This article was originally posted at Maastricht Region: to Live.
One of my first stops in any town in the Netherlands is the VVV, the regular tourism shop in nearly every settlement of size with something tourists might want to see. Services vary, but you can often find brochures for local and regional sites, sometimes pick up a tour, or even book a hotel (if you happen to be traveling the old-fashion way). Even after two years in Maastricht I still stop in.
The primary purpose of VVV shop (sometimes located in larger stores, sometimes standalone), is naturally to provide visitors with information about the fair city they find themselves in. To this end, there is an information booth and lots of free and paid literature available. Most of the literature is in Dutch, but occasionally you can find some in English. Capitool Travel Guides’ Maastricht & South Limburg carried at the VVV in Maastricht is available in both languages and provides a great overview for visitors and new residents. Sometimes tours can be paid for or start at the VVV, such as the city tour in Aachen.
A second reason you might check out the local VVV is to purchase products from the region. While Maastricht has a variety of excellent stores that can fill all of your touristy gift needs, the VVV sells some local products and knick-knacks with the Maastricht star emblazoned on them if you don’t have the time to look elsewhere. And if they don’t have what you’re looking for, they can certainly help you find it.
A less common, but still helpful, way to use the VVV is for residents to visit occasionally for answers to questions about their own city. Before our first Carnaval, I stopped in and the staff was able to provide me with an itinerary of activities for the holiday that I had been unable to find on my own. They were equally helpful when I needed to find a post office after my regular postal location shut down. That service combined with postings for musical events and the “minicard” coupon stand gives me a good reason to stop in every month or so, just to stay in touch with the going-ons of the city.
The VVV in most towns is near the train station, but if that is not the case you can usually find it in the major tourist areas. If you visit Maastricht, visit the Dinghuis on Grootstraat for your VVV needs.