After I had been riding around Maastricht for a few hours, it gradually dawned on me that I had come during the Students’ Introduction Week or INKOM, in which new students are introduced to the city and the university and to the “many social, sports and student associations” that go to great lengths to recruit the new students as members.
There are well over a hundred student associations in Maastricht, only a few of which sound similar to American fraternities or sororities. Some of the associations claim to be “traditional”, but since Maastricht University was only founded in the 1970s none of them can trace their histories further back than that (unless they borrowed their traditions from somewhere else).
Judging from the number of light blue T-shirts people were wearing, I have the impression that Circumflex is the largest association. Circumflex does claim to be the largest, but so does KoKo.
Second photo: Saurus turns out to be a student rowing association.
Third photo: Students outside a pub near the university. Those in the light blue T-shirts are from Circumflex and those in the dark blue T-shirts belong to MSTV Stennis, which logically enough is a student tennis association. The rest are presumably undecided about which association to join, if any.
The man riding past on his bicycle in the third photo has just been shopping at Albert Heijn, as you can see from his blue bag.
Until recently Maastricht was a popular destination for foreigners wanting to buy marihuana and other soft drugs.
From 1976 to 2012 the ‘coffee shops’ were allowed to sell up to five grams of cannabis per person per day. This was not exactly legal, but was tolerated and not prosecuted.
On May 1, 2012, a new law went into effect in the three southern provinces of the Netherlands: Limburg (including Maastricht), North Brabant and Zeeland. Now the sale of cannabis is tolerated only if the buyer is an adult resident of the Netherlands and can show a special registration card, popularly known as a ‘weed card’, to prove it.
Non-residents cannot get a ‘weed card’, and residents have to apply for it at the town hall of the place where they live. Many people are reluctant to do this because they are suspicious of what use might be made of their data.
There used to be fourteen ‘coffee shops’ in Maastricht, but now most or all of them seem to have gone out of business. This has led to an increase in illegal drug sales, supposedly; at least some people say they have been approached by dealers along the banks of the Maas.
This did not happen to me, but I imagine I did not project the image of being a likely customer.
The city government of Maastricht is so far quite satisfied with the new law. They say that previously ten thousand people per day (!) used to come to Maastricht solely for the purpose of buying soft drugs. Now that is down to about one hundred per day – only 1 % of what it used to be.
Wieckse Witte is a beer that originated in Maastricht and is now controlled by Heineken. It has a cloudy pale yellow color, a thick white head that fades, a wheaty taste with a touch of citrus, and a dry, slightly bitter finish. It is a smooth and refreshing beer that is a good choice for the outdoor cafés in Maastricht.
Wieckse Rosé is another beer under the Wieckse label that is now controlled by Heineken. It has a red color, thick white head that fades, raspberry flavor, and a finish that is both fruity and dry. It is quite unique and refreshing -- I really enjoyed it.
Gerardus Leonardus Hubertus Krekelberg. Weaver, later schoolteacher at Vlodrop, Limburg, The Netherlands. He was a poet and wrote the words to the Limburg Anthem.The English 'translation' cannot do justice to this song which is well known nationally and sung on many occasions.
To hear it, go to the website below.
WAAR IN 'T BRONSGROEN EIKENHOUT
Waar in 't bronsgroen eikenhout,
't Nachtegaaltje zingt;
Over 't malse korenveld,
't lied des leeuwriks klinkt;
Waar de hoorn des herders schalt,
Langs de beekjes boord;
Daar is mijn Vaderland;
Limburgs dierbaar oord !
Daar is mijn Vaderland;
Limburgs dierbaar oord !
Waar de brede stroom der Maas,
Statig zeewaarts vloeit;
Weeldrig sappig veldgewas,
Kostlijk groeit en bloeit;
Bloemengaard en beemd en bos,
Waar der vaadren schone taal,
Klinkt met heldre kracht;
Waar men kloek en fier van aard,
Vreemde praal veracht;
Eigen zeden, eigen schoon,
't Hart des volks bekoort
Waar aan 't Oud Oranjehuis,
't Volk blijft hou en trouw;
Met ons roemrijk Nederland,
Een in vreugd en trouw;
Trouw aan plicht en trouw aan God,
Heerst van Zuid tot Noord.
Maastricht is the capital of the province Limburg.
Official anthem (in Dutch, by G. Krekelberg and H. Thyssen) of both the Netherlands Province of Limburg and the Belgian Province of Limburg.
The 4th stanza is generally not sung in Belgium.
Quoted from: Studentencodex, 1965, Leuven, KVHV, 560 pp., p. 41
To hear it, go to the website below.
