TEFAF Stories TM24 Maastricht City Guide Map

A Guide to Maastricht During TEFAF

Discover the history and cultural life of Maastricht and five must-see destinations to visit during the fair from March 9 through March 14

The history shared between TEFAF and the city of Maastricht traces back to TEFAF’s predecessor fairs, Pictura and Antiquairs International. These fairs had already laid their foundations in Maastricht in the 1970s and ‘80s, situating themselves among various cultural centers such as Brussels, Cologne, London, and Paris. In 1988, TEFAF found its home at the newly built MECC Maastricht venue, where its flagship fair has been hosted ever since.

Maastricht’s own extensive history remains visible in and about the picturesque city in various ways. Remnants of its prehistoric past can be witnessed when exploring the natural landscape of the Sint-Pietersberg and ENCI quarry, where one can immerse oneself in the canyon-like limestone terrain dating back millions of years. The city’s Roman history also still shines through—what would later become Maastricht proved the ideal location for the Romans to build a bridge across the river Maas along their trade route, initiating a lively settlement that attracted the city’s first real inhabitants. Today, vestiges of a Roman shrine are on display in the underground museum of the Derlon Hotel in the city’s center.

However, when visiting Maastricht, its slender cobblestone streets, tall narrow buildings, historic churches and bridges, and remnants of the old city walls most remind of its medieval history. The monumental Sint Servaasbasiliek [Basilica of Saint Servatius], considered one of the oldest churches in the Netherlands, attracted many pilgrims, and a lively trade economy blossomed in the city. The city’s medieval center stands in contrast with its 19th-century industrial architecture, relics of Maastricht’s past as one of the Netherlands’ oldest industrial cities through its pottery and glass production. These various histories remain felt in Maastricht and go hand in hand with contemporary city life—where the medieval streets are lined with charming bars, restaurants, and boutiques, and its factory buildings host cultural centers, cinemas, and concert halls.

TEFAF Stories TM24 Maastricht City Guide Hicham Khalidi

Hicham Khalidi at the Jan van Eyck Academie. Photos: Maison Rowena.

“Maastricht is a very vibrant cultural center,” says Hicham Khalidi, director of the Jan van Eyck Academie and curator of the Dutch entry for the 2024 Venice Biennale. Khalidi has overseen one of the two largest international artist residencies across the Netherlands, Germany, and Belgium for over five years now. Located in the city’s historic center, every year the academy’s 38 studios are home to, on average, 45 artists and designers from all over the world, selected from 1,000 to 1,300 applicants. “At the Academie, it is not about a status quo—it centers on what art is about, what it wants to do, where it wants to go,” he shares. The academy stimulates a multidisciplinary approach, which is also reflected in the “various artforms and professions that meet here‚ from fine artists, writers, and curators, to designers, food artists, and farmers, from all over the world, which creates a very fruitful ground for conversation, discussion, and creation.” Khalidi’s passion lies with his relationships and collaborations with artists, which is reflected in the Dutch entry for the Venice Biennale 2024. Together with artist Renzo Martens and art collective Cercle d'Art des Travailleurs de Plantation Congolaise (CATPC), the entry focuses on a simultaneous exhibition in Lusanga, Congo, and Venice.

Maastricht lies closely situated to the Belgian border and, having been part of France in the 18th and 19th centuries, still enjoys many cultural and culinary influences from its neighboring countries, contributing to the “Burgundian” lifestyle and atmosphere associated with the city. “What I love about Maastricht is that it offers ‘the best of both worlds’ through the beautiful landscape surrounding it and the vibrancy of the city itself,” says Khalidi. “I would recommend a stroll along the Jeker river, a visit to Château Neercanne, and exploring the landscape of the former ENCI quarry, or the Jezuïetenberg— an underground museum in the corridors of an age-old limestone quarry, elaborately decorated by Jesuit scholars and theologians in the 19th and 20th centuries—which are destinations unique to Maastricht.”

Located in the most southern part of the Netherlands, Khalidi sees Maastricht as a center within the EU region. “We are a mere 30 minutes to a 2.5-hour train ride away from other cities in various countries, such as Aachen in Germany, Amsterdam and Rotterdam in the Netherlands, and Brussels in Belgium,” he shares. The cultural life of Maastricht is strongly felt throughout the city, according to Khalidi. “I always say we have more knowledge here per square meter than any other city.” The academy lies amid Maastricht University, lecture and debate centers, the Natural History Museum of Maastricht, the city’s music academy, and its institute of performative arts, among others. The city also boasts active programs across theater, opera, exhibition spaces, and music festivals. “Maastricht is a diverse city across ages and nationalities. You hear all kinds of languages walking down the street. At the same time, it also has retained its local character.” Together, says Khalidi, this “certainly creates a unique feeling in Maastricht.”

