Episode 18: Sint-Martinushofje

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This week we’re talking about a sweet (now) hidden gem not far from the city centre – the Sint-Martinushofje! Tune in as we talk through over 300 years of this little housing community.

In the first picture above (top left) we can see a copy of the original statute giving Helene Frencken control of the Sint-Martinushofje foundation, stating it is a “Copy authentique of the Foundation of St. Martens Huijskens in the Groote Leurderstraat, by jouff. Helena Vrencken, on behalf of her brother Hr. Martinus Vrencken” (1716, (c) sintmaartenshuizen.nl).

The second picture (top right) is a drawing showing the layout of the complex, the entrance way on the Grote Looiersstraat is to the north (‘Noord’ in the image), ( (c) sintmaartenshuizen.nl). The third image (bottom) is a chart showing the monasteries near Sint-Martinushofje, where ‘C’ indicates the Nieuwenhof monastery on the Zwingelput, opposite the long wall (now white) of the Sint-Martinushofje complex (Baron G.Th.L. von Geusau, c. 1894, (c) RHCL).

One of the striking exterior features of the complex is the door and gable stone on the Grote Looiersstraat which shows Saint Martin offering half of his mantle to a street beggar. The first image above (top left) shows the doorway in 1912 ( (c) RHCL) and the second shows the open doorway in the 21st century ( (c) sintmaartenshuizen.nl)

The third image (bottom) is a close up of the gable stone above the entrance to the hofje which includes the Latin chronogram MartInI pUra LIberaLItate ConDItUr, a puzzle for those who want to work out the date in roman numerals (17/10/2017, (c) Kleon3 via Wikimedia Commons)!

The photograph on the left above shows a close up of the French scale model of Maastricht which is usually on display at Centre Ceramique, and shows the hofje in the bottom right corner opposite the Nieuwenhof monastery (c. 1960, (c) RHCL). The photograph on the right shows the Zwingelput side of the complex during reconstruction in 1955 due to dilapidation ( (c) RHCL).

Above is a photograph showing the interior of the complex and the long row of cottages in 1986 ( (c) RHCL).

The photographs above show the Hofje in more modern times. In the first and second photographs (top left and right) we can see the interior courtyard and the long row of houses (both (c) sintmaartenshuizen.nl)

The bottom left photograph shows a sculpture created to commemorate the 300th anniversary of the hofje in 2015 ( (c) sintmaartenshuizen.nl). The bottom right photograph shows the large white wall, usually covered in graffiti, which forms the Zwingelput side of the complex (1994, (c) RHCL).

If you would like to know more about Sint-Martinushofje, take a look at the website for the Hofje Sint Maartenshuizen foundation and if you would like a closer look, please remember to be respectful of the current residents!

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!