Because of this strategic location Maastricht grew later into one of the most heavily fortified of European cities which was besieged many times. One one of these occassions D'Artagnan, een van Alexandre Dumas’s four musquetiers, was killed outside the city walls.
Maastricht an Liege were connected for a long time in one political entity. When Liege became the first industrialised city on the continent, Maastricht soon followed suit to become the first center of industrialisation in the Netherlands.
As a result the city is charactarised by an amalgam of Roman remains, a well-preserved center from the middle ages, surrounded by remnants of fortifications and 19th century industry. All within a stone’s throw of each other.
The Lonely Planet Guide describes Maastricht as "the star - almost the supernova - of Limburg: Maastricht has a liveliness and energy out of proportion to its size. The people are irreverent, there's hordes of university students and the streets are steeped in history. No visit to the Netherlands is complete without a visit to Maastricht (…) Today this lively city has a reputation even in its own country of being a little foreign, and a place to sample the distinct tastes of neighbouring cuisines."
The Rough Guide adds: "Limburg occupies the slim scythe of land that reaches down between the Belgian and German borders, its landscape, in the south at least, truly hilly, and with a charming cosmopolitan capital in Maastricht."