CARNAVALOGY!

Hey hey fellow Meet Maastricht lovers!

It’s the time of the year when the ”Prince” is appointed, the whole region dresses up in fancy clothings, does make up and goes to the center to cheer, drink and celebrate the, CARNAVAL!

I am wishing everyone to spend an amazing time already during the Carnaval on behalf of the Meet Maastricht Team. 🙂

Now, slowly proceeding to what actually I wanted to talk about today… As you all know the local people of the lovely South-East Netherlands (including Maastricht, Eindhoven etc.) have been celebrating Carnaval as a part of their tradition for years, so the local people have already been acquainted with the concept since they were little kids. So it is all the foreigners, especially students (including me), that have no idea about what is going on in these 3 days full of amusement!

This was the most important reason why we, as Meet Maastricht have decided to organize an intellectual lecture upon the Carnaval given by two experts of the Tempeleers, the city’s paramount Carnaval organisation!

Photo credit: Jean-Pierre Geusens

Firstly, some information about the history of the Carnaval and the reasons of celebration were presented, as well as the local, ”Maastricht” way of speaking and pronouncing words. It was extremely interesting for me and the other participants to see how words could change entirely when it comes to this specific region of Limburg and how they can actually create a strong bond between people.

We have also sung a Carnaval song all together which was truly entertaining! 🙂 It was a really educative and fun lecture from my perspective and the participants showed their interests further by asking questions relating to the appointment of the ”Prince” and ”the Tempeleers.”

Overall, I could say that this lecture broadened my perspective on the whole concept of ”Carnaval”: it certainly does not merely boil down to drinking and partying for a couple of days, but contains a much deeper meaning within itself. The Carnaval embraces and unites people no matter what their age, gender, race or social class is, and in my opinion this is the most precious aspect of it. 🙂

I HOPE TO SEE ALL OF YOU NEXT YEAR!

-Catch you later, Yaren

St. Servaas and his stories

St. Servaas and his stories
On January 27th Meet Maastricht offered the tour of St. Servaas for the third time – it seems the interest in this imposing monument is never ending; every time we announce it, it is booked to capacity in no time. Of course that is in no small part due to the story telling of Julia Wojtas – she provides our guests with all the relevant information in an entertaining way.

Photo credits: Martijn Weyenberg

We started off with a quick overview of the history of Maastricht’s start and yearly centuries, looking at the objects displayed in the ‘Lange Gaank’ – the vaulted halls surrounding the inner courtyard. After that, we visited the Treasure Room, filled with the precious objects which testify to faith, power and cultural preferences through the ages. The greatest treasure kept here is the elaborate gold plate shrine of St. Servaas, a masterpiece of the craftsmen of a thousand years ago.

Photo credits: Lucy Willems 

And on into the majestic church itself, with stories of its builders and of the significance of the statues and paintings. We descended into the crypt and were allowed to enter the small cellar containing the burial site of the saint – the threshold stone completely worn away by the footsteps of the millions who passed here to pay their respect. In a second crypt Julia explained to us the different stages of the building, the oldest dating back about 1500 years.
After that it was up and up, on a winding Medieval staircase, first to the great balcony overlooking the church. And upward, on a more narrow stone spiral stairway, to the magnificent Emperor’s Hall, a serene vaulted chamber. And higher still, up into the bell tower, where you can see the top of the stone vaulted ceiling. From there we could walk up narrow wooden stairs to the bells, as long as we got back down before the bells started ringing… It was a great experience; thank you Julia and we will be happy to have you as our guide again soon!