TEFAF ́s Recommended Maastricht Destinations

TEFAF Stories TM24 Maastricht City Guide Bonnefanten

Photos: Maison Rowena.


Avenue Ceramique 250
6221 KX, Maastricht


Bonnefanten is situated in the iconic building designed by Aldo Rossi, on the banks of the river Maas. The museum provides a multivocal and interdisciplinary perspective on distinctive art histories through its all- encompassing collection—where Old Masters and contemporary artists meet. The museum has developed a characteristic orientation towards art and artists not (yet) seen in other museums and, additionally, provides a stage for local and regional artists. From March 9 through August 18, 2024, the first retrospective in a Dutch museum of the work of Sir Isaac Julien, What Freedom Is To Me, will be hosted at the Bonnefanten, following its run at the Tate Britain in 2023.

TEFAF Stories TM24 Maastricht City Guide Dominicanen

Photos: Maison Rowena.


Dominicanerkerkstraat 1
6211 CZ, Maastricht


After having served its religious and various secular purposes, the 13th-century Dominican church in Maastricht’s city center—considered the first Gothic church in the Low Countries—is now home to the unique Dominicanen Bookstore. Its interior includes early-17th-century frescoes in its ceiling vaults and a secco mural on the life of Thomas Aquinas from the 14th century, the oldest depiction of the saint known in Europe. The murals, which had suffered considerable loss over time, were restored and conserved by the Maastricht-based conservation institute SRAL and are highlighted with an educational installation. This rich history merges with 1,200 square meters dedicated to books across genres, creating an exceptional experience for anyone entering the Dominicanen Bookstore.

TEFAF Stories TM24 Maastricht City Guide Brut172

Photo: Patrick Meis. Courtesy of Brut172.


Reijmerstokkerdorpsstraat 143
6274 NK, Reijmerstok


Founded in 2020 by chef Hans van Wolde, Michelin-starred restaurant Brut172 offers a variety of menus based on pure dishes with a strong focus on local ingredients of the finest and highest quality. Located in the quaint countryside village of Reijmerstok, just outside of Maastricht, Brut172 is housed in a restored farmhouse, combining rustic architecture with a modern design interior. Van Wolde’s philosophy behind Brut172 emphasizes its guests’ all-encompassing experience—from being led through various spaces of the restaurant, such as the green houses, the wine bar, and the main dining area, to the offering of overnight stays in the Brute Lodges or Brute Mansion.

TEFAF Stories TM24 Maastricht City Guide Marres

Photos: Maison Rowena.

Marres, House for Contemporary Culture

Capucijnenstraat 98
6211 RT, Maastricht


Marres, House for Contemporary Culture is located in a monumental mansion in the heart of Maastricht, which was commissioned in 1680 by the then mayor of the city. The historic façade veils immersive contemporary art exhibitions and a large city garden. Marres’s installations typically take over the entire building, morphing its interior into enveloping spaces where visitors get to experience shifting perspectives using their sensory perception. From March 7 through May 26, 2024, the exhibition Opaque Spirits by Arturo Kameya explores Marres as a hotel where the ghosts of the failed Peruvian state have taken up residence. Next door, one finds Marres Kitchen restaurant serving a refined menu of Mediterranean and Middle Eastern cuisine.

TEFAF Stories TM24 Maastricht City Guide Restaurant Chateau Neercanne

Photos: Chantal Arnts. Courtesy of Oostwegel Collection.

Restaurant Château Neercanne

Von Dopfflaan 10
6213 NG, Maastricht


Château Neercanne dates back to the 17th century and houses the culinary destination of Michelin-starred Restaurant Château Neercanne, which celebrates homegrown and local ingredients with Chef de Cuisine Robert Levels’ outstanding French- inspired menu. The restaurant combines the Château’s original architecture with an exceptional outdoor setting, overlooking UNESCO-listed Baroque gardens and Jeker Valley when the weather allows. Inside, one can sample carefully chosen vintages in the wine cellar housed in the ancient Marl Caves and passageways that run throughout the building.

TEFAF Stories offers unique perspectives into the world of fine art, antiques, and design.