As fine art dealers and buyers head to the Netherlands for the 37th edition of TEFAF Maastricht, director of TEFAF Maastricht, Manon van den Beuken, and Netherlands-based writer, Emma Becque, share exclusive tips on where to eat, sleep, shop and visit during a trip to the delightful Dutch city.




In the southern tip of The Netherlands, medieval Maastricht is an untouched epicentre for art and antiques, and a pocket-sized maze of prominent, winding rivers (not canals). The mighty Maas, Meuse, and Jeker waters set the tone for the bridge-bound town, each meandering through its fabled cobbled streets.

Thanks to its unique location, Maastricht differs from the rest of Holland: Dutch, but also influenced by Flemish and German culture, the city is ablaze with distinctive antiquated features. Roman buildings etched with French signs sit within monumental town squares bustling with decades-old artisanal shops, farmer's markets and chiming bells from the oldest church in The Netherlands.



Locals are committed to preserving and cultivating their city: bikes are swerved from public view, and cafes must adhere to strict rules for their terrace furnishings to maintain the storybook appeal. Unsurprisingly, Maastricht is the backdrop and stage for the world-renowned TEFAF (The European Fine Art Foundation) fair.

Yet Maastricht offers more than a stopover for art enthusiasts. The 125,000-populated region is a tapestry of rich architecture, frozen-in-time yet repurposed for modern-day use. Today, a 13th-century Dominican church serves as a four-level bookshop, while just around the corner, the 17th-century Château Neercanne offers a Flemish dining experience on the tiered terrace overlooking Baroque Gardens and the Jeker Valley.

Where to Stay

Hotel Monastère: Behind the doors of Hotel Monastère, a striking blend of Dutch medieval and Parisian contemporary can be found; located in the centre, around the corner from the famed Vrijthof Square, the boutique hotel is housed in a former 14th-century monastery. Be sure to enjoy their Wine O’Clock special when booking.

Boutique Hotel Sint Jacob: Situated on a serene side street within the Jekerkwartier, this boutique hotel is a home away from home. Authentic Delft tiles surround the miniature chimneys, and foraged antique art adorns the walls. Indulge in the open breakfast, which offers locally sourced foods from the cheesemonger, baker and neighbouring dairy farm. A must-try is the Limburgish 'Vlaaien'.

Hotel Cousins: A former 1940s Hat Factory once owned by the noble Scottish Campbell family, each room has a namesake - adopting decor based on the Campbell family members. Be sure to book Grandma Rose's room, inspired by her collection of colourful tableware, now manifested as hues of pink in the form of tiles and ruffles.

Maison Haas Hustinx: Across two monumental buildings dating back to 1920, this architectural gem of a hotel stands in the shadow of the towering Sint Janskerk and Sint Servaas Basiliek. Similarly, the rooms have been brushed with a 20s touch. *Tip - you can rent the spa downstairs privately for you and your friends.

Chateau St. Gerlach: Located on the edge of the Ingendael nature reserve, just outside Maastricht's city centre, sits magnificent Château St. Gerlach, sensitively restored to provide an exceptional luxury experience while maintaining its historic allure. Book a seat at Les Salons, their award-winning restaurant, where guests can relish seasonal dishes while watching the sunset loom across Maastricht.



Where to Eat

Onglet Onglet: a Maastricht must! A former butcher serving up delicate dishes comprising a surprising mix of flavours. To match the symphony of tastes, the assemblage of ingredients is also ranked a work of art, with foamed parmesan and shavings of pickled lemons surrounding delicious plates of prized meat. Be sure to try their vegetarian menu, which is as irresistible as the meat experience.

The Founders Bar: An honorary mention has to be The Founders Bar—a 1920s speakeasy with delicious drinks and interiors, hidden within the Beaumont Hotel. The Bollywood Lord of The Rings cocktail mixes mango foam with creamy coconut liquor and is a must-try. Tip* Stick around for Wednesday Jazz Night.

Au Coin des Bons Enfants: Launched in 1875, this eatery has 'an old soul'. Given its monumental status in 1926, the enchanting space was the first restaurant to promote beer to the upper classes post-war while offering the first dining experience in Maastricht. Recently crowned with a Michelin star in 2023.

