Things to do and visit in the vicinity of Maastricht.
Maastricht has three train stations, of which the most important is Maastricht Central Station. From Maastricht central station most international connections go to Belgium (Liège) and national connections to all parts of the country including Amsterdam and Schiphol (airport). Maastricht has also a bus station, which is located at Maastricht Central Station. The bus station is divided into two sections: city buses and regional buses. All buses stop here, as well as the international buses to Belgium (Hasselt) and Germany (Aachen). Although trains normally represent a faster and cheaper alternative to regional buses, the cheapest option to the German city of Aachen is bus # 50. Buy tickets from the bus driver.
Bus trips through the Limburg country side or to Aachen (Germany). If you have time left in between the concerts, a good idea might be to take a bus from the bus station (next to the Maastricht railway station). Departure: every 15 minutes.For instance: Bus # 57 will take you to several beautiful Limburg villages like Slenaken, Epen, Gulpen, Mechelen, near the Belgium border. Buy a day-ticket for € 8,50 and hop on and hop off. Bus # 50 will take you to Aken/Aachen in Germany (a one hour’s drive), the city of Charlemagne (Charles the Great: 747-814). The bus departs four times an hour and on the weekends twice an hour. Buy tickets from the bus driver. A return ticket to Aachen will be € 8,50. There is also a bus stop (after 25 minutes) in Margraten (American Military War Cemetry).
On May 31st 2015, L1mbourgeois broadcast an item about the Taratynov-family. (Alexander Taratynov created André Rieu’s sculpture). The family has bought the abandoned empty castle “Strijthagen” in Landgraaf, another Limburg town near Heerlen (37 minutes by train from Maastricht railway station, departure is twice an hour). The family restored the castle and turned it into an art gallery. The interview with Alexander Taratynov is in English. Click HERE for the L1 program.
Would you like to visit the American Military War Cemetry in MARGRATEN??It is not too far from Maastricht! Go to the Maastricht train station. In front of the train station you’ll find the bus station. Take bus #50 in the direction of Aken/Aachen (Germany). Buses depart every 15 minutes: 0.15/0.30/0.45.etc. Buy a bus ticket from the driver for € 3,00. Exit the bus after 25 minutes at bus stop Margraten.
CHATEAU ST. GERLACH, PARK, CHURCH.In 2011 André's statue was here in the park. The country estate and park is worth while a visit. It is open to the public (for free) in Geulhem/Houthem, near Valkenburg. A stylish baroque garden, a farmhouse herb garden, a standard-tree fruit arboretum and a rose garden. The baroque garden of the castle-hotel displays several statues and pieces of art. You can have nice walks from the estate to the romantic Geul river, which is typical for the Limburg scenery (routes available at the reception desk). It’s a hotel, restaurant, bistro. The church and the treasury are also open to the public. The history of the estate (former convent) dates back to the 12th century. You can see a short video about the life of Saint Gerlach (only in Dutch). Take the train from Maastricht train station, platform 6, in the direction of Heerlen. The train departs every 15 minutes at XX.02, XX.11, XX.32, XX.41. It is a 10 minute ride. Exit at the third stop: station Houthem/St.Gerlach. Turn to the left and walk to the estate. There is a nice brasserie/terrace to have a drink, lunch or dinner.You could also take a taxi from Maastricht (and ask the driver to stop for the cliff dwellings).GEULHEM. If you go by car: The address for your navigation system is: Joseph Corneli Allee 1, 6301 KK Valkenburg. Coming from Maastricht you'll pass a few cliff dwellings in the village of Geulhem. In early days, people who extracted sand stone from the hills lived there. That's how the caves of Valkenburg were made. Visiting the caves of Valkenburg is also an interesting daytrip.
André’ssculpture is not here in the park anymore.
Cliff dwellings in the village of Geulhem.
Church of Saint Gerlach
VALKENBURG and THERMAE 2000 (Wellness center).This might also be an enjoyable day trip.Going to Valkenburg by train: from the Maastricht station platform 6 (direction Heerlen) a train departs every 15 minutes. XX.02, XX.11, XX.32, XX.41. Exit the Valkenburg station (fourth stop).
Valkenburg has the oldest railway station in the Netherlands, so have a look! Travel time to Valkenburg by train: 13 minutes. You may also visit several caves: one of them is: Gemeentegrot.Another way to Valkenburg is via bus # 51 from the Maastricht bus station (next to the railway station). Thermae 2000 is a famous wellness center on the top of the Cauberg (“mountain”) in Valkenburg. For Thermae 2000 it is better to take bus # 51 (direction Hoensbroek). Buses depart from Maastricht twice an hour, at XX.47 and XX.17. Depart the bus at the stop: Cauberg, Valkenburg. Total travel time: 30 minutes. The Thermae website says the bus stop is close to their entrance. Swimming suit needed. If you have any more questions, please mail firstname.lastname@example.org.
