The Maastricht Collection


Maastricht Collection

How do you tell the 7000-year story of a place? This is particularly challenging with a place like Maastricht, given its rich cultural heritage. Since words alone are not enough, the Maastricht Collection combines 22 digitised objects originating from the Maastricht/Limburg region and is a collaboration of the Media Studies Master students of Maastricht University and Centre Céramique, where all the digitised objects are currently located.

Together the objects tell the story of this place and its people. Communicating the changing complexities of the human experience, the collection forms a mosaic of objects and a tapestry of humanity that span from 5000 BC to the 1960s.

Connecting With the Past

What is the significance of Maastricht’s cultural heritage? And what makes Maastricht so special as a city? Astrid Smeets, Chief Curator at Centre Céramique, provides us with insights and understanding in answering these questions and more. 

Objects Through Time

A few objects that showcase the span of the Maastricht Collection

5300 – 2000 BCE

Antler Pick

This pick made from deer antlers was once excavated during the Neolithic period and was used to dig horizontal passages from shafts. The shafts were dug to reach flint information. It is the oldest object visible in this collection.

55 BCE – 450 CE

Roman Pot

The pot was found in a grave during the Roman period. Offerings in the form of food and drinks were a common burial practice to bridge the world between the living and the dead. To read more, visit ‘Daily Life and Death’.

500 – 700 CE

Antler Amulet

Amulets like this were found in women’s graves near the burial grounds of the Basilica of Saint Servatius in Maastricht. It was believed to be a symbol of fertility. To learn more about this and similar objects, visit ‘Religion and Beliefs’.

1200 CE

Fortifications Key

The fortification keys were used to open doors of the fortifications of Maastricht which were built to defend the city during crises and wars. See the ‘Economics and Wealth’ section for more information.

1600 – 1850 CE

Torture Device

This small and simple-to-use finger crusher was widely used as it was believed to be an effective means of obtaining a confession quickly. Check out the ‘Power and Politics’ section for more information.

1869 – 1880 CE

Beaumont Rifle

This M1871 gun is a bolt-action rifle which was used by the Royal Dutch East Indies Army during the colonial wars until the 19th century. It was produced in Maastricht and is the latest found object in this collection.


Each of the 22 objects in the Maastricht Collection has been placed under one of the four themes listed below,
each is concerned with a different aspect of the human experience and society.

Children’s Corner

Join our time traveller Henk on his journey through the Maastricht Collection. See some cool objects from the past, meet his friends along the way and solve exciting tasks and explore the Maastricht Collection through engaging animation and fun games.

This section is ideal for our young visitors who are interested in playful and interactive learning.

Dive into the Maastricht Collection with time traveller Henk