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Flat it ain't. On its undulating surface, Maastricht doesn't seem very Dutch. Besides the hills surrounding its river valley location, this compact city tucked into the dangling southeast corner of the Netherlands takes many a cultural cue from Belgium and Germany, which are both just over the border. In fact, Maastricht was the site of the treaty signings that launched the European Union in 1991 and 1992. But even if the food - excellent, thanks to the Belgians - and the beer - crisp and fresh, thanks to the Germans - show neighborly influences, spend a little time here and you'll find that Maastricht has a pure Dutch heart. Cafés lining ...

Flat it ain't. On its undulating surface, Maastricht doesn't seem very Dutch. Besides the hills surrounding its river valley location, this compact city tucked into the dangling southeast corner of the Netherlands takes many a cultural cue from Belgium and Germany, which are both just over the border. In fact, Maastricht was the site of the treaty signings that launched the European Union in 1991 and 1992. But even if the food - excellent, thanks to the Belgians - and the beer - crisp and fresh, thanks to the Germans - show neighborly influences, spend a little time here and you'll find that Maastricht has a pure Dutch heart. Cafés lining the streets are as convivial as they come and everybody has a smiling rejoinder straight from the dry-as-a-dike local wit. Wander the curving narrow streets to see Roman ruins, old fortified caves, sprawling medieval churches and more. Galleries abound and shoppers are rewarded with no end of intriguing little boutiques. Find a cozy little tree-lined square, pick a café and call it your own.

Ryan Ver Berkmoes
About the Expert

Ryan Ver Berkmoes has written many books for Lonely Planet, including Bali & Lombok and the Southeastern Alaska and Western Canada sections for LP's Canada guide.

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Facts at a Glance

  • Location: A city and a municipality in the southern part of the Dutch province of Limburg, of which it is the capital. The city is situated on both sides of the Meuse river in the south-eastern part of the Netherlands.
  • Language: Dutch
  • Currency: Euro
  • Research: Wikipedia | Wikitravel
  • Weather: Daylight | Rainfall
  • Current Time:

Climate

  • Best Time to Visit:

    Although Maastricht is cold in winter, Carnival (February) is one of Europe's hottest street parties.