Where in the bronze-green oakwoods,
The nightingale signs;
O'er the mellow wheatfields,
The lark's voice rings;
Where the shepherd's horn resounds,
Borders along the brooks
There is my Fatherland;
Limburg, beloved resort !
There is my Fatherland;
Limburg, beloved resort !
Where the wide stream 'river Maas,
Stately flows to sea;
Luxuriant succulence of the fields;
Beautifully flowers and grows;
Garden, meadow and the woods,
Where forebears fair tongue,
Rings clear and strong;
Where one proud and brave by nature,
Alien pomp despises;
Own customs, own beauty,
Enchant our peoples heart.
Where to the House of Orange,
People stay loyal and true,
With our illustrious Netherlands,
In trust and joy as one,
True to duty and faith in God,
Prevails from South to North.
I was quite fortunate to be visiting the Netherlands during the 2010 Football World Cup finals and there seemed to be a permanent party atmosphere everywhere I went, even on days when the Dutch weren't actually playing.
It wasn't just Maastricht, it was the country in general enjoying the event and whilst partisan it was also a celebration of the game. There were no nationalist flags just the simple orange of the team's strip and of course the black and white footballs to adorn the town's streets, centre and suburb alike.
Here's the loo at Hotel Poshoorn and a few other pics from around the city.
Always good to see.
The street leading from the railway station (Stationsstraat) to the St Servaas bridge is a twin-carriageway boulevard but not a particularly busy one regarding road traffic as most vehicles cross the city's two main bridges on the inner ring road.
The centre of the boulevard towards the station end is used as a public performance area and on the Sunday I was there I was treated to an excellent performance by the local brass band. They played an interesting set of classical brass pieces as well as adaptations of a few pop classics and what was particularly impressive was the age range of the players.
This was something I'd just caught by accident, having arranged to meet Valentina (MacedonianUK) at the atmospheric taproom bar of the Hotel Poshoorn where I also enjoyed a glass or two of the excellent locally-brewed Gulpener.
I assume the tourist office has listings of the events here but even if there's nothing scheduled it's still a lively area with some excellent bars and restaurants.
During my visit in Maastricht, on August, I was very surprised to see a tournament of bowls in Vrijthof, the main square of the town. I was surprise to see many young people to play it (in my country it is a sport for old man or for beach game during summer :) ) and the competition was very hard and the teams try to go very close the little bowl.
Good luck to everybody!!!
löbtrèkke is an old traditional local sport, just like poodleclubbing, origining in the early middle-ages. Allthough popular in the region for a few centuries, it got out of attention – only a few were practising- it got back after world war two, in a revival of cival soldiers, in modern style. Already in the secon half of the 8 th century, “ loppike” was a alernative version of the mainstream city soldiers sports and was focussing on the more technical aspects of the sport. New methods were introduces as well new rules, terms and a large technical manual on artefacts used in “ loppike” Whereas mainsteam gunners were only using one gun, loppike was based on a wide arsenal of guns, equipment, and methods. Also, the game was not a standing one, there was already in the 11 th century ‘ craetive’ running: meaning, one was not only focussed on a certain object to hit, but also running, hiding, sneaking and crowling became part of the techniques, which finally around 1650 made the manual and official gamerules got the basic of this sport. The game was already around 1700 popular around upper-class ‘ gildes’ and around 1800 it became popular amongst the bourgeoisie in each layer. Then it got out of fashion in order to make its comeback in the fifties. The tecnics and tactics of the game still are the same. Only the material of the artefacts used nowadays differ from these used in the middle ages. Also the name of the game –loppike- changed into löbtrèkke, which means the same, but then in modern dialect. As said, unique for this game is the equipment, - the used artefacts – the method – a combination of running, crawlin or sneaking (in 1815 added by ‘ waving’ ) – and the location. For, löbtrèkke demands a special game ground. Hilles, bushes and a track. The game is not easy. Let me explain shortly the purpose. Central is the kubus (löp). There are 2 teams of 9 people each team. One team is “ on track” (in the “ field” ) one team is “ trèkke” (shooting or striking) The field team is divided in 3 sections of 3 men: one for the bushes (‘ struukmenkes’ ) one team for the “ track” (the stone trail) and one team is around the hill (“ bergmenkes” ). The other team has the “ equipment” (“ dingskes” ). The herault has the kubikagun (“ kenon”), the “ runners (6 men) are standing at a start gate (“ peurtje” ) and one man is the one “ observing” (“ kiekoet” ). There are 2 emporers: one for checking the “ field” one for checking the “ runners” (“ haze” ). The goal is that the herault shots the kubus into the bushes (1 point) into the hill (3 points) or on the tack (5 points) In case the track is chosen as goal, it is only 5 points if the kubus hits at least one of the “ haze” on his back. In case the kubus lands in the track without hitting, its change of turns: the team in the field becomes the team for trèkke. Two other possibilities for the field team to change positions are: letting the kubus land in a bucket (“ ummerke” ) – in the field – or in case of the hills and the bushes: finding the kubus within one 333 seconds. Here comes the emperor: he exactly measures the time that the field team needs to detect the kubus. As an eample: in the middleages the time was measured by an old sand-clock, nowadays its done by a digital clock. The finder of the kubus has to trumpet, which is placed on the middle of the field and as soon as he blows the “ trot” its change of turns. But it is not easy to be one the trèkke side. The equipmet is highly advanced and the most part of trainings are done on using the equipment better and better. The technical side and most diificult side is the way the herault uses the equipment. Already since 1687 one of the basic rules of the game is that the trekker (the shooter) must be appinted by the Emporer of the runners. That means, he, randomly decides what shooter the herault has to use. To be sure it is by chance, the emporer has to open a suitcase with a numer, of which he doesn’t know what is in the suitcase. The suitcases are sealed ny a jurist nowadays, and by the ‘ schepenen’ on saterday in the middle ages. In modern times, many sorts of ‘ trèkkers’ are presented by special firms that produce these shooting guns. Specially designed to shoot the kubrik. In the old days the guns had nice and original naes such as the notorious ‘ swan’ or the ‘ golden spear’ but nowadays, as you can see the offers on indernet its more like “ model 720 XXB” or “ Type Alpha.” I will end by giving an idea how lively the löbtrèkke is indeed. On a saterday a team gathers in a pub discussing some new types trekkers. “ Did you hear about LMF 916?” - “ I have practised” – How to use the “ nopper? (side-click)” – just double click, then reload, empty “ sneers” (hustleries) and then “ tap on.” – What to do if you wont hit ‘ haze’ ? – cant be missed, if you ‘ deijt’ (strip) and then take a hook of 35 you cant miss” – As for talks about the field: “ wee getht ut ummerke doen” ? (who will be bucket man?) “ Servé, wilst diech weer ‘ bergmenke’ zien? (you will be taking care of the hill again?). ita a fascinating sport amd it is only played in Maastricht. (location: Dousberg.)
everyone knows Toon hermans in the Nerherlands. ‘ Mien waar is mijn feestneus” , ‘ er ruist iets door het struikgewas’ Toon was born in Sittard, where he spend a good youth, in opposite of what he claims on stage when he talks about his youth, living in such poor conditions. My mum can remind how Toon drove with his fancy sportscar to visit his mum, across the street. But, Toon knows how to dramatize this fictive youth experiences. It’s a lot of laughter hearing him tell what they did in order to not suffer from hunger. Toon Hermans is also a talented writer. He wrote many books, but then ‘ light lecture’ such as funny poems, refelexions on life and pseudo-wisdom about the way of life. Hermans was a clown, indeed. He started as a yound kid standing at the billiard table, performing his act, and he had a magical attraction. Years later he moved to the ‘ Randstad ‘ (Amsterdam and surroundings) and he got discovered. His light humor, is innocence and his wit touching absurd humor was very new for cabaret. Indeed, it was that new, that a whole new concept was invented by this man in the Netherlands, the so called ‘ one man show’.
Seeing Hermans at some recordings in the eighties it is indeed timeless humor, still funny and probably funny for the next generations. Hermans performed some of his shows on TV and nexto writing, he did also painting. Not spectacular, its more the name of the artist you pay for, if you buys a painting from him. After his wifed died the performer got hurt, loosing a part of himself. He then did some serious writing on the issue of dying and losing a beloved one. His energy got less, and finally also Hermans was out of the spotlight, he retired, got more into enjoying his family as long as he could.
