Episode 17: The Jesuits Mountain (Jezuietenberg)

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Did you know that Maastricht has a beautifully decorated cave system? Or that these decorations were done by the Jesuits studying and living here? In this episode we’re talking about the Jesuits Mountain (Jezuietenberg) and some of the amazing stories it has to share!

Jezuietenberg or Jesuits Mountain is so named for the Jesuit students and priests who used the local mountain mines and caves to create beautiful artworks and interiors. The first image above (top left) shows traditional clothing for Maastricht Jesuits in c. 1840 as drawn by Philippe van Gulpen ( (c) RHCL). The second image (top right) shows a group of Jesuits having their coffee in one of their Jesuits Mountain ‘rooms’ (c. 1954, (c) RHCL).

The third photogaph (bottom left) features men showing off their marlstone mosasaurus in the mountain in c. 1954 ( (c) RHCL). The fourth photograph (bottom right) shows a work in progress, as a Jesuit carves the Madonna and child into the soft stone in c. 1954 ( (c) RHCL).

The first photograph above (top left) shows a large stylised sea turtle decorating the walls of the Jesuits Mountain in 1954 ( (c) RHCL). The second photograph (top right) shows something a little different – the mushroom cultivation that took place in the caves with their mushroom-friendly climate (c. 1951, (c) RHCL)!

Below (bottom) the vast St Pietersberg cave systems can be seen at 1:700 scale showing the ENCI quarry, Zonneberg, Slavante and others ( (c) RHCL).

Above is a picture of Midnight Mass taking place in the caves of the Schark, lead by Father Chaplain Dobrzynski and dedicated to those being deployed against the Germans in the Battle of the Bulge in 1944 ( (c) RHCL).

Above are coloured photographs of some of the paintings in the Jesuits Moutain showing the variety of themes and styles used by the Jesuits ( (c) Stichting Jezuïetenberg).

The first photograph above (top) is the entryway to a nearby system of caves (Boschberg) during and / or after their time as a base for NATO, the North Atlantic Treaty Organisation ( (c) RHCL). Below is a photograph of part of the interior of Boschberg showing a group of visitors and a large internal space ( (c) RHCL).

Above are beautifully lit photographs taken by Stichting Jezuïetenberg who run tours of the Jesuits Mountain caves. Visit their website here for more information!

Above are two photographs of enamored visitors to the cave systems in Maastricht, decades apart. The first (left) shows a group of NVRD conference attendees exploring the Jesuit’s Mountain caves 09/09/1975 ( (c) RHCL). The second (right) shows a modern group in 2017 being shown the St Pietersberg caves, keeping warm in their hats, coats and gloves ( (c) Meet Maastricht)!

As always, if you have something you have always wanted to know about Maastricht or wanted to ask a local, please contact us through social media or our website and we will do our best to answer your questions in future episodes!