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(mäs`trĭkht'), city (1994 pop. 118,102), capital of Limburg prov., SE Netherlands, on the Maas (Meuse) River and on the Albert CanalAlbert Canal,
waterway, c.80 mi (130 km) long, N Belgium, from the Meuse River to the Scheldt River; constructed 1930–39. The canal connects the important industrial region around Liège with the port of Antwerp, Belgium.
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 system. It is an important rail and river transportation point and an industrial center. Manufactures include plastic ware, ceramics, building materials, fabricated metal products, consumer goods, and food processing.

The Maas was forded in Roman times; the city derives its name from the Latin Mosae Trajectum [Maas ford]. An episcopal center from 382 to 721, Maastricht has the oldest church in the Netherlands, the Cathedral of St. Servatius, founded in the 6th cent. In 1284 the city came under the dual domination of the dukes of BrabantBrabant, duchy of,
former duchy, divided between Belgium (Brabant and Antwerp provs.) and the Netherlands (North Brabant prov.). Louvain, Brussels, and Antwerp were its chief cities. The duchy of Brabant emerged (1190) from the duchy of Lower Lorraine.
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 and the prince-bishop of LiègeLiège
, Du. Luik, Ger. Lüttich, province (1991 pop. 999,646), 1,526 sq mi (3,952 sq km), E Belgium, bordering on Germany in the east. The chief cities are Liège (the capital), Verviers, Herstal, Huy, and Seraing.
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Maastricht was a strategic fortress and suffered many sieges. The Spanish under Alessandro FarneseFarnese, Alessandro
, 1545–92, duke of Parma and Piacenza (1586–92), general and diplomat in the service of Philip II of Spain. He was the son of Duke Ottavio Farnese and Margaret of Parma and thus a nephew of Philip II and of John of Austria, under whom he
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 captured it (1579) from the Dutch rebels during the revolt of the Netherlands and massacred a large part of the population. In 1632 the Dutch under Prince Frederick HenryFrederick Henry,
1584–1647, prince of Orange; son of William the Silent by Louise de Coligny. He became stadtholder of the United Provinces of the Netherlands upon the death (1625) of his brother Maurice of Nassau.
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 recovered the city. It later fell into French hands during the wars of the 17th and 18th cent., notably in 1673 and 1794. The Treaty of European Union (known as the Maastricht Treaty), an important step in the continuing integration of the countries of the European UnionEuropean Union
(EU), name given since the ratification (Nov., 1993) of the Treaty of European Union, or Maastricht Treaty, to the European Community (EC), an economic and political confederation of European nations, and other organizations (with the same member nations)
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, was signed there in 1992.

Among Maastricht's many historic structures are the Romanesque Church of Our Lady (11th cent.), a 13th-century bridge across the Maas, and the town hall (17th cent.). The city is a cultural center, and hosts an annual international fine art fair. The district of Wijk occupies the right bank of the Maas.

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The following article is from The Great Soviet Encyclopedia (1979). It might be outdated or ideologically biased.



a city in the Netherlands, situated on the Maas River. The administrative center of the province of Limburg. Population, 112,400 (1972). It is located at a junction of internal waterways. Among the city’s industries are machine building, chemicals, and the production of pottery.

The old city developed around two major centers: the churches of Onze Lieve Vrouwe (tenth to 16th centuries, mainly 12th century, mixture of late Romanesque and Gothic elements) and St. Servaaskerk (mainly from the tenth to 15th centuries) and Markt Square, the commercial center. Gothic architecture is represented by the Dominican church (13th to 14th centuries), the church of St. Janskerk (14th to 15th centuries), and the old town hall (also known as the Dinghuis, 16th to 18th centuries). Baroque architecture is represented by the Jesuit church (c. 1610, Flemish architect P. Huyssens), the Augustinian church (completed in 1661), and the new town hall (1659-64, architect P. Post). There is also the baroque-classical Bonnefanten Monastery (17th to early 18th centuries), which is now the Limburg Provincial Museum of Art and Antiquities.


Kessen, A. Historische sćhoonheid van Maastricht. Amsterdam, 1944.
The Great Soviet Encyclopedia, 3rd Edition (1970-1979). © 2010 The Gale Group, Inc. All rights reserved.


, Maestricht
a city in the SE Netherlands near the Belgian and German borders: capital of Limburg province, on the River Maas (Meuse); a European Community treaty (Maastricht Treaty) was signed here in 1992, setting out the terms for the creation of the European Union. Pop.: 122 000 (2003 est.)
Collins Discovery Encyclopedia, 1st edition © HarperCollins Publishers 2005