It’s no coincidence that Maastricht is home to some of the greatest museums in the Netherlands. As one of the oldest cities in the country – the first settlement in the region was founded around 25,000 years ago – Maastricht has a lot of history to tell. Want to discover the city’s finest art and culture? Check out our list of the 10 best museums in Maastricht:
Founded in 1884, the Bonnefanten is a mecca for art lovers in Maastricht! This world-renowned museum is home to an extraordinary permanent collection combining artwork from different movements and times in history. Contemporary art enthusiasts will be especially keen on Bonnenfanten’s changing exhibitions.
These mostly spotlight contemporary artists, as part of the museum’s mission is to “discover non-mainstream artists and art practices”. Plus, the Bonnefanten building is a work of art in itself. Designed by post-modern Italian architect Aldo Rossi, its most eye-catching feature is its rocket-shaped cupola that overlooks the River Meuse.
The Helpoort is the only remaining part of Maastricht’s old city walls. These were built from 1230 following an order given by Henry I and served mainly for military defense purposes. Today, it hosts a fascinating museum where you can learn about the fortress’s history. And have we mentioned the beautiful gardens and fields that surround it? We can’t think of a better way to combine cultural immersion with a leisurely stroll!
The Natural History Museum of Maastricht is a small and cozy museum housed in a former monastery in the center of the city. Here, visitors can learn about Limburg’s nature and wildlife from prehistoric times until today! Little ones will especially enjoy a visit to this museum. Don’t forget to check out the museum garden during your visit. Aside from being surrounded by a variety of cool plants, you can peek into a real, buzzing beehive there!
Fotomuseum aan het Vrijthof is an incredible photography museum located inside Maastricht’s oldest preserved mansion. Known as the ‘Spanish Government’, this is the building where the Duke of Parma is said to have signed William of Orange’s outlaw during the Eighty Years’ War.
Today, the building is home to a museum that focuses on using photography to spark discussions around issues of social relevance. Twice a year, it hosts a new temporary exhibition spotlighting a national or international name from the photography world.
The Museum of Illusions is an interactive museum where visitors can learn more about science through exciting visual illusions. Here, nothing is really what it seems – you’ll be able to stand upside down, defy the laws of gravity, or even jump into a rotating cylinder. The Museum of Illusions is perfect for a couple of hours of fun with the whole family. Be prepared to take lots of Instagram-worthy pictures!
Maastricht is one of the oldest cities in the Netherlands – second only to Nijmegen. The first settlements in the area date back to the Stone Age! In the Hotel Derlon Cellar Museum, visitors can see some of Maastricht’s history up close. That’s because when the hotel was under construction in the 1980s, archeologists found Roman artifacts on the site. Today, the hotel’s cellar is fully dedicated to this period of Maastricht’s history. Here, you’ll feel like you’ve teleported to Roman Maastricht, as you’ll be surrounded by ruins dating back to the 4th century BC!
Derlon Cellar Museum | Onze Lieve Vrouweplein 6 (Hotel Derlon) | Get your tickets at the hotel reception.
Calling all architecture and design enthusiasts! Bureau Europa is the place to be in Maastricht for those interested in the politics and aesthetics of designed spaces. The institute organizes installations, lectures, and other activities in the fields of architecture, design, and urbanism. Check out their agenda here!
Would you like to savor some Maastricht-brewed beer and learn all about how it’s made? Then a tour of Bosch Brewery is for you! A mix between a brewery (dating from 1758!) and a museum, here you can learn about brewing techniques and the Bosch family history. Of course, you won’t leave the Bosch Brewery thirsty! You’ll get to taste two special beers during your tour. Check out all the tour options here.
The Drukkunstmuseum is a unique museum in Maastricht – and that’s because it’s entirely dedicated to the art of printing! Since this is a really niche topic, the museum is able to go really in-depth about printing history despite being quite small. The fact that it’s located inside a historic printing establishment dating from 1900 of course also adds to the atmosphere. We recommend this place to all art enthusiasts looking for an activity different from your usual museum visits!
Drukkunstmuseum | Jodenstraat 22 | Get your tickets at the museum entrance.
Maastricht Underground is a mysterious labyrinth originally excavated to mine chalk more than 1000 years ago! Despite not being exactly a museum, the place is so unique and culturally rich that we couldn’t leave it off this list. This is one of our favorite things to do in Maastricht and the kind of activity you simply cannot miss! Be sure to take a tour of the Maastricht Underground to learn everything about the caves’ history. Here, you can also see artwork engraved onto the walls by Limburgish artists throughout the years.
Now that you know Maastricht’s must-visit museums, you’re ready to explore the city’s past and present! If you’re looking for more tips on how to spend a fun weekend in the city, check out our guide to the best things to do in Maastricht.
Have a lovely time and see you soon! 😉🇳🇱