Photo credits: Martijn Weyenberg

Carnavalogy

Carnaval in Maastricht – Vastelaovend in Mestreech
You must have noticed by now – the red-yellow-green flags in the shopping streets, stores with really weird clothes on offer and possibly a lot of noise on January 14th from a silly parade starting at the central station and winding it’s way to a packed Markt. For those of you who have been here longer it was clear: start of Carnaval season, the city’s Carnaval Prince unveiled!
No, Maastricht does not do November 11th, that’s when people from surrounding villages come and declare their start of the season. I guess most of Maastricht at that time is preoccupied with their costumes – we also do not do onesies of cows and pigs, bought off the rack by teens and students at the last moment. But that’s OK too, because the main thing is to participate; Vastelaovend is many things but it is emphatically not a spectator sport. We don’t care if you don’t know our local songs – we have a new one each year, so we can’t keep up ourselves – but we do care you have a great time by throwing yourself right into it all. Wear your shower curtain, borrow your grandfather’s wedding suit, stitch together a 1000 fluffy animals, anything and everything out of the ordinary is perfect. And if you can (pretend to) play a drum or a trumpet you can join the hundreds of ‘musicians’ everywhere!
Another point to clear up beforehand; ofcourse there is alcohol involved, but the point is not to drink yourself senseless as soon as possible. How do you think all those musicians and dancers and pranksters last for three days straight? Because that IS the point; to last, from the canon shots booming across the Vrijthof on Sunday, to accompany the hoisting up on her flagpole of the giant market woman, our Mooswief, to the lowering of said woman on Tuesday, midnight. The prince will have all his regalia taken from him and he will be carted off unceremoniously on a garbage truck, along with the Mooswief. And we stand there, in our thousands, and sing, and cry, and hug eachother, saying thank you for a great Vastelaovend and promising eachother to be back next year. And then we walk, slowly, sadly, to the tune of a funeral dirge, out from the Vrijthof in all directions, back to our homes. Exhausted, with sore feet, hoarse and drained, but not too drunk to know it is over…. Untill next year!

 

(photo credits: Maria Vatista) 

VORMSTOF- PORCELAIN WORKSHOP

Hey hey fellow Meet Maastricht lovers!

This Saturday we had our second activity organized with Vormstof upon the Porcelain Workshop. Vormstof has a certain policy that the experience must be new to each participant, in other words, it must be their first encounter with the workshop. Therefore, I can wholeheartedly say that it was such a unique 3 hours for our seven attendants as well as for me, one of the most significant reasons being the “nature” of the workshop.

Let’s dive into the details now. 🙂

Firstly, Marjo introduced us to the art of “porcelain” and its history, she has been working with porcelain for a long time so everyone was amazed to be guided by an expert as her. 🙂

Later, she showed us how to make use of a wide assortiment of cast molds in basic shapes. These are then cut and assembled together into new forms. The procedure requires high level of focus and delicacy since the shapes are undoubtedly fragile, and our participants seemed to be handling the situation with patience and eagerness when it was their turn to try.

One the best parts of this workshop was that there was absolutely no limits in deciding the shape and design of your own work and everyone was determined to go beyond the standards to disclose their creativity! Our two lovely experts from Vormstof helped us through the process and the participants came up with magnificent pieces in the end. 🙂

 

We congratulate everyone who attended the workshop and I am looking forward to seeing all the finished works in three weeks!

 

 

Catch you later, Yaren

 

 

 

 

 

INDUSTRIAL TOUR

So we went walking in the rain….
It poured and poured in the days leading up to November 11th, when we planned to go and look at Maastricht’s industrial sites. Should we cancel the walk? Postpone it? Nah, this is The Netherlands in fall, we’re not made of sugar as the Dutch say and it is also a very Dutch thing to not stay inside from October to May. Besides, it will rain in any month of the year.
So Saturday afternoon came, the rain reduced to a very fine drizzle, weak patches of blue sky showing in the gray clouds. And a fine group of intrepid internationals came and walked for almost two hours, even if they shivered a bit.
We started by looking around one of Maastricht’s quaint old quarters, now romantic and peaceful; the Jekerkwartier, named after the little river that used to run with three separate branches through this part of town. Also because of this river there used to be lots of industrial activity here: the water power drove mills, which powered mill stones, and saws and presses of all kinds. The river was also used in the process of producing wool and leather. So it used to be very noisy here, and very smelly…We left the lovely winding streets to walk to the northern part of the old town, bypassing the Vrijthof with it’s booming noise of 11-11. It is a recent thing, this gathering of mostly people from villages and towns outside Maastricht, to celebrate the start of the Carnaval season. Most of the ‘Mestreechtenere’ only get seriously into the Carnaval mood after the city prince has been announced, six weeks before he officially takes over power for the three Carnaval days.
Our walking party continued with an exploration of the residential area between Boschstreet and the river Maas. We reached the Bassin, a harbour dug in the 19th century for the new factories there. By women. By hand. The tour was concluded by looking at the new life for the derelict factories; student housing, a filmhouse, exhibition space and a pop stage. After which everyone went looking for a hot drink. Yes, it was cold, but it didn’t rain!
By
Lucy Willems

