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Apr 26, 2011

André Rieu My Maastricht

André Rieu My Maastricht

MAASTRICHT is very, very important in my life. This is my home. I am travelling half the year around the world, every year, so coming home is one of the most beautiful things. I was born here, I live here and it's a beautiful city, but it's not too big. The luxury for me living in this Dutch city is that my studio is a 10 minute walk from my home, or five minutes when I drive.

There's a rich history to this town. The Romans founded Maastricht in 50BC so it is a rather old place, with a lot of old buildings. Maastricht was a "wanted" city over the years. But the Maastricht guys were very clever. We have a lot of rivers here so they had a whole system where they could open doors and flood the whole surroundings. They'd wait for the French to come and set up their tents and everything, then they'd open the doors and the French would be swimming all around. The old part of town is very rich in history and you can still see many of the buildings around that are hundreds of years old.

I live in a castle called De Torentjes, or Small Towers. It was built by a French duke, who was also a musician. Sometimes tourists come and see my home. They stand there and wait and when my wife, Marjorie, and I want to take the dogs for a walk, they are still there.

The building of De Torentjes started in 1452, with other parts added in 1600, 1700, 1800, and now I am building more. The oldest part of the castle is the kitchen, which is where the real D'Artagnan of The Three Musketeers fame is said to have had his last breakfast before he died in a battle serving Louis XIV.

There's an André Rieu River Cruise that goes down the river Maas, past my home. I hear them when the wind is good, or bad if that's what you think, and we can hear them say, "there is where André Rieu lives".

Tourists coming here to Maastricht is a good thing. Every year I play a massive concert with my Johann Strauss Orchestra in the main square, known as Vrijthof Square. Some 10,000 people sit there watching, all the hotels are full for eight evenings. So everybody is very happy with me but it is OK, I am happy with this city. The whole thing I love about Maastricht is it is so small but not too small that meeting each other and being here is a nice week of your life.

If you are in Maastricht for a day, just walk around and see the city. For me, I always like to get up bright and early. When I'm not on tour, I love to have a long breakfast at home in my garden. Then I'd go for a walk with my wife and our two dogs past the magnificent St Pietersberg caves, built in Roman times. After that I would walk to our most beautiful square of the Netherlands, the Vrijthof of Maastricht. I'd sit on the terrace of the iconic Vogelstruys restaurant, our oldest cafe in town and have a coffee and a Vlaai (a typical Limburg cake).

The advantage of Maastricht is that you have everything in walking distance. From the Vogelstruys I would go shopping in the Stockstraat district, where you can buy everything from local souvenirs to clothes from big-name chain stores or department outlets. Then afterwards I would go to the Bisschopsmolen, the oldest and only working water mill in the Netherlands. It has its own bakery and is a definite must if you come here.

Before heading home for an afternoon nap, I would enjoy a light lunch at the Kruisheren hotel, a beautiful hotel with delicious food. The Kruisherenhotel was once a 15th-century church. In the afternoon I'd go to the Bonefante Museum, our Museum of Archeology and Modern Arts, which is by the river Maas.

The best coffee in Maastricht is at Coffeelovers at the Dominicanenkerk. This is also a beautiful modern bookstore housed in an old church. I always enjoy dinner at local low key Italian restaurant Il Giardino, in the old part of town on the Onze Lieve Vrouweplein.

To close an evening in Maastricht, I'd enjoy a walk home along the ancient walls of the old city. Another option, of course, would be a beautiful performance at our Theater aan het Vrijthof.

Last but not least, if I didn't live in Maastricht myself, I would stay at the cozy boutique Derlon Hotel, where they have a Rieu Suite, in which one of my World Music Awards is kept.

The best time to visit Maastricht is in February and March during Carnival. You will see the most original costumes and painted faces. People prepare one year in advance for this and my son, Pierre, is a big fan.

Besides that, July is an excellent time to visit, since we have our traditional open-air concerts on the Vrijthof, together with all the surrounding cafes. This is a unique experience ....... Enjoy!

André Rieu's Celebration of Music tour will be at the Brisbane Entertainment Centre on May 18 and 19. Tickets on sale through Ticketek, www.ticketek.com.au ph 132 849.
Thanks to Mike, Margaret and Rob for sending us this.

3 comments:

Sue Berry said...

It's fun to read the places André likes in Maastricht, especially for those who will be going there in the future ... :)

Barbara said...

Andre describes Maastricht so beautiful that you wish you were there. I really enjoyed reading all the things he likes to do. Every morning before i vote for Andre i look at the Vrijthof webcam to see what the weather is like there that day and to see what is happening on the square. In February and March i could see the carnival on the square, i could see the people skating- the ferris wheel-the merry-go-round all the tents and people walking, at night you can see all the lights coming on and it just looks absolutely beautiful. Maybe one day i will get to visit Maastricht and see all the beautiful spots Andre spoke about and with any luck maybe i might run into Andre as well, now wouldn't that be really nice. Love you blue eyes, Barb

InekeHolland said...

What a wonderful article about Maastricht!! Andre describes a lot of places which we also mention in our Maastricht city walks on our website(www.andrerieu-movies.com under Maastricht information. If you come to Maastricht: print them and take them with you to Maastricht. Did you know that the Andre Rieu Suite in the Derlon Hotel cost € 300 per night??

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