Surrounding area, Maastricht
When you have been that lucky that you finally have found Maastricht, you should not waste the opportunity to visit two city's that are right in the neighboorhood (+/- 30 km from Maastrcht), that is Aachen and Liège. These cities form, toghether with Maastricht the so called 'Euregio,' an unique league that transgresses national borders and shows that European Integration is in fact a good thing. One has to see them: Aachen, is - apart from its pleaqsant atmosphere and many gemütliche Kneipen, like 'Rethel pub' - an enormous interesting place to visit for it has been Charlemagne's favourite resort in the Middle-ages: of course for it's water. See the reminders of that great erea! Liège itself has it's particular reasons to attrack visitors who are in the Euregio: it has nearly a common historical identity to Maastricht, yet, on the other hand -being Wallonian- it has it's very own way in which that is embedded. And: though Maastricht and Liège are mutually influencing one 'n other, lifestyle completely differs: go f.e to the 'Des Olivettes' , a lovely pub, in the middle of the city, where typical Liègeain characters climb the stage (t.i. a piano on a small platform
) and sing along with Brell and Bécaud (franchophonic Héro's in chansons)Even you are invided, to take a chance:even if it's Rammstein you'd like to perform: people are enjoying the atmosphere, everyone is there for having a good time...It's a pub, that we in the Netherlands would call: 'het kleine café aan de haven' : where people still enjoy life, were everybody acceps one other's sound (even if it's Rammstein!!!)
On the second day of our visit to Maastricht (19 June 2013) we made an early morning walk in the countryside, our point of departure was the village of Bemelen. Notice the characteristic hollow road, a rarity in the Netherlands.
Close to Maastricht, there is a little town where the houses are a bit special (YES, another one!!)
It's called Thorn..the main thing is that the houses are all white..which gives out a nice peacefull atmosphere on a sunny spring or summer day..
The beautiful landscape of Southern Limburg. Especially the surroundings of Slenaken, Epe, Mechelen, Gulpen. Here you can find those beautiful houses shown on the picture. As you can see in springtime the trees are in full blossom. Awesome.
One of the most controversial parts of Dutch railhistory has taken place in the Southern part of Limburg. It concerned the trajectory Maastricht-Aachen. In the late 20's (of the 20th century) a 12,5 km stretch of this trajectory had a total cost of 12 million guilders. Therefore it's named milliontrajectory. In 1988 this trajectory was cancelled. But because the train goes through such a beautiful landscape a couple of people started the Zuid Limburgse Stoomtrein Maatschappij. Throughout the year they use dieseltrains and steamtrains on this trajectory. See www.zlsm.nl for more details.
DRIELANDEN-PUNT & DRIELANDEN-LABYRINTH
“Vaals” is the most South – easterly place from Limburg.
Here you will find “het Drielandenpunt” where the Netherlands, Belgium and Germany border on. This is also the highest place from the Netherlands.
A funny thing to do is “het Drielanden-labyrinth” .
Where at least 17.000 hornbeams shape a maze of lanes. At the middle of this labyrinth is a platform that shows a great view of its surroundings.
For more info:click here
WALKING & BIKING
Lovers from walk- and biketours will get enough satisfaction from the enviroment. The tourist information centre organizes city-guided tours under the guidance of a guide.along monuments, churches and the old defensive works.
The hilly landscape of Limburg is providing in the most beautifull routes, for example a trip near “de Maas”, through the woods and “het Drielandenpunt”.
The Maas Valley was already inhabited by the Romans and has eversince remained an important area for trade, cultivation, farmers and residential housing. Nowadays this area is still poular because many castles, historic village and nice nature cab be found here. The Maas omnipresent in the valley comes from the Langres platwu in France, is one of the important big rivers of the couyntry, and in the region of the maasdal the hill land means that the water is here in a river valley, namely at the food of the 110 meteres high Sint Pietersberg. The villages of the Maasdal, Susteren, Elsloo and Bunde, can be reached easy by train (by slwo train only) and they are to be reached by busses (on workdays on regular times) But in order to explore the maas valleu one better hir a bike. There are good biking paths and they are well signposted. What to visit in the valley? 1. Susteren. This is the norhern village of the Maasdal. The country is here small, only 5 kilometre. There is a cloister from the 8 th. Century and a roman church the Amelberga church, which dates from the middle ages. In the treasure room of this church you fin old midle aged plates with bible figures. Aslo some statues by the artist Steffeswert are exposed. 2. Stein. This village has an interesting museum for archeology. Roman foundings are exposed. In the nort of Stein you enter the a little village with an old historoc village center. It is a protected village. 3. Elsloo. The ‘raadhuisstraat’ is very picureque and the ceramiques from the village are well known and visible in the streek-museum Elsloo. This building is 17 th. Century. In the roman days the village was a port. The village has a castle with a french garden, having 2000 plants. 4. Finally, for a nice walk in nature, get off the train in Geulle, where the ‘bunderbos’ is accessable. This is a forrest with unique –in terms compared to the rest of the country – flowers and plants. It is a hill wood, which is also unique for the country.
Just by accident we found this beautiful suspension bridge on the southern edge of Maastricth, when we were leaving to continue our trip. Could not find a good angle to photograph it, but the suspension section rises from both ends to a peak in the middle, giving the bridge a very strong attitude.
