May 31, 2014

1091 NETHERLANDS (Netherlands / Limburg) - The fortifications of Maastricht

Located on both sides of the Meuse river, at the point where the Jeker River joins it, Maastricht has become known in nowadays by way of the Maastricht Treaty, as the birthplace of the European Union, European citizenship, and the single European currency, the euro. It developed from a Belgic settlement, that in the Gallic Wars was conquered by the Romans. As part of the heartland of the Carolingian Empire, the city was an early Christian diocese until it lost this position to nearby Liège in the early 8th century. It received city rights in 1204, and throughout the Middle Ages it remained a centre for trade and manufacturing of wool and leather, but gradually economic decline set in. After a period of prosperity in the 15th century, its economy suffered during the wars of religion, and recovery didn't happen until the industrial revolution in the early 19th century. Because its geographical and cultural proximity to Belgium, integration of Maastricht into the Netherlands didn't come about easily, retaining a distinctly non-Dutch appearance during much of the 19th century.

Maastricht is known for its picturesque squares, romantic streets, and historical buildings. The main sights include the city fortifications, including fragments of the medieval city walls. The one in the postcard is located in Wyck, the old quarter on the right bank of the Meuse river. This neighbourhood has three distinct parts, among which is Oud-Wyck (Old Wyck), comprising the built-up area dating from the Middle Ages, once surrounded by Maastricht's city wall. It was always easily defensible because of its position in water rich terrain. Around 1480 an entirely new enceinte was erected, enclosing the first ring wall. This new structure consisted of a double earthwork with six bulwarks. It sealed the fate of the first wall, which was bit by bit demolished. Of the Wyck fortifications, only the lower half of the Maas wall, with the waterpoort (rebuilt in 1897), and the Maaspunttoren (in the postcard - partly renovated in 1913) was spared.

About the stamp
The stamp is part of a series of three definitive stamps, depicting King Willem-Alexander, who took office in April 2013. Studio Job designed this postage stamps, that features a digitally modelled image of the king's face. An image commissioned specially from photographer Rineke Dijkstra was used as the basis for a three-dimensional portrait. The design references the country's first ever stamp, issued in 1852, which depicted an image of King Wilhelm III in profile, shaded to give the impression of depth. The three colours of the Dutch flag, which were also used in the original 1852 stamps, differentiate the stamps:
• light blue (domestic mail - for up to 20 grams)
• light red (domestic mail - for up to 50 grams)
• silver-white (international mail) - it's on the postcard

Maastricht - Wikipedia 
The bridge-head Wyck - Stichting Maastricht Vestingstad

sender: Maastricht meeting - Wilma van Vegten, Hilarie Huley, Christel van der Ree, Annemieke Reinderink, George Huley.
sent from Maastricht (Limburg / Netherlands), on 24.05.2014
photo: Maurice Chambille

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