Located on both sides of the Meuse River, Maastricht is the southernmost city of the Netherlands, hugging the border with Belgium. As capital of the province of Limburg the city is the regional center of commerce and culture and home to a large population of (international) students.
Maastricht means 'place to cross the Maas' in medieval Old Dutch, but the city's roots hark back much
further in time.
A village existed at the confluence of Maas and Jeker, years before the Romans built here a pontoon bridge on the Via Belgica connecting Gaul with Cologne. In the first century the settlement became known as Trajectum ad Mosam.
Maastricht's patron saint is St Servatius, who died here in 384. His remains rest in the Sint Servaas basilica at the Vrijthof, where also several related relics are on display.
A horde of Danish Vikings, led by Godfrid, duke of Frisia, raided and thoroughly sacked Maastricht in 881.
During the Middle Ages the city was a regional center for trade, manufacturing and culture, but from the 16th center onwards was caught up in the European troubles. Maastricht was besieged and taken by the Spanish (1579), the Dutch (1632) and the French (1673, 1748 and 1794).
During the Belgian Revolution, Maastricht remained loyal to the Dutch King and rejoined the Netherlands in 1839.
In 1992 the city hosted the signing ceremony of the Maastricht Treaty, the foundation of the European Union.
Places of interest are the City center with Vrijthof, town hall and St Servaas bridge, the Jeker kwartier with some of the old city walls and the St Pietersberg with the fortress and limestone quarry.