Nearby Maastricht you find the village of Eijsden, where the castle is the mainattraction. I't is built in 1639 at the place of a farmhouse. the castle is build in maasland renaissance style. There still live aristocrates in the castle. Apart from the castle the village is a protected village. The mediaval Diepstraat with its restaurants and pubs is a good example of it. Near this street you find the smallest church of the Netherlands,
Meerssen is located nearby Maastricht and its mainattraction is the basilica, a gothic styled one, build in the 9 th century. Its built on the ground where alreday a church existed. Interesting features of the church are: the Teoteca (a nine store decorated sacrament tower), the Barbara altar (with a statue of the patron of the miners) and the windows decorated by Nicolas. The village of Meerssen has no other attracktions, except for a small waterfall 2 kilometeres north.
a bit farther than Gulpen and Meerssen you find Wittem. Its mainattraction is Wittem Castle. This was originally a citadel, with canals. It used to have 7 towers, wheras nowadays it has only 2 towers, and there is a hotel located inside of it. a striking feature is the round chapel , build in 1845, devoted to the Mother of the Everlasting Support.
Postwar Maastricht develloped itself in a fast way; new suburbs were created in a srtict tempo. As in the early 60's the suburbs Belfort and Daalhof came into being, local authorities decided that the Southern part of Daalhof was exactly the right spot to build the Enci Tower, also known as the Daalhof Tower. As a matter of fact, this is quite disputed, qua name, since strictly speaking, the tower is actually situated within the southern border of the Belfort (translated as: bell- tower) suburb. the Daalhof Tower can be seen as a manifest of the cold war period, being a hughe transmittion appartus, monitoring the local airspace on hostile miltitary planes or rockets. Nowadays, to be sure, it lost that function. the tower now has a multifunctional use. In the eraly eighties it had been used as an inglorious brothel, its been used as a platform for sky-divers, and nowadays its a protected New Monument, determining the west-southern Maastricht skyline. Once a year, on the 1 th. of april, André Rieu, the worldfamous violist-entertainer gives a concert at the food of the tower. The suburb of Daalhof is also a good startpoint to visit other sights in the neighboorhood, like: the Atrium, where there is once a month the famous African Evening, (with music by artists like Yousou n'dour and ismael Lo) and in Belfort you find the house of L. vonn Rand, one of Maastricht most eloquent speakers on Rethorics and debating. Finally, in the Northern of Daalhof you ll find the well-known skyline dominating 3 hughe flats that are situated next to the old roman Heerbaan, a high-road constructed by the romans. on the other side of the street you find the Kinder-boerderij, a farm, containing more than 8 animal-types, like pigs, cows, sheeps, horses, chickens etc. you will get amazed seeing these sorts of animals. Going from the south of Daalhof there is Wolder. wolder is a pre-war annaxated village, containing a graet deal of urbianovillagio architecture.
From the N287 direction Maastricht Aachen you pass by the American Battle Monuments. By bike its 30 minutes up-hill, by car its 15 minutes starting from the Kennedybridge in directions Gulpen/Aachen. On the Right side of the road you see a hueghe gate opening to this holy ground were some 8300 war victems are burried and therefore its a pecefull serene grassfield with thousands of white crosses. Its a place you should visiit in the middle you see squaire of honour and behind it there is a hughe monument called the TOWER. in front of it there is a reservoir with the inscription: "new life from wars destruction proclaims mans immortality and hope for peace. I for the first time i got there feld mixed feelings and percieved the place at least as a silent place to contemplate the madness of war. Even President Bush has been here and i wonder what exactly was on his mind as he did his speech at the cemetry. For me the message is clear: NO WAR NEVER!!!! Dont feed the warindustrie and oilcompanies and other interest groups with useless and sinfull wars and innocent people, children and beauty of nature. Let this cemetry be a lesson for all nationalities, people, religions to cooperate in staed of killing eachother!!!! We are all Human and there is no difference beween you and me.
From Maastricht to Aachen follow the route provincial N287 till 300 metres behind the touristic village of Gulpen, then head for "Partij" (1 km) and follow the road to Mechelen. This lovely little village is situated next to a small river called the Brielle and is surrounded by beautifull hills and coutrysides and weadows. Here you fiend the typical peace and silence that you can expect in the Voerstreek, 5 kilometres away from the francolanguaged part of Belgium. Here you find Petit France, the authentic and beutifull timber frame farms and small roads all leading to the "pley" (dialect for grand squaire). At the pley you find the brewery stemming from 1340 which is located in an outstanding peace of local archticture. It has the typical features of Voerstreek Architecture as you can also see in Noorbeek: white houses framed walls by thichk brown beams. The interior exposes all sorts of authentic Limburgian artifacts such as ovens, beuutifull furniture, old gaslamps, handmate carpets and so on. After a visit cool down at oine of the pavement terrasses at the local brewery or the grand farm situated at the Pley. and relax, plan a hike in the nearby hills and weadows on a sunny day. Bikes can be rented at the tourist office as well as maps of the surrounding area. The place is an mediaval peace of a jewel in the south of Maastricht,. Dont miss it!!!!