Fortified city of Maastricht

Since the northernmost bridge across the Maas was located in Maastricht, the city was of great strategic importance. As such, the city was designed as a garrison town in 1567. This meant that soldiers were housed there from that point onward to help protect the city from the enemy.

1 alg.jpg

Siege of Maastricht

in 1579, and once by the Netherlands in 1632. The French also laid siege to Maastricht several times, the most famous of which is the siege of 1673. King Louis XIV, the Sun King, and his engineer Vauban installed cannons atop Sint Pietersberg (St. Peter’s Mountain), allowing them to bombard the city wall from afar. Maastricht, the stronghold of the Netherlands, fell after only 13 days. The famous musketeer D’Artagnan perished during this siege, and Maastricht remained French until 1678. The French besieged the city again in 1748, 1793 and 1794.

2 beleg van Maastricht.jpg
Plattegrond Maastricht_1.jpg

Burden on the city

For the city’s inhabitants, the garrison was more of a burden than a benefit. Soldiers marched through the city and the city government was kept in check by the governor, the master of the garrison.

Room for growth

With the improvements being made to cannons, it became necessary to continually expand Maastricht’s fortifications. You can still see parts of this structure at the Hoge and Lage Fronten locations. At one point, the area outside the walls of the fortress of Maastricht was larger than the city of Maastricht within the walls. The decision was made to remove the fortress in 1867. Large sections of the walls and several city gates were demolished. The people of Maastricht were relieved; after all, the wall was standing in the way of the city’s growth.