1. Shoppingmall the ‘ Brusselse Poort’ was called by locals always the ‘ Miro’ because in the eighties it was one of the shops in the mall after which they simply called the whole shoppingmall. Even after the ‘ Miro’ got replaced by another shop, citizens still call the ‘ Brusselsepoort’ de ‘ Miro’ NB: The ‘ Brusslesepoort received an award for best shoppingmall in Europe. 2. It is not allowed to lay down on benches in public spaces, such as for example the Vrijthof. Since in town during the year the amount of unemployed have raisen and the amount of beggars and homeless became bigger, these people are in need for a rest on the benches in tha park. Police associates it automatically with public drunkness and thus gets these people away. Salvation army has a task to do here. 3. Cigarettes: you need to put a special coin in the automat, a coin that you can get when the owner of the place where the automate thinks you are over 18. No one really follows this policy and sometimes people are occupied with getting their cigarettes from the machine, coin or not. 4. Pavement-street-pavement. In the planning of how to make a nice new look for the old historic city-centre, a large discussion was held about the concept: pavement-street-pavement. However, quite foolnish, because during opening hours of shops the ‘ street’ would anyway not be accessible by car or motorbike. A much about nothing. Though, after 6 pm it is allowed to bike in the historic old town, and thenn, of course I wouldn’t dare to use the ‘ pavement’ for biking. But so many people are walking on the ‘ street’ quite dangerous. Was this new outlook really necessary? 5. Protecting the oehoe. The oehoe is a sort of owl, that is living in exactly the same place where the industry of Enci is located. Now there are voices to stop activities of the industry (producing concrete) in order to safe the owl. A hughe debate is going on, which has on stake: nature versus economy. Pople will get unemployed when ENCI is closing a branche, thus, no income. Then, is the owl worth it? Nature lovers don’t care about the socio-economical consequences of their action to protect the Oehoe. Bet nature ideology (green left) is not a working class issue nowadays. Still, a peaceful coexistence of Oehoe owl and working class ENCI workers is in debate. Maybe we can relocate the Oehoe to Valkenburg?
a traditionally catholic event is ‘ three kings’ held in the beginning of jauary. It cebrates that the three kings, who were led by the big star in the sky, found Jesus, the new king and savior of the world. At this day, in the evening, children use to dress up like kings, wearing a self-made crown by paper, a cape or long jacket, and they wear sminck the mothers have put on their faces to pertend a mustache or beard. They go along the doors in their neighboorhood and they sing a song “ drei köninge.’ For the good singing they receive a gift, mostly candies, an apple, or other sweets and fruits. Its is comparable to Halloween as an idea. Whereas in Spain Tres Rei is the Sinterkloas of that country, children over here like the disguising, singing and of course, receiving the gifts.
Sint Nicolaas is a traditional holiday, celebrated in the whole country. At 6 december, children see in the liveringroom a table with presents, brought to them by the saint. In the weeks before Sint Nicolaas, children put their shoe in fron of the fire place and sing childrens Sint Nicolaas songs, as they can find the next day some candies (chocolade) in their shoes. Also Maastricht has his own “ Sinetrkloas.” It starts a few weeks before the 6 th of December, as Sinterklaos arrives on a boat at the river Maas. Children are all watching. Then this man, on a white horse, takes a trip trough the city. According to Sinterkloas only ‘ good’ children will get a present, ‘ bad’ children, who did a lot of mishief will perhaps be put in a sack and get deported to Spain. I now know that my high school English teacher – Perrey- was the one who always was paying Sinetrklaas. Maastricht has its own sinterklaas songs. I can remember that as a child we song to these typical Maastricht dialect versions of the songs, in staed of singing the Dutch. Most remembarable Sinterklaos song was – for dialect lovers still cult –
Sinterklaos, dae haet gezag
veer maoge sjpele, veer maoge sjpele
Sinterklaos dae haet gezag
veer maoge sjpele de gansen daag
(met allebei de heng sjliepend langsein houwe):
Krik krak sjiemela, zjeiemela, sjiemela
krik krak sjiemela, sjie—me—laa.
Whereas American culture imposes the Santa Claus as a new Sinetrklaas - also the man who gives presents to the children - in Maastricht they hope to keep the childrens celebration still alive. For the elder, they celebrate Sinterklaas at 5 th of December at the evening, exchanging gifts that are accompanied by poems, poems that are witty and personal.
in the middelages the beer brewers had their patron saints, on eof them, Sint-Arnoldus has caused miracles in the past in which beer had played a role. Arnoldus was a monk in a cloister and one day there was a fire, which could not be extinguished. Thanks to the prayer of the monk the brewery – of course traditionally located in a monastery (since monks were often beer-brewers) was saved. No wonder that Maastricht brewers choosed patron saints for their brewery. As there was the plague, Arnoldus just madea mixture of beer and everyone was cured. The patron’s day is the august 18 th, and this day is always celebrated eversince. Two beers that are less known, which are brewed in the region of the Heuvelland are Leeuw and Gulpener. Leeuw is locaed in Valkenburg and exists since 1886. Orinally founded by Dittman it started with a watermill along the river Geul. The watermill still works. The brewery gets its water from a well 100 metres under the ground. In the collection of Leeuw, the ‘ bockbier’ and oud bruin are the best. You can visit the brewery in a guided tour (VVV Zuid Limburg). Gulpener beer is older, it dates from 1825. It is still a family company. In its collection there is Mestreechs aaid (a must taste), and Gladiator (very strong, namely 10 percent of alcahol).
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