Vrijthof

Visit Maastricht’s largest square to discover ancient churches and stylish houses overlooking an enticing array of cafés and restaurants. 

Paved with cobblestones and lined with neatly-pruned old trees, Vrijthof is a picturesque square. The square’s original use was far less enchanting, as it used to be a cemetery and later a place of executions. Follow the route that pilgrims have taken since the Middle Ages when you visit the tomb of St. Servaas and enjoy some of the city’s best views when you climb the high tower of Sint Janskerk (St. John’s Church). Take in a performance at the city’s main theater or catch one of the regular outdoor concerts and events held here. Make sure you take the time to sit in one of the many cafés and enjoy the atmosphere of this iconic location. 

The city’s first bishop, St. Servaas, was buried here in  A.D 384. Start your visit at the St. Servaas Church to see his tomb. The grand, Romanesque church dates back to the 10th century, although records show there was a structure here long before that. Spend some time browsing the religious artworks. 

Next door you will find the large, Gothic church of St. John. In the summer months you can climb to the top of the distinctive red tower for views across the city. 

Enjoy a night at the Vrijthof Theater, which has a year-round program of events. Even if you don’t attend a performance, be sure to stop and admire the impressive neoclassical façade.

Regular events take place in Vrijthof. The most important is the Maastricht Carnival at the beginning of Lent each year. Join the thousands of costumed people who descend on the square to watch the hoisting of a giant mascot. If you visit in the summer months, attend one of the classical outdoor concerts. 

On any given day you can participate in one of Vrijthof’s most enjoyable activities, sitting at a café table and watching the world go by beneath the trees and the shuttered windows of the Dutch mansions.


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