Have you visited the Theatre on the Vrijthof? If you’ve wandered around the city of Maastricht there is a good chance you have walked past or seen this former General’s House! This beautiful building sits on the spot of a convent and was home to several Generals before housing other municipal services (including the Police) and is now the hub of city theatre. Learn more about the General’s House, it’s occupants and past lives in this week’s episode!
While the Generals’ House remains proudly on the Vrijthof, it sits on the site of a convent, that of the White Women. In the first image (top left) you can see the convent marked by a ‘D’ on a lithograph by Baron [G.Th.L.] von Geusau, c. 1894 ( (c) RHCL). The second image is a drawing by Valentine Klotz and shows the convent as well as the facades of two neighbouring inns, c. 1670 ( (c) RHCL).
The third picture (bottom centre) is a drawing of three majestic buildings in Maastricht, the first being the Generals’ House, drawn by Phillippe van Gulpen c. 1850 ( (c) RHCL).
The four images above show two prominent Generals who gave the Generals’ House it’s name, as well as the monuments built for them in death. The first image (top left) shows the unpopular Baron Dibbets (c. 1900, (c) RHCL) and the second (top right) shows an illustration of his memorial which sits in what used to be the Tapijn barracks (Phillippe van Gulpen, c. 1840, (c) RHCL).
The third image (bottom left) shows the grave monument of the far more popular Baron Des Tombe which sits in the Waldeckpark (Phillippe van Gulpen, c. 1850, (c) RHCL) and the fourth image (bottom right) shows the man himself (1845, (c) Rijksmuseum).
After its life as a sumptuous residence, the Generals’ House was used for multiple municipal entities including those shown above! The first image (top right) shows its use as the Depot of the City Archives and City Library (1957, (c) RHCL). The second photograph (top right) shows the space being used as the city police station in 1965 ( (c) RHCL). And the bottom image shows workers of the City Library using the space again in 1977 ( (c) RHCL).
Last but not least, a photograph taken in April 2020 ( (c) Katrina Marshall). In this photograph you can see how much or how little the Theatre on the Vrijthof has changed since it was built as the Generals’ House. While coronavirus prevents current productions or events from taking place, the rainbows and hearts in the windows share a message of love and hope for essential workers and the people of Maastricht.
Don’t forget if you have something you have always wanted to know about Maastricht or wanted to ask a local, please contact us through Facebook or Instagram, or our website and we will do our best to answer your questions in future episodes!