Maastricht is culture16 May 2023
Column by Martje Gulikers, Marketing & Communications Manager
‘Culture costs money. Culture is trivial. Culture is something for intellectuals.’ There are various conceptions about culture, or should I say: many misconceptions. Culture, and the role it fulfils for a place, a city, and certainly for us as residents, is often underestimated.
Culture is so much more than a museum visit. Culture has positive effects on health, brings people together, connects, and fosters a sense of community. Not to mention its economic value for a city: local cultural facilities and institutes bring in revenue for hospitality and retail and create a more attractive business climate. Culture also provides a sanctuary for critical, unconventional views and visions. But perhaps above all, art and culture have an aesthetic and intrinsic value. Culture is the home of our heritage and, by extension, our history, traditions, and the stories of a place and of a people. That makes culture something that, for the most part, is simply part of life, whether you like it or not. In a way, it cannot be contained. However, we decide to what extent we will continue to nurture culture and let it flourish.
I believe Maastricht is a good example of this. Our city has a rich history spanning over 2,000 years and is now a cultural melting pot, picturesquely nestled in the rolling hills of the most southern part of Limburg, on the border of 3 countries, home to 4 million people and 4 languages. It is a city with a glorious past, as evidenced by the Sint Servaasbrug, the Vrijthof, and the Onze-Lieve-Vrouwebasiliek. It’s the birthplace of the euro. It’s a city of encounters, of people who love life – of Carnaval, processions, and brass bands. It’s an international university city, uniquely combining compactness with a grand allure. There’s a reason Maastricht belongs to the ‘G9’, the network of government-designated, cultural focal points spread throughout the country. Just a few years ago, Maastricht was designated as the country’s second city of culture by the Atlas voor Gemeenten (atlas of municipalities), taking into account its range of performing arts, multitude of historical monuments, heritage, visual arts, literature, and film and cultural education. It’s something you can feel wherever you are and wherever you look in the city and region. Whether a resident or visitor, you are part of it every day. With a generous range of courses in every art form; Toneelacademie Maastricht (institute of performative arts), Maastricht Institute of Arts, Academy of Art and Architecture, Maastricht Institute of Arts Fashion Design, and Conservatorium Maastricht (conservatory of music), Maastricht is bursting with creatives, researchers, and makers.
The city is resplendent with beautiful monuments and inspiring architecture. The city is buzzing with cultural hotspots such as Bonnefantenmuseum (contemporary and historical art museum), Marres Huis voor Hedendaagse Cultuur (contemporary arts museum), Bureau Europa (platform for architecture and design), Natuurhistorisch Museum Maastricht (natural history museum), Centre Céramique (culture hub housing a music school, city library, cultural heritage and museum), and Lumière (arthouse cinema). Maastricht hosts high-profile, world-class events and festivals every year: TEFAF, Nederlandse Dansdagen (national festival for dance), Musica Sacra (ancient music festival held mostly in ‘sacred’ monuments), and the André Rieu concerts. In a nutshell, Maastricht breathes culture. Maastricht is culture. That is something priceless. Having the opportunity to play a role in this world almost every day thanks to my work at Maastricht Marketing is a true privilege and a source of inspiration.
A few tips…
I’ll limit myself to just a few tips for you to share that will help your employees experience Maastricht’s culture and learn more about it:
- Visit the newly opened Maastricht Museum. Located at Centre Céramique, this museum tells the entire history of the city – from 7,000 years ago to today.
- ‘Explore Maastricht’: Go on a tour with our city guides and find out what’s hidden behind the walls and underground. Or discover the city on your own with one of the digital, multilingual routes from Visit Maastricht.
- With its international vibe, Muziekgieterij is the ultimate place to see up-and-coming artists as well as well-known bands, from genres ranging from pop-rock to indie and urban.
- Subscribe to Visit Maastricht’s newsletter in English or check out the Events Calendar covering Maastricht and the surrounding areas.