MISSION SAVE MAASTRICHT FOR THE FIRST TIME!

Hey hey fellow Meet Maastricht lovers!

We officially had our first Mission Save Maastricht event on the 30th of September with the lovely ISAP students! No matter how cold the weather was, it didn’t prevent us from enjoying the moment. 🙂 We had four groups, which were all enthusiastic to run around the city, follow the paths as were instructed in the game and try to solve the hidden codes while reading the stories made with the secret beauty of riddles.

The four groups had some difficulties solving the codes at different times but the one part to solve the code on the door was definitely the hardest for everyone, yet I should add that it was indeed fun! The group with the most points in the end was the group that finished the game the last, with 1070 points in total! They preferred to move cautiously, taking firm steps forward. After all, everyone won by finding the treasure and went to celebrate the victory in a bar. 🙂

I would like to thank all of you lovely ISAP participants for taking part in the game and saving Maastricht from a disaster with your peers, but more specifically for making this evening a beautiful and unforgettable memory! 🙂 Hope to see you in future activities!

AAAND for the others who were not able to join the event, don’t worry because there will be another Mission Save Maastricht day in November! Stay tuned for details <3

Catch you later,

Yaren

St. Servaas basilica tour

When we planned two tours with an archaeologist we could not have foreseen how many wonderful surprises they would offer. Sjoerd Aarts happily made time for us in Centre Céramique – have a look at the pictures from the underground vaults on our FB page – and today he was waiting for us at St. Servaas Basilica, the majestic church on the Vrijthof. He was joined by the parish chaplain Garcia, so we were offered two views of the building and its history; the scientific, dealing with facts and proof, and the religious, concerned with belief and meaning. It made for some fascinating conversations along the way, also because there were people from other religions in our group.

Photo credits: Lucy Willems 

Photo credits: Martijn Weyenberg

Photo credits: Martijn Weyenberg

Together, we explored the small exhibition on Maastricht’s history in one of the cloisters, before entering the imposing church itself. Sjoerd handed around candles and we all descended into the darkness of the crypt – there, we were presented with an outline of the different buildings which have housed the grave of St. Servaas. In the adjoining crypt, where this grave can still be seen, chaplain Garcia told the story of how Christians would come to venerate these places. Up into the light of the great basilica we went and our guides had more stories to tell about the stones, the builders and the pilgrims.

Photo credits: Martijn Weyenberg

Photo credits: Martijn Weyenberg

Up and up we went, along a circular staircase to the Hall of the Emperor – a beautiful Medieval hall, even if no emperor ever watched Mass there. And even higher we could go on this special tour; into the bell tower, on increasingly narrow stairs. We had to wait on the floor below the bells – they would ring soon and up close that is simply too much for human ears. Their ringing was quite impressive, even if these were just the regular bells. St. Servaas also houses ‘Grameer’ (Grandmother), a huge bell with a deep, booming voice, only to be heard a few times a year. It was with some difficulty we left this magical place, but we thanked both our kind guides and stepped out in the late afternoon sunlight.

Photo credits: Lucy Willems

Photo credits: Martijn Weyenberg

Photo Contest

Hello fellow Meet Maastricht lovers!

The academic year has started with a lot of energy and we had more than 400 participants during our events on September! That was a great gift for our first anniversary! For celebrating our one-year birthday, we came up with the idea of organizing a competition. A competition where we can connect our two main inspirations for our activities: the city of Maastricht and of course you, Maastricht’s community! For two weeks, we invite you to use all your creativity and capture your favourite spots of Maastricht. With uploading your pictures in your social media with the hashtag #meetmaastricht, you will take part in our competition.

