Maastricht is the southernmost city in the Netherlands, and is the capital of the province of Limburg. Situated within walking distance of Belgium and cycling distance of Germany, it claims to be the oldest city in the Netherlands. A great place to spend some time, it contains some magnificent buildings and culture, taking the form of plenty of old houses and buildings, lovely cathedrals and a spectacularly cobblestoned town centre.
Maastricht is an especially popular tourist destination in the Netherlands because of its historical old center and broad shopping possibilities. The city is home to approximately 120,000 people. The University of Maastricht attracts many national and foreign students to the city.
Geographically, the city is split in half by a major river (the Maas), with the majority of commercial activity being concentrated on the Western bank of the river, and the train station and the Bonnefanten Museum on the Eastern side.
The VVV is a branch office of the Dutch national tourist agency. The office offers maps, souvenirs, and local, regional, and national travel suggestions. They can be located in Maastricht at Kleine Staat 1, in the city center.
The name Maastricht is derived from Latin Trajectum ad Mosam (or Mosae Trajectum), meaning 'crossing at the Meuse', and referring to the bridge built by the Romans. The Latin name first appears in medieval documents and it is not known whether this was Maastricht's official name during Roman times.
There is some debate as to whether Maastricht is the oldest city in the Netherlands. Some people consider Nijmegen the oldest, mainly because it was the first settlement in the Netherlands to receive Roman city rights. Maastricht never did, but it may be considerably older as a settlement. In addition, Maastricht can claim uninterrupted habitation since Roman times.