An Expats Introduction to Maastricht

View of the river and embankment in Maastricht
River Mass, Maastricht

Maastricht is the capital of Limburg which is often referred to as the oddly-shaped Dutch province nestled between Belgium to the south and west and Germany to the east. Situated on the Belgian border and a short distance from Germany on both sides of the Meuse River, it’s a multifaceted city known for its rich history and culture, a popular hit with international tax and transfer pricing expats.


Maastricht is distinguished by its medieval-era architecture and vibrant cultural scene, which makes it an interesting relocation destination for ambitious corporate tax expats. Its cobbled old town is known for the Romanesque Basilica of St. Servatius, housing a significant collection of religious art and the Gothic-style church, Sint Janskerk. Along the banks of the Maas River bisecting the city, lays the futuristic-looking Bonnefanten art museum.

Maastricht has a long history as a city of arts and culture and has four municipal cultural institutions; Like Theater aan het Vrijthof, Kumulus, Centre Céramique or Natuurhistorisch Museum.

Maastricht was the first Dutch city to be liberated by Allied forces after WWII ended and was also the site of the signing of the Maastricht Treaty in 1992, which led to the creation of the European Union and the Euro.


Although Maastricht is not a very big city, it is usually buzzing with people day and night, many of which are students and expats. There are hundreds of shops, bars, cafés, restaurants, clubs, galleries, and theatres etcetera. Maastricht is also known as a city of indulgence and culinary highlights. The city’s celebration of Carnival (pictured below) is among the biggest and most festive in all of the Netherlands.

Maastricht has plenty of green areas within the city. There are beautiful parks beside the Meuse river and in the historic setting of the city centre. They make a wonderful place for studying on a sunny day or just simply to relax in. Be sure to make use of them!

Maastricht city centre event


Although Dutch remains the dominant language of the city, the local dialect, Limburgish, can still be heard. During the 18th century, French was the predominant language in the city, especially in upper-class circles. The French influence remains evident in some street names within the old city centre.

Nowadays, German is also widely spoken due to the proximity of Maastricht to the German border. Similarly, English is becoming more widely spoken, particularly in educational settings like Maastricht University where many courses are taught in English.


Maastricht map

Maastricht has its own airport, referred to by locals as Beek, just 10km north of the city centre, making it easy for expats to travel back and forth to their hometown. Another seven airports can be reached in less than an hour by car. The main train station is close to the Centrum. The smaller station, Maastricht Randwyck, is close to the university and business district.

High-speed trains stop in Maastricht en route to Amsterdam, Brussels, Frankfurt, Cologne, London and Paris, taking around three hours. In addition to regular bus services, you can travel by boat from Belgium and the rest of the Netherlands and arrive at Beatrixhaven.

If you have a car and you live in an area of Maastricht in which parking charges apply and space is scarce then you can apply for a parking permit. If you live outside Maastricht and travel to and from the city each day, it is best to use public transport as much as possible.


City centre

In the centre of the city you can often find houses with a garden, however, the streets can be cramped and you will invariably find it hard to park close to your home.

Historic buildings dating back to the 17th-century jostle with shops, cafes, restaurants and weekly markets in the centre of Maastricht. Vrijthof square is a beautiful place to sit and enjoy the surroundings and on the right day, an open-air concert or event. There are huge numbers of daily visitors to Onze Lieve Vrouwebasiliek (the cathedral) and the exclusive stores located in the Stokstraatkwartier.

Encompassing city walls, university buildings and the municipal park (Stadspark), the Jekerkwartier has an artistic slant that entices creative types and students.

Right Bank

Across the river is the old neighbourhood of Wyck, famous for speciality stores selling antiques, art and delicious food, a must-do for new expats. Further south is the new district of Ceramique which was previously a large industrial ceramic manufacturing area. Since 1995 it has been developed into a modern residential, business and museum district favoured by expats and locals wanting modern accommodation in an inner-city suburb with all amenities and services.

River Maas East

Located on the right bank of the River Maas between the antique neighbourhood Wyck and the business and residential area Randwyck is the interesting industrial-turned-architectural quarter Céramique (pictured). The major Avenue Céramique bears the striking Bonnefanten Museum and its zinc-coated tower “cupola” that’s secured a spot in the Maastricht skyline. Also, situated in this former ceramic-manufacturing area is Derlon Theatre, a former plate factory; Plein 1992, a square whose ground is marked with copper tiles, symbolising the birth of the euro in Maastricht; and Centre Céramique, a versatile building that masquerades as the city hall, the city library, an exhibition centre, and the European Journalism Centre. The myriad of apartment complexes designed by Swiss, Spanish, Dutch and Belgian architects makes the district of Céramique highly suitable for expats seeking conveniently located modern housing.

Bassin and Belvedere

The inner-city harbour, ‘t Bassin, is found on the northwest side of Maastricht and encompasses the districts of Bosscherveld, Lanakerveld, Front Quarter and some parts of Statenkwartier and Boschstraatkwartier. Since redevelopment started in 1999, this area has turned into a residential and commercial global village.

Saint Pieter

This green residential area sits along Jeker valley and St Petersberg Hill but it is still within walking distance to the city centre or into Belgium. The Saint Pietersberg tunnels – quarried into the marlstone to create underground shelter for protection against invasion by foreign forces – plus Marl Caves and St Pieter’s Fortare are all popular tourist attractions. (Pictured right: Mount Saint Pieter).

City limits and surroundings

There are spacious surrounding landscapes decorated with vineyards, orchards and the occasional restaurant and hotel. Golfing, water sports and outdoor recreational activities are plenty for those who enjoy an active life.

Keen to find out more about exat life in Maastricht? Explore our blogs below:
Finding accommodation in Maastricht as an Expat
Expat Q&A: Relocating to Masstricht

If you are interested in a move to Maastricht or anywhere else in the world and would like to speak to Kingpin International about International Tax Opportunities, please contact a member of the team. Alternatively, please browse our current International Tax vacancies.