As the Royal Harmonie Sainte Cécile Eijsden played a serenade outside, twelve heads of government of the European Union walked into the ‘Gouvernement’ building in Maastricht on 7 February 1992. It was an historic day. Seated in the meeting room, they signed the Maastricht Treaty, heralding the introduction of the euro and other big changes.
Many residents are quite proud that history was written in their area. This treaty put Maastricht on the map. Even today, you can still see all kinds of references to the ‘new’ Europe when walking through the modern architectural district of Céramique. The architecture in the city also tells many stories. For this reason, we wrote a blog which focuses on modern architecture so that you can familiarize yourself with the city in an interesting way.
Walking through the modern district of Céramique, you’ll see all kinds of references to the ‘new’ Europe. For example, the bustling Plein 1992 square is named after the Maastricht Treaty. Children hopscotch over bronze tiles engraved with the ‘€’ sign or the year ‘1992’.
Just down the road, on the roundabout at Avenue Céramique, the silver stars of the spectacular ‘Stars of Europe’ artwork sparkle as they rotate in the wind, on top of towering aluminium poles. The twelve large stars symbolize the countries that signed the treaty, and the smaller stars represent new member states.
The provincial government building on the Meuse is open to the public, so you can see how and where this historic event took place. In December 1991, the European Council attended the Euro Summit in the banquet hall. The meetings were held over two days and continued well into the early hours. Queen Beatrix received the twelve heads of government at Château Neercanne, a Michelin-star restaurant. A plaque in the wine cellar immortalizes the signatures of the French President Mitterand and the German Prime Minister Kohl alongside other heads of state.
Two months later, the Maastricht Treaty was signed in the Statenzaal room (aptly named ‘the room of the States’). The Gouvernement has created a special exhibit with a copy of the Treaty for visitors to look at. There are also pictures of the Euro Summit and the Treaty being signed.
The Maastricht Treaty was awarded a European Heritage Label in 2018. The label is displayed on the wall of the Gouvernement as a symbol of European ideals, values, history, and integration.