Life in Maastricht: things you need to know
So you are a prospective student and need to find your way around. You can stroll down the internet to find everything that you need before you arrive here. But why bother? Here’s a summary of some of the most basic things you need to know before you arrive.
It’s kind of essential to find something to live in when studying here (it gets pretty cold here during the winter). Finding housing is relatively easy in Maastricht. Almost everybody has a place to live in when they start here. At least if they start searching in advance and know where to look.
Maastricht Housing: the housing website of the university. It does not own buildings, but mediates for landlords and housing cooperations. You sign up, pay a one-time fee of 35 euro and can start searching housing. All the housing on the website is available (the ones that are not, are simply not visible). Housing cooperations work via waitinglists that are based on your subscription time at Maastricht Housing. The longer you are registered, the earlier you get to view the housing. Private owners are completely free to choose whomever they like to have living in their rooms. They also offer housing of the Guesthouse. This university managed housing is all-inclusive and especially interesting for exchange students and internationals.
Housing Anywhere: if you can’t find a decent place that is available for your entire study period, you might want to first get settled in a room that is owned by another student. A lot of students need to go abroad and search for other students that are willing to sublet their rooms while they are away. Housing Anywhere is a platform where students can offer their rooms for a short period of time.
Facebook groups: there are several Facebook groups that are useful for students. The Rooms/Kamer/Zimmer in Maastricht group is one of the most active. Here you can also find a great variety of rooms for both short and long stay.
If you are foreign you most probably come here via public transportation. At least if you aren’t that big of a little princess to your dad or when there’s a sea separating you from me. Getting to Maastricht isn’t extremely difficult as long as you keep some things in mind. Before I will get into the most important shit, there’s one warning for those who travel with the Amsterdam/Eindhoven/Maastricht train.
Always sit in the FIRST part of the train (and ask the conductor if it is the Maastricht part you are seated in).
The train separates in Sittard with the first part going to Maastricht and the second part going to Heerlen (about 20km away from Maastricht). You do not want to end up there after a long day of travelling to find out you are still 30 minutes away from your final destination.
9292ov.nl: This website let’s you plan everything concerning public transportation in the Netherlands. It is also available in English and is pretty up to date if someone decides to off themselves in front of a train (of course not when you are in the particular train) or when another accident happened.
OV-chipcard: the Netherlands slowly is implementing a public transportation card that can be used throughout the country. You can get a personal or anonymous card, both of them cost 7,50, but the personal one has some advantages (for instance some discounts). Warning before you click the link; the website is one of the most retarded ones I have come across since ever.
Normal day life
So we are not exactly a 24/7 country. Shop close pretty early, as well as grocery stores and pubs/bars. Everybody hates it, nobody changes it (Welcome to our politics). So here’s a couple of pointers that will guide you through life here more easily:
- Shops open around 09:00 in the morning, with the exception of Monday. Nobody knows why, but it’s the hipster thing to do. On Monday the bigger stores open around 11:00 hrs and the rest will follow before 13:00 hrs. normally close at 18:00 hrs. On Thursday they are open longer (21:00 hrs) and on Saturday they might close a bit earlier (17:00) although most of them stay open until 18:00 hrs. On Sunday everything is closed! There are a couple of Sundays throughout the year that everything is open (mostly the first Sunday of the month and the entire month of November and December).
- Most grocery stores open at either 08:00 or 08:30 in the morning, even on Monday (bunch of rebels). The cheaper stores (Aldi/LidL) close around 19:00 hrs and the bigger stores (AH, Jumbo, c1000) will close between 20:00 and 22:00 hrs.
- Restaurants are open throughout the week. So if you are too lazy to cook or forgot to buy groceries on Saturday and are in desperate need of anti-hangover food, there’s always a place to find.
- Bars and pubs normally close at 02:00 but are mostly longer open on Friday and Saturday until 03:00. Some bars are open longer like most bars on market square as well as the notorious Alla.
About the author
Joep van Agteren studied Psychology at Maastricht University and was a contributor to the Maastricht Students blog from October 2010 to August 2013.