These are the rules:

  • Be creative and take a picture of your favourite spot in Maastricht
  • Upload it to your social media (Facebook, instagram, twitter etc.) with the hashtag #meetmaastricht
  • After two weeks, we are going to select the best pictures and upload them in our FBpage for being available to the public (in case you do not agree with the re-posting of your pictures, you can contact us and we will eliminate you from the competition)
  • All pictures will be uploaded with credits to their owners and will be available for public’s votes for one week
  • After one week of voting, the three pictures having the majority of likes will be announced as winners!
  • And of course this will not come without a prize! The winning photos are going to be used for our new postcard’s edition!

Maastricht is so marvelous during autumn! Take your smartphones and your cameras, go for a walk and let us discover this autumn’s beauty through your eyes! We are looking forward to see your photos and thank you all for your support!

Meet Maastricht team

 

MUSIC & FILM

Hey hey fellow Meet Maastricht lovers!

It is almost the end of September and you still haven’t had the chance to attend one of our events? Don’t worry, set your reminders for the 29th of September because you can join our most amazing and biggest event of the month!

Music is beyond any doubt the nourishment for the soul, for some more than others, but either way, it has an important place in everyone’s life. The same could be said for films as well and we thought what would be better than music or film… and we have brought you MUSIC AND FILM TOGETHER AT THE SAME TIME!


What is included in this beautiful evening?

-The kick-off of the new season, the Dutch première of Vivo, composed by the Finn Magnus Lindberg for the New York Philharmonic, will be the prelude to Stravinsky’s Suite No. 2.

-Violin Concerto by Danish composer Carl Nielsen (AND MY FAVOURITE PART: Solo part performed by Baiba Skride!! She already deserves and applause as Gramophone puts her style in these words: ‘She has an astounding purity, accuracy, and clarity…’ We couldn’t agree more! 🙂

-Are you ready for the cross-over between Music & Film?

-Cineaste Lucas van Woerkum translates Ravel’s age-old love story Daphnis et Chloé to the silver screen. It is done in such a unique way that he is known worldwide. It could definitely be a lifetime experience for you, don’t miss it!

-The show continues with Ravel’s ballet, accompanied by Van Woerkum’s contemporary film about the love of two young people. Why don’t you take your loved one to this special and amorous atmosphere? 😉

-Afterwards, Van Woerkum takes place on stage in the middle of an orchestra consisting of over 90 musicians.! He edits the moving images into film in real time, displayed on the large, silver screen. Lucas decided to use the iPad as his instrument for the image transitions with specially developed software of his own design.  Sound incredible, right?

After all this explanation, the title of the event makes more sense in which music and film compose an entirety of uniqueness. 🙂

We hope to see you there!

Catch you later, Yaren

MISSION SAVE MAASTRICHT

The calm before the storm is here. You feel a change in the air and suddendly you see a circle of clouds gathering on the horizon, creating a gloomy atmosphere. Maastricht seems to be going through a disaster, will YOU be able to save it?

Don’t panic, because Mission Save Maastricht is there for you! This game allows you to explore the streets of historic Maastricht while getting lost in a marvellous story. Plus, there will be some riddles to solve, so that everyone can reveal their “Sherlock Holmes” side as well 😉

 

IN ORDER TO BEGIN THE ADVENTURE, ALL YOU HAVE TO DO IS:

-Go to the Lab to get the starter pack. (It is only 12.5 euros and you can play it with up to 6 players ) So don’t forget to invite your friends, anything is greater with them! <3

-Download the app: Mission Save Maastricht. (Sorry, it only works on Google Play).

-The game is ready to play, you can play it wherever you like. Going out and playing it would be a really nice option in my opinion but I am hoping for a better weather these days, you never know about the Dutch weather. 🙂

As a final remark, the game starts where the star is, sooo good luck saviors!

Catch you later. -Yaren