This weekend I slipped out on a relatively warm day to check out Maastricht’s new Christmas celebration offering: the Magical Maastricht. A combination of market, cultural events, and light displays, Magical Maastricht extends last year’s events out from the Vrijthof to include a variety of other locations. This new arrangement is festive, but suffers a bit from its diffuse shape.
The most familiar part of this year’s event is the market on the Vrijthof. Instead of huts, sellers are in booths this year, and mostly appear to be selling a variety of machine made products from hats to kitchen tools. There are a few local and handmade booths, particularly for wine and preserves. Booths this year are spread beyond the Vrijthof and include locations on the Markt, Onze Lieve Vrouwplein, and along the Maas.
If you’re not interested in shopping, Maastricht has upped its regular one skating rink and ferris wheel, with a second, roofed rink, several children’s carnival rides, and an ice sculpture festival. You can find the secondary rink and many of the rides in a new “Kerst aan de Maas” located near the old city bridge and surrounded by a few booths and an enclosed eatery. I haven’t visited the Ice Sculpture area yet, but if you’re curious (or really into ice), the display will run you 7,50 euros.
Maastricht has also arranged a “Colorful Light Route” along which you can view some beautifully lit trees, specially designed lights, and an SMS tree (where you can light up the tree for a donation to the World Wildlife Fund). Of course you shouldn’t miss out on the chance to sample the holiday fare at one of the several enclosed eateries or open booths. I’m particularly partial to the gluhwijn myself.
Although this extra variety is nice and the lights along the walk are lovely, I do wish there was more signage indicating where the various new locations are. I only lucked onto a handful of booths on the Markt square by chance, and then that’s only because I tend to wander. But with a little preplanning, you can find everything you’d like by visiting this website and downloading the Colorful Light Route 2010 map. Happy holidays.
This article was originally published on Maastricht Region: To Live.