Maastricht is a vibrant city, known for its narrow streets, traditional architecture, and rich history. There are over 1,500 rijksmonumenten (sites of historical importance) throughout the city, some of which date back to the tenth century. The city also has a number of famous museums and galleries that are of local, national, or international importance, most notably: the Bonnefanten Museum, which houses paintings by Dutch and Limburgian masters; the Maastricht Natural History Museum; and the Treasury of the Basilica of Our Lady, one of the finest religious museums in the Netherlands.
Maastricht hosts many festivals and events throughout the year, including the famous Christmas market, The European Fine Art Fair, and the traditional Dutch carnival. Maastricht's intellectual history and large student population attracts many conferences to the city, like the European Model United Nations (EuroMUN), which is held in May every year. All in all, Maastricht is a warm, friendly city, with enough historical sites and events to keep expatriates entertained all year round.
The healthcare system in the Netherlands is of excellent quality, and is funded by a mandatory health insurance scheme; expatriates will be required to join and pay the fees after one year of living in Maastricht, at which time they will get access to the healthcare system. Until this point, EU citizens can use their European Health Insurance Card to get treatment, whereas non-EU citizens will need to be covered by travel or private healthcare insurance.
The Dutch healthcare system is unique in that it is made up of a combination of private and public elements; whilst the government provides long term care for citizens, the private sector takes care of short term treatments, all of which are covered by the mandatory health insurance scheme. However, you are also able to take out private insurance for all of your healthcare needs should you wish to do so.
The Netherlands has a free, compulsory education system for children between the ages of 5 and 15. From the ages of 16–18, education is partially compulsory. Expatriates living in Maastricht will be pleased to hear that the public school system is excellent, and expat children often settle in well, providing they are young enough to easily pick up the language.
However, some expatriates prefer to send their children to private, international schools, which are usually taught in English and give children internationally recognized qualifications. Maastricht has a number of highly regarded international schools, including UWC Maastricht and the International School Maastricht. The city is also home to many universities and colleges, the most notable of which are Maastricht University and the Maastricht School of Management.