close your eyes and picture that historic royal moment from 2 February 2002.
Maastricht and trees go hand in hand. You'll find them in the parks and along the city's many streets, avenues, and canals. They create a fresh, green look and the limes trees in particular give off a wonderful scent. Maastricht is home to some very special trees known as oranjebomen – memorial trees that were planted during important royal events over the past century. The Koningsboom (King's tree) is one of these trees. It was planted in the city park next to the wooden bridge over the Jeker river in 2013 in celebration of the inauguration of the new king. The shiny silver Koningshek (King's Fence) makes the tree easy to spot.
The striking building that houses the provincial government of Limburg is a distinct addition to the Maastricht skyline. Not only is it home to Limburg’s political activities, but it is also where members of the royal family signed the Maastricht Treaty in 1992. The building also serves as a royal home away from home in Limburg, where members of the royal family regularly stay during historic events. Princess Beatrix opened the building in 1986 and King Willem-Alexander and Queen Maxima kicked off their visit to Limburg here on 12 June 2013, following the king’s official inauguration on 30 April that same year. Did you know that the provincial government building has a special king’s room that is exclusively used during royal visits? You can learn more about it during a tour of the building.
Queen Maxima loves art, especially when it's made by talented young artists. Her visit to the Jan Van Eyck Academy in March 2018 was devoted entirely to the work of autonomous young artists, their artistic methods, and the guidance they received. She was inspired by the unique, interdisciplinary approach of the Maastricht art academy. Want to learn more? Check the Van Eyck agenda and plan your visit to this inspiring academy.
It's hard to imagine, but just four years ago a major thoroughfare ran from the Netherlands to Belgium and the south of Europe, bisecting the city of Maastricht. The double-decker Willem Alexander Tunnel changed this for good and helped to transform this part of the city into a green and quiet oasis. This is also where King Willem-Alexander unveiled the statue De Nieuwe Engel van Maastricht (‘The new angel of Maastricht’) on 29 March 2018. Visit the statue, walk or cycle across the Groene Loper (‘Green Carpet’), and discover a new side of Maastricht.
If walls could talk, what would they say? The Spaans Gouvernement (‘Spanish Government’) on Vrijthof square in Maastricht would undoubtedly have plenty to reveal. This is regarded by many to be the oldest surviving residential building in Maastricht, having housed several royal and noble families for varying periods of time. While the building is currently home to Museum aan het Vrijthof, Maastricht’s photography museum, many authentic elements remain, serving as a reminder of those bygone days. Be sure to visit the Jimmy Nelson exhibition (in the TEFAF room) and enjoy a cup of coffee afterwards at Grand Café Soiron.
Tile, tile on the wall, which is the most royal tile of them all? Royal Mosa tiles from Maastricht, of course! While the tiles don’t actually line the walls, they are manufactured there. Royal Mosa was the first Dutch porcelain factory and manufacturer of ceramic tiles. The company was designated royal status in 1983, on its 100th anniversary. You can admire Mosa tiles in the Sphinx passage. In this 120-metre long covered passage, nearly 30,000 colourful tiles bring the history of the Maastricht ceramics industry to life. You don’t want to miss it!
The term ‘royal purveyor’ may suggest being an exclusive supplier to the royal court, but this is not entirely true. It is, however, a unique designation that requires at least two things: having been active for at least a century and delivering high-quality goods. It is then up to the king to decide whether a company has earned the designation. Florist Frissen Pieters certainly has – the company has delivered premium-quality flowers since 1847! It is also a highly regarded and popular supplier among TEFAF stand holders looking for floral arrangements to decorate their stands with during the fair. The exclusive shop BLOOMBAR by Frissen Pieters is located between the city park and Onze Lieve Vrouweplein square in the Stokstraatkwartier.
Black, with a dash of milk, or with sugar? We have no idea how King Willem-Alexander takes his coffee. With a bit of luck, the aroma of freshly roasted coffee from Blanche Dael will tempt him to order a cup of traditional Maastricht coffee during the royal couple's tour of Maastricht. Blanche Dael is an authentic speciality coffee shop that bears the designation hofleverancier or ‘royal purveyor’. So, it's only natural that the coffee and tea by this Maastricht coffee expert feature on the list of must-try Maastricht delicacies. Blanche Dael coffee is served at several Maastricht establishments, but we recommend one of the city's Coffeelovers cafés, which is owned by Blanche Dael.