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Places Around Maastricht: Vrijthof

Vrijthof

Vrijthof in 2008

Type of place: Public Square
Location: At the opposite end of Grotestraat from the Dinghuis
Zicht Op Maastricht on Vrijthof
 
 
 
 
When you visit Maastricht, you will neither be able nor want to miss the Vrijthof. It is one of the best known squares in the city and plays host to a variety of events including Preuvenemint, Andre Rieu’s open-air concerts, Winterland, Carnival activities and more. Ceremonial city events are also held on the Vrijthof. We once caught a Botche ball tournaments there and in 2009 the Queen’s Day children’s market was held on the square. Overlooking the square you will also see the imposing St. Servaas Basiliek and St. Janskerk (identifiable by its bright red tower).
 
Of course you probably won’t just be visiting the Vrijthof to say that you’ve been there. You will probably also want to relax in one of the cafes that line the square. Many of the cafes here serve Dutch cuisine and have large patios where you can relax with a cup of coffee or glass of beer. During events, these patios are always packed to the gills with people enjoying the festive environment while also getting a little something to eat. Keep an eye on the prices however. Since the Vrijthof is one of the most popular places to eat in Maastricht, the prices can be quite high. I suppose there is always SnackPoint (a Dutch fast food place) or McDonalds (ew), but it is worth it to experience one of the proper restaurants at least once. Watch for daily specials and pre-fixe menus for a better deal.
 
When nothing in particular is going on at the Vrijthof, you may want to check out one of the various cultural institutions that line this area. The Theater aan het Vrijthof always has several live musical and theater events going on. If you don’t want to wait for a show, the Hoofdwacht, the stone building that sits in front of the cathedrals, contains a rotating exhibition of art and historical artifacts. Since that exhibit won’t take you long to view, you can also check out the Museum aan het Vrijthof which is located in a 16th century former chapter house and has been decorated to reflect the decor of both that century and the 18th. You may also wish to visit the two cathedrals.
ice skating on the Vrijthof

Ice skating on the Vrijthof, Winterland 2009


In the end, one of the best things about the Vrijthof is that you never know what is going to be happening there. I try to keep up with what’s going on in Maastricht, but there are days where I walk by and discover some odd event or another going on. So despite its grandeur, there’s something a little whimsical about the Vrijthof as well.
 
Do you have a favorite memory on the Vrijthof? Share it in the comments.

Update: Thank you Sueli for keeping my facts straight. :)

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