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Maastricht is a city and a municipality in the southern part of the Dutch province of Limburg, of which it is the capital. The city is situated on both sides of the Meuse river in the south-eastern part of the Netherlands, on the Belgian border and near the German border. The city is part of the Meuse-Rhine Euroregion, a Euregio whose other main cities include Aachen, Germany and Hasselt and Liège in respectively Dutch-speaking and French-speaking Belgium. The municipality borders the Dutch municipalities of Meerssen to the north, Margraten in the east, Eijsden in the south, and the Belgian municipalities of Lanaken and Riemst, respectively, to the west and southwest.
Nowadays, Maastricht is widely known as a centre of tradition, history and culture, and popular with tourists for shopping and recreation. It is the location for various educational, with some partial to fully anglophone, establishments including the Maastricht University, the Maastricht School of Management, parts of Zuyd University of Applied Sciences including the Maastricht Conservatory, Academy of Dramatic Arts Maastricht and Hotelschool Maastricht and a United World College. Consequently the city has a large international student population.
There is some discussion as to whether Maastricht is the oldest city of the Netherlands: By some Nijmegen is considered to be the oldest mainly because it was the first settlement in the Netherlands to receive Roman city rights. Maastricht never received Roman city rights but as a settlement it may be considerably older.
The Maastricht claim is furthermore based on the city's unbroken chain of habitation since Roman times. A large number of archeological finds confirms this. Nijmegen has a gap in its history: There is practically no evidence of habitation in the early Middle Ages.
Maastricht is mainly served by the A2 and the A79 motorways. The city can be reached from Brussels and Cologne in approximately 1 hour and from Amsterdam in about 2.5 hours. The Dutch Railways serves both the main station of Maastricht and a station located near the business and university district (Maastricht Randwyck). A railway branch passes through Maastricht that runs south to Liège, Belgium and north into the rest of The Netherlands, where it has a branch to Heerlen. Maastricht is served by nearby Maastricht Aachen Airport - often known as Beek locally - with scheduled flights to Alicante, Faro, Girona, Malaga, Pisa, Trapani and popular holiday destinations such as Greece and Turkey during the summer season. The airport is located about 10 kilometres north of Maastricht's centre. - Wikipedia
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