Vrijthof, Maastricht

The Vrijthof - the most dazzling square in Maastricht - perhaps even in The Netherlands

Public Private Partnership

The Vrijthof underground car park is the first result of the Public Private Partnership between the city of Maastricht and Q-Park.

Three entrances and exits for pedestrians

Q-Park Vrijthof is connected to the Maastricht Parking Route Information System (PRIS) and has three entrances and exits for pedestrians (including an elevator).

Bicycle parking

The underground bicycle facility supported the municipal effort to ‘clean up’ the square, while the use of natural materials ensured a perfect ‘new & old’ match with the surrounding historical buildings and monuments.

Parking below the most dazzling square

The Dutch city of Maastricht has been inhabited continuously since Roman times. One of its most important squares, the Vrijthof, has played a key role in the city’s history for many centuries.

The Vrijthof square is in front of the St. Servatius Church and during the Middle Ages, the square formed the church’s walled forecourt. Within the enclosure, private legal rules applied. Contrary to popular opinion, the name “Vrijthof” does not refer to “Friedhof”, the German word for graveyard. “Vrijthof” probably meant “sanctuary” because at the Vrijthof, you were spared from the city laws.

The Vrijthof was a pedestrian area for residents, and served as a parade ground for the garrison, executions took place there, and it was the centre for municipal ceremonies, such as the great St. Servatius procession. It is still the best-known and most dazzling square in Maastricht – perhaps even in the Netherlands.

When we were tasked with renovating the Vrijthof’s parking facility, our goal was to leave the historic city centre untouched, while creating a 21st century parking solution underground with 445 parking spaces. Over the course of ten months, we achieved these objectives.

Underground public restroom

The underground public restroom radiates quality and is indispensable for the innercity. When you have the time or the need - do visit them.

They are easy to access, clean and manned. And know there is an 'interesting / challenging' feature in the men's room.

Renovation in progress - Februari 2003

Renovation - efficient, effective and on time

The extreme rapid completion of the Vrijthof underground car park was made possible thanks to the extremely productive and close collaboration between four different parties: The City, Q-Park, the property developer and general contractor.

During the development and realisation phases, not only was a great deal of attention focused on the design and layout of the car park, but also on the quality of life and accessibility to the Vrijthof.

During construction

  • 8,500m3 of demolished rubble was removed
  • Crews worked double shifts, six days a week - more than 130,000 man hours
  • 10,500m3 of concrete and 1,200 tonnes of concrete inforcement steel
  • 27 kilometres of electric cable and more than 1,000 lights
  • 28,000m2 of wall and floor surface painted

In January 2003 the demolition began and within seven month the roof of the underground car park was sealed and the square was equipped with a new topcoat. As a result, there was no longer anything standing in the way of the Preuvenemint - one of Maastricht's most important culinary events.

Two vehicle entrances at opposite sides

The two vehicle entrances were placed at opposite sides of the square, eliminating through traffic and creating a pedestrian zone to enter the facility. The north entrance can accommodate about twenty queuing vehicles, thereby limiting back-ups and problems above ground at the square.

North entrance

South entrance

Since the flows of traffic on the access roads leading to the car park have been optimised, the surrounding area experiences a minimal amount of inconvenience from car traffic.

The renovated construction has taken into account the load-bearing capacity of the columns, they no longer stand in the way of major events such as Magical Maastricht in December, with its Ferris Wheel. Or the André Rieu concerts in July.

Magical Maastricht on Vrijthof Square

André Rieu concert on Vrijthof Square