Bar Beurre: Bursting with French style, each dish at Bar Beurre embraces a contemporary take on cherished classics. In line with the dancing flavours, expect a party-like ambience with music and a curated selection of fine wines.

Café Sjiek: Every exhibitor and TEFAF team member comes here after a long day at the fair. This vivacious hub was Maastricht's first eatery and holds a special place in locals' hearts. You'll find a delicious selection of wines and a 'living room' style bar.

Chateau Neercanne: Another Michelin restaurant, located within the beautifully restored 17th-century estate, Château Neercanne combines original architecture with an exceptional alfresco setting. When weather permits, guests can dine on the tiered terrace overlooking the UNESCO-listed Baroque Gardens and Jeker Valley.

Safar, Maison Haas Hustinx Hotel: Chef and owner Zeina Haroun - along with Roï Eyny, a Dutch chef with an Iraqi/Israeli background - have orchestrated a menu using fresh herbs and spices to create a balance of taste and texture across their unique dishes, introducing an authentic Levantine experience to Maastricht.

Studio*: Another Michelin-star for Maastricht, Studio* brings contemporary cuisine with an eye for detail and balance with a minimalist backdrop and tablescape. Each dish is underpinned by the seasons and the city's international influence.

De Bisschopsmolen: When in Maastricht, try De Bisschopsmolen's authentic Limburgse Vlaai - a sumptuous cherry pie cherished by the Dutch locals.

What to See & Do

The Bonnefanten Museum: Founded in 1884, this was the first museum in the province of Limburg, initially known as the Provincial Museum of Antiquities. The museum has a unique collection includes works by lesser-known artists and well-known names such as Brueghel, Rubens, and Ai Weiwei. The collection has grown steadily and now includes works by various historical and contemporary artists.

Sint Servaasbasiliek: The Netherlands' oldest church, the Basilica of St. Servatius, is between three historic squares. Primarily in Romanesque style, using millstone grit and marl, the Basilica is an emporium of antique splendour, including its treasure room where the shrine of St. Servatius contains the relics of The Netherlands' first bishop. This authentic representation of 'Maaslands' goldsmith craftsmanship is one of the most valuable in history.

Apostelhoeve Wine tasting: On the Louwberg hillside, in the Jeker Valley (the south side of the city), lies the 15th-century Apostelhoeve (Apostle Farmstead), the oldest and largest vineyard of The Netherlands. Here, you can enjoy a delectable selection of wines with organised tasting sessions on a historic landscape.

Bureau Europa: The Maastricht Institute for Architecture and Design with a view on Europe and the Meuse-Rhine Euroregion. The space puts on exhibitions, tours, workshops and lectures focusing on the past, present and future of architecture. This forward-focused space is a riveting display juxtaposed with the ancient city.

Marres, House for Contemporary Culture: Marres invites visitors to venture into sensory experiences of contemporary culture through the lens of thought-provoking artworks. Explore their public city garden while listening to their unique storytelling platform, The Invisible Collection, which relays artist tales.



Where to Shop

Thiessen Wine Shop: Founded three hundred years ago, the Thiessen Wine Shop remains in Maastricht culture today. Offering a varied catalogue of wines (also available to taste), the experience of entering the aeons-old store and selecting a rare bottle is as memorable as picking a diamond in a jewellery store.

Maison Blanche Dael: Founded by a railway worker and his wife in 1877, Maison Blanche Dael is Limburg's oldest traditional coffee roaster and tea speciality store. A library of delicate teas and coffees circumference the 19th-century building - be sure to peep in the window display to see the working coffee roaster (untouched since the 1960s), which is still used daily for local coffee fiends.

Kiki Niesten: A fanciful vintage store selling lost jewels by Prada, Celine, Azzedine Alaïa, Marni, Balenciaga and Chloé (to name a few). Launched in the 1990s, the store is notable for its swish interior design by Maurice Mentjens, featuring a collection of kaleidoscopic dots adorning the pocket-size store floor.

Boekhandel Dominicanen: The perfect spot for bookworms and history buffs. A cascading four levels of shelved books line the walls of a 13th-century Dominican Church consecrated in 1294. Displaying a striking Gothic style of vaulted ceilings and 14th-century frescos depicting scenes of Thomas Aquinas’ life, visitors never want to leave!


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