Maastricht features the same climate as most of the Netherlands (Oceanic climate), however, due to its more inland location in between hills, summers tend to be warmer and winters a bit colder. In May the temperature usually lies between 9 and 18 degrees with an average of 14 degrees.
The Netherlands is one of the European Union member countries that changed its currency to euro on 1 January 2002.
The current rate of Value Added Tax (VAT) on most goods and services is 21%.
Credit cards and cheques
Paying by credit card is less common in shops, especially smaller shops and supermarkets, mainly because the shops have to pay a percentage of each sale to the credit card company. However, restaurants, hotels and department stores generally accept all major cards. There will usually be a notice board near the entrance that shows which credit cards are accepted. Note that generally, payment in cash or debit cards is very common.
You will find a cash dispenser at every bank and post office, in railway stations and other public places where people are spending money (at the post office the sign reads giromaat). Dispensers will accept almost every kind of card nowadays.
Banks and foreign exchange bureaus
Most banks and post offices are open from Monday to Friday between 9 a.m. and 5 p.m. Only major banks and post offices are open on Saturday. GWK Travelex is open every day of the week. Most GWK Travelex offices are located nearby train and bus stations. The exchange rate is fixed every day and will be posted wherever you change money. The rate does not vary from one bank to the next, although the charges for changing money may differ. The most common place to change money is a GWK exchange office. You will find GWK offices at railway stations, the airport and places where there are many tourists.
Electrical sockets (outlets) in the Netherlands (Nederland) are one of the two European standard electrical socket types: The "Type C" Europlug and the "Type E" and "Type F" Schuko. If your appliance's plug does not match the shape of these sockets, you will need a travel plug adapter in order to plug in. Electrical sockets (outlets) in the Netherlands usually supply electricity at between 220 and 240 volts AC (U.S./Canada are 110-120 Volts).
Emergency phone numbers
Police, Ambulance, Fire: 112. Operators for the Pan-European emergency number (112) speak English and will contact the appropriate emergency service. Calling 112 is free from any telephone (mobile cellular or fixed-line).
If you are staying in a hotel and you need to see a doctor or dentist, contact the reception desk and they will direct you to someone assigned to that hotel. If you are staying with a friend or family, you are advised to contact their family doctor or dentist. Pharmacies are usually open from 09:00 to 18:00 Monday to Friday, 09:00 to 13:00 on Saturdays and limited availability on Sundays. However, in larger cities you will find a number of pharmacies open late during the week and on the weekend.
Dutch is the national language. Maastricht is a city of linguistic diversity, partly as a result of its location at the crossroads of multiple language areas and its international student population. So many people also speak English and German.
Restaurants and bars
Maastricht has plenty to interest you in terms of gastronomy, because nearly every cuisine has at least one restaurant here. From Mediterranean and Asian specialties to local delights and from Michelin-starred restaurants to traditional Maastricht working-class pubs, the countless restaurants offer hospitality and quality for every budget.
Time zone in May is GMT/UTC + 2:00.
Tipping in restaurants (and taxi’s) is not obligatory. All waiters/waitresses are paid a full salary with benefits so tips are more like token fees to thank them for good services (approx. 5-10% of the bill). Even if service is not that great, Dutch people tend to round up, e.g. they leave €35 for a €33.50 bill.
Wednesday: small general-goods market (09.00h – 15.00h)
Friday: large market with general goods, fabrics and fish (09.00h – 15.00h)
These markets take place on the market square in Maastricht’s city center.
Opening hours shops
Most shops are opened every day from around 9 a.m. until 5.30 p.m. On Monday mornings, shops often do not open until around noon. Most towns and cities have a shopping night when shops are opened until 9 p.m. In Maastricht this is on a Thursday.