THREE COUNTRY POINT in VAALS.If you like to step on the point where three countries meet, you will need to travel to the “DRIELANDENPUNT”(Three countries point) in Vaals. Now you can say you have been in the Netherlands, Belgium and Germany, all on one square meter! Bus # 50 departs from the bus station (in front of the train station of Maastricht) every 15 min. at 0.15, 0.30, 0.45. 0.00, in the direction of Aachen (Germany). After about a 90 minutes bus ride, you exit the bus near Drielandenpunt in Vaals, but another 30 minutes walk is required. Here you can also climb the highest “mountain” of the Netherlands: 327 meters high. Doesn’t that sound interesting? On the picture (left): Jim Morgan is in the Netherlands and Ruud is in Germany. Your cell phone will go crazy! On the picture (below): Ruud climbed our one and only “mountain”, called “Vaalserberg”! Ruth Morgan takes a picture.
Picture above: Charcoal drawing in the Gemeente Grot (cave) in Valkenburg.
HOENSBROEK CASTLEA very interesting historic castle from the 14th century. Address: Klinkertstraat 118, 6433 PB Hoensbroek (north of Heerlen). Tel. 0031- 45-5227272. www.kasteelhoensbroek.nl/en .Four floors, about 30 rooms, a jail and a tower to roam around. Narrow stairs, no elevators! At the attics you may find the exhibition about the Dutch movie “Code M”, in which André Rieu played a part. You may watch parts of the movie over there. It’s all about finding d’Artagnan’s sword! Click HERE to read more about the movie (which was released in June 2015 in the Dutch cinemas) on this website.The castle is situated 25 km from Maastricht. Take the train to Heerlen (track 6) 20 minutes. Take the bus in Heerlen (destiny Brunssum), for another 20 minutes and exit at stop Juliana Bernhardlaan/kasteel Hoensbroek.
THE OLD CEMETERY IN ROERMOND.A Daytrip to the Old Cemetery (from 1785) in Roermond: "Grave with the Hands".Train from Maastricht’s platform 3 (train to Amsterdam), departs 28 and 58 past the hour to Roermond. Duration of the trip: 30 minutes. Next take bus 80 from the bus station (final destination Koningsbosch) and continue for four more stops. (10 minutes) by bus. Exit at stop: Bredeweg/Kerkhofweg. You could also take bus 12 to stop “Kapel In ‘t Zand”.In the Old Cemetery you will see a love story from the 19th century. It contains two monuments, named: "the Grave with the Hands". What happened around the year 1840?? A young noble lady: Lady Josephine van Aefferden fell in love with a commoner colonel in the army, Jacob van Gorkum, who happened to be 11 years her senior. In the 19th century this was a big problem. First: a noble lady was not allowed to marry a commoner. Second: he was far too old for her. Third: she was raised Roman Catholic and he was raised Protestant. There were limits. The couple experienced many difficulties and problems, as they were not allowed to marry. Still they persisted and were married in Germany. They had a very happy marriage. Their marriage lasted for 38 years, had 5 children and they stayed happy until Jacob died first. In 1880 Jacob passed away and it was still not possible for them to be buried together, since the cemetery was divided into five sections for all the different religions. Jacob had to be buried in the Protestant section and Josephine in the Catholic section. Josephine buried him near the wall in the Protestant section of the cemetery. People found that strange since there were better places there, but she had a plan.... She erected a monument like a pole.Eight years later Josephine died and was not buried in her noble family grave (can also be seen at the graveyard), but..... right across the grave of her beloved husband, against the raised stone wall of the Catholic section. There was a wall in between the Protestant and the Catholic sections of the graveyard! People were amazed when a same type monument was erected like a pole, on her side. The solution to this strange way of burying two people, who had loved each other their whole life, came with the final monument: a male hand and a female hand holding each other over the wall in eternity. Isn't this a touching love story? The monuments will be renovated this spring/summer (2015) but we hope they will be ready and placed back before July 2015.Another interesting grave is the one of Pierre Cuypers (1827 – 1921), a famous Dutch architect, who built the Amsterdam Central Railway Station and the Rijksmuseum. He was born in Roermond, Limburg.Another interesting grave is the grave of a Dutch Zouave: Mr. Küppers. A Zouave is a soldier in the army of the Pope. In the 19th century the Pope was a warlord, trying to conquer entire Italy. In 1870 his army was defeated by the freedom fighters of Garibaldi. Afterwards the Pope withdrew to the Vatican. The soldiers of the Pope’s army wore fancy costumes inspired by the North African traditional clothing of that time. That is why the present Swiss guard of the Vatican still wears fancy colored costumes.Funny note: In Ineke's ancestry there were three brothers who served in the Pope's army in the 19th century and survived. From the total of 22 Dutch Zouaves, 11 survived the Battle of Rome in 1870 and returned to the Netherlands.
Pictures of the grave: by Frank Janssen. Below: Ineke’s ancesters.
A (full) day trip to the original “Red Rose Café” in Hoorn(north of Amsterdam).In 1976 Pierre Kartner wrote the famous song "The Red Rose Café", also known as "The little Café on the Harbor". This song became popular all over the world and numerous artists recorded it. In 2002, André and the JSO also recorded "The Red Rose Café" and presented the first copy of the CD to Pierre Kartner. The original Red Rose Café is 't Schippershuis in the town of Hoorn! There they have 178 different versions of the song available. In 2008 we did organize a trip to Hoorn and the café. In 2012 we noticed a renewed interest in visiting Hoorn and the café and we did a day trip again. Right-click on the picture below to open the document with a full description of this (full day) trip from Maastricht to Hoorn.To save the document on your own computer, click the small floppy disc icon at the top-left of the document.You like to read more about the Song and the Café? In 2007 we made a video clip of our visit to the Café: Click HERE. On Sonja's Translations site there is another interesting article: Click HERE.
The one and only HUNDERTWASSER house in the Netherlands is in the South of Limburg: in Houthem St. Gerlach, municipality of Valkenburg. Friedrich Stowasser was born in Vienna, Austria. He changed his name to Hundertwasser. He lived from 1928 - 2000. He was a controversial artist: architect and painter. He turned his buildings into pieces of art. No straight lines, colorful and green plants inside and outside. He was convinced that people felt better there.
This is the Hundertwasser Ronald MacDonald house in Houthem St. Gerlach, municipality of Valkenburg. It is a holiday resort for families with special need children. It is named: Childsvalley. Doesn’t it look great??Address: Onderstestraat 35,6301 KA Valkenburg.
The video below will give you an impression of Maastricht and its surroundings.
ATTENTION: Construction works in front of the Maastricht central station.Currently (2016-2017) a huge underground bicycle parking facility is being constructed in front of the Maastricht railway station. So when leaving the station, you’ll see a big hole in between the train station and the Grand Hotel de l’Empereur. You’ll have to make a detour to the left to find the bus station, or you have to make a detour to the right to find the taxi cabs. Hopefully the undergroud bicycle parking facility will be completed at the end of 2017.
Gaia Zoo in Kerkrade.An award winning Zoo. Only 30 minutes from Maastricht. Address: Dentgenbachweg 105, 6468 PG Kerkrade.Open every day from 10 AM. On March 21st 2017 a pygmy hippo was born in this Zoo.Train departure from Maastricht railway station, track 6, every 30 minutes at XX.59 and XX.29 to Heerlen. Take bus 20 at the Heerlen busstation with Kerkrade as final destination. Exit after 25 minutes at busstop Gaia Zoo. One way ticket price: € 7. Admission Zoo: € 20,50. Total travel time: approx. 1 hour.
Brand spanking new Arriva train knows no borders.Starting February first, 2019, transport company Arriva launches 8 new Sprinter trains between Maastricht railway station and Aachen, Germany. The specialty of these eight new 3C sprinters is that they can use electricity of three different voltages: 1,5 kV in the Netherlands, 3 kV in Belgium and 15 kV alternating current in Germany. They can also travel with three different safety systems. It is the prelude to more cross-border regional traffic. The initial route will be Maastricht-Aachen in Germany. Liege in Belgium will follow soon.Each train has 180 seats. Each train is equipped with kind of a "living room" equipped with long benches, electrical outlets, wifi, air conditioner and USB connections. Dutch people can pay with their OV chipcard to travel on these trains.The Maastricht-Aachen route will take 60 minutes, with stops in Meerssen, Valkenburg, Heerlen, Landgraaf, Eygelshoven, Herzogenrath and Aachen-West. At the Aachen Main Station you can change trains to German cities like Cologne, Berlin, Frankfurt. German travelers can change the train in Heerlen for travel to Utrecht and Amsterdam.