Maastricht: at the very heart of the Euregio Meuse-Rhine

Maastricht is the capital city of the province of Limburg and one of the oldest cities in the Netherlands, with a history that dates back to 500 BC. The city is situated along the banks of the Meuse River, bordering the Hill Country region and the neighbouring countries of Germany and Belgium, with Dutch-speaking Flanders to the west, and French-speaking Wallonia to the south. Almost 119,000 people live and work in Maastricht.

Historical information

The history of Maastricht dates back to the early Palaeolithic period, also known as the Stone Age. Tools and other remnants have been discovered here dating back to settlements that existed here 250,000 years ago. The region was later settled by the Celts, until the Romans conquered this territory. Mosa Trajectum, as the Romans called Maastricht, was not a really a city. It was actually an army camp; what the Romans called a ‘castra’.

 

The Romans built the first bridge across the Meuse, which enabled people to reach the other side however high the water level was. This bridge served the population for a thousand years (including renovations), until it collapsed in 1275. At this time, the famous St Servatius Bridge was built 200 metres to the north. The city has always been permanently inhabited, from the departure of the Romans up until the present day.

 

In the 19th century, Maastricht developed into the Netherlands’ first major industrial city. The first large-scale manufacturing industry in the Netherlands has its origins here, with an emphasis on the manufacture of ceramics. Since the foundation of Maastricht University in the 1970s, the city has been making more of a name for itself as an outstanding location for conferences and services due to the dozens of European institutions and organizations established here. The European Summit was held in Maastricht in 1992. Twelve European countries signed the Treaty of Maastricht which marked the birth of the European Union and, subsequently, the euro.