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Maastricht: industrial and working-class city

Maastricht was the first industrial city in the Netherlands. It is almost impossible to imagine now, but at the time, the factories were concentrated around the Bassin. Petrus Regout was the most important industrialist.

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Focus on ceramics

Producing primarily ceramics, Petrus Regout’s factories soon occupied a large part of the city. Petrus was ultimately succeeded by his son, also named Petrus, or Peter. In 1899, the company changed its name to De Sphinx, and was the city’s largest employer.

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Worldly products

De Sphinx’s largest competitor was Société Céramique, located in what is today the Céramique district. Both factories made pottery, and also recruited many labourers from Belgium for the work. There were naturally many other types of factories in Maastricht: bread factories, steam beer breweries, soap works, munitions factories ... you name it! The products they made were shipped around the world by boat and train. Some of these factories still exist today.

From mould to finished product

Our collection of Maastricht ceramics includes the Petrus Regout/De Sphinx factory collection from a few years after its founding until 1987, and pottery from Société Céramique and Mosa. In addition to these finished products, there are also moulds and printing plates for applying decoration to Maastricht pottery.

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Skyline full of chimneys

Maastricht remained a fortress until 1867, and factories were not able to expand outside the city. As soon as this became possible, veritable industrial parks were built. The old city moat of the Lage Fronten was even put to use as a new harbour! Maastricht’s skyline was no longer defined only by churches, but also by chimneys.

Wealth of buildings

The directors of the factories built large villas, quite a few of which are still standing. Located in the country-estate zone, the most famous of these belonged to the Regout family, but there are also large buildings elsewhere in the city that once belonged to a factory.