Maastricht, surprising jewel of the south!
Don't make jokes about it: Maastricht is utterly beautiful. The Crown Jewel of the south –maybe even of the entire country – it’s about as far from windmills, clogs and tulips as you want. Much of The Netherlands have a ‘samey’ feel to it, but here you find Spanish and Roman ruins, cosmopolitan food, French and Belgian twists in the architecture, a shrugging off of the shackles of Dutch restraint. Even the landscape is different: there are actually hilly streets and what passes for mountains ringing the centre. Unsurprisingly, many locals see themselves as a sophisticated breed apart from the North; by the same token, earthy Northerners see posh Maastricht as having an identity crisis – are these people Dutch or what?
Spanning both banks of the Maas river, with a host of pavement cafés and lovely old cobblestone streets, Maastricht is renowned for world-class dining and an elegant atmosphere that’s exquisitely addictive. Hemmed in between Belgium and Germany, it has a pan-European flavour: the average citizen bounces easily between Dutch, English, French, German and Flemish (maybe more).
Maastricht is also a young student city with a lot of attention to green projects, an amazing Art Academy, and a lot of new start ups. With only 120.000 inhabitants Maastricht is a small town with a much bigger feeling.