Maastricht is one of the oldest cities in the Netherlands and is located in the heart of Europe. Regardless of its relatively small size, the city is very cosmopolitan. Diversity can be found not only in people, but also in the clash between old and new.
Maastricht is mostly known for the European Union Treaty, signed in 1992. However, it is now essentially a college town. As a home for Maastricht University, the best in the Netherlands Theater School and School for Arts and Design, the city attracts talent not only from the Netherlands, but also from other European countries. Hence, it is very multicultural. Having already lived in Maastricht for 4 years, I have to be honest- it does not offer as many crazy parties as Berlin or Amsterdam does. But it does offer impressive events organized by students for students, such as Maastricht Week of Entrepreneurship, WE Festival, Summer Deejays or Picnique Electronique. This makes you enjoy and appreciate these happenings to the fullest.
If one would ever wonder what can attract Kanye West, the sheikh of Katar and the business elite from all over the world to Maastricht- it is The European Fine Art Fair (TEFAF). For the past 25 years, the city has been a hotspot for art dealers, museum directors, collectors and art lovers, who come here in March each year to view the best works of fine art. This is one of the most fancy events throughout the year. Over 7,000 years of history, 30,000 works of art worth billions of euros, 72,000 visitors, champagne, oysters, and all of this within a week. Another event worth mentioning is FASHIONCLASH Maastricht. The fashion festival aims at promoting young talents, and designers from all over the world. In couple of days one can enjoy not only great fashion show, but also dance performances and parties. It is all in one.
Dutch food is not only cheese! Whilst in Maastricht it would be a sin not to try Limburgse vlaai, which is a pie usually filled with cherries or apricot. You should also try the deep- fried snacks like Bitterballen or french fries. They are perfect if you eat them while drinking a Belgian beer, as Maastricht is located very close to the Belgian border. Since I came to the Netherlands, I guess I tried them all. There is however one thing one should keep in mind- if you want to order a beer- you will be served a typical Dutch- size beer, which is 0.2l.
The City of Maastricht is currently investing in city’s renovation and reconstruction. Only recently, there has been opened the so- called de Brandweer kantine. It is an old fire department, which now serves as a bar, restaurant and a working space for creatives. But as already mentioned the city is not only a great place for artistic souls. By being located close to Eindhoven and Aachen, it is slowly becoming a tech hub.
The University puts a lot of effort into bringing engineers from Germany and other Dutch cities to connect them with business talents and to promote the entrepreneurial spirit.
A lot of students come here with a conviction: “The city is so small- there is nothing to do!”, I have to say- on the contrary! If you come to study in Maastricht- take an advantage out of disadvantage! There is so much to discover- engage in projects, meet people and travel. Don’t fall into the University trap, but keep on exploring and learning. I am sure that there is no other city, in which I could do equally much in a relatively short period of time. Yet, you need to be self-determined, motivated, aiming at the best!
See you in MaasVegas!