The relocation of the landing of the Noorderbrug freed up space for the realization of an entirely new city park: the Frontenpark. Located on the north side of the Sphinxkwartier, the Frontenpark appears like the district’s back garden stretching over more than twenty hectares. This park has a wealth of flora and fauna and cultural heritage and offers space for events.
Wandele vaan Lambèr tot Lumière
Or to translate the Maastricht dialect into plain English: a walk from the St Lambert’s Church to Lumière Cinema. A 120-metre-long dry canal under the Cabergerweg once again connects the Hoge and Lage Fronten as they have been in the past. Visitors can stroll straight from the Lambertuskerk (St Lambert’s Church on Koningin Emmaplein square) via the Frontenpark to Lumière Cinema (Bassin) and catch a movie. But of course they can also continue their walk and visit one of the other locations that make the Sphinxkwartier so unique.
City field: recreation and events
The former Gashouder located opposite Het Radium serves as the unmissable landmark for the city meadow (Stadsweide): a large, green meadow where visitors can come to enjoy a picnic or play a game of football. The City meadow also offers space for events and concerts that reflect the general atmosphere and possibilities offered by Frontenpark. On the weekend of 30,31 August and 1 September 2019, the Bruis festival was the first event hosted on the meadow.
De Krul: from slