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Picture Gallery I
In 50 BC when the Romans recognized the strategic importance of a
town at the junction of major trading routes and established Mosae
Trajectum (i.e. : "crossing the river Meuse"). This settlement grew to become a walled
"castellum", which was
abandoned towards the end of the 4th century.
From the end of the 4th to the beginning of the 8th century, Maastricht
was a bishop’s diocese. St. Servatius, who died in 384, was the first
and St. Lambertus the last bishop. The latter transferred the bishop’s
diocese to Liege.
Until 1795, the Duke of Brabant and the Prince-Bishop of Liege jointly
ruled Maastricht. The rights and privileges of both lords temporal and
ecclesiastical were laid down in the so-called “Alde Caerte” (1284).
Maastricht flourished in the 13th to 15th century, mainly due to the
expanding cloth industry. Before long the town was perceived to be too
cramped, and at the beginning of the 14th century construction work on a
new series of walls was commenced.
The city was one of the strongest European fortresses in order to defend
it against attacks from the South. The town had to endure 19 sieges (by
Austria, Spain and France) with differing outcomes. Louis XIV, the
famous Sun King of France, personally led the siege of Maastricht in
1673. The most recent siege was that of 1794. During 1795, the occupying
French forces took drastic measures, making Maastricht the capital of a
After Napoleon’s defeat at
Waterloo, Maastricht became a part of the United Kingdom of the
Netherlands in 1815. When the southern provinces sought independence
from the North to form Belgium in 1830, the garrison in Maastricht
remained loyal to the Dutch king and in 1839 the city and the eastern
part of Limburg, despite being geographically closer to Belgium, were
permanently added to the Netherlands. Because of the resulting eccentric
location Maastricht was often more focused on Belgium and Germany than
on the rest of the Netherlands, adding to the distinct non-Dutch
character of the city.
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