I’ve said it before and no doubt I’ll say it again: a good thing to complete upon arrival in a new city would be to glean a peek at exactly what the place looks like from a bird’s eye perspective. This not only gives you an idea of design of the land, but all allows you to begin to see the new angle. And so, during my trip to Maastricht in the Southern Netherlands, my first port of call ended up being to search for the very best view in Maastricht!
The Tower of Sint-Janskerk
If you give yourself time for you to visit only one paid attraction during Maastricht, make it a trip in the rather unusual tower of Sint-Janskerk. As the church itself is free to visit, for just EUR2.50 it’s possible to climb the 281 spiralling steps from the narrow tower and ascend onto the red roof of the church. In the top, probably the very best view in Maastricht will be found.
Built within the 14th-century, St John’s Church are available in the middle of the historic part of Maastricht. Although it was actually built to function as a baptistry for that St Servaas Chapter, over the years it served several purposes, including use being an independent parish church.
Since 2003, Sint-Janskerk has been part of the Protestant Church of the Netherlands. And its church tower is painted within the colour red for a number of reasons, not least because this shade of red is the hue of Maastricht. Because the tower is constructed from marlstone, the fabric oxidies, eventually leading to large chunks of stone falling. As a result, the tower is repainted on a regular basis, so as to hold the plaster together and stop harm to the monument!
While not technically within the city limits of Maastricht itself, if you want to take in some history, even while admiring an incredible view, I highly recommend hiking some distance on vacation and on to the far side from the Sint Pietersberg Park to explore some Duch Castle Ruins.
In the past, Hoeve Lichtenberg (which is also known locally as Kasteelru”ine Lichtenberg), was one of the few mountain resorts within the Netherlands. Today, the castle ruins are housed within a newer farm and are liberated to visit. Little is left of the original fortifications, which go as far back to the 13th-century, except for the donjon.
Climb the wooden steps, move onto the viewing platform, and you’ll be rewarded and among the best views to be found any place in Maastricht. Came from here, it’s possible to see much of the Meuse Valley laid out before you. Nearby, the Sint Pieters Museum are available in an adjacent farm building.
Fort Sint Pieter
On the fringes of Maastricht, in a place where the city meets the Limburg landscape, the fort of Sint Pietersberg soon makes it apparent why this region from the Netherlands is really not the same as somewhere like South Holland. After all, as opposed to the flat, open landscapes and sprawling cities available in Holland, Limburg is forest and rolling hills.
Fort Sint Pieter was first founded as a fort around 1700 and sits high over the Meuse River below, offering incredible views to the town of Maastricht and beyond. For those who wish to explore a brief history of the area on the deeper level, guided tours can be found from the fort, as well as below it. In the end, this area of Maastricht is home to many meandering tunnels which often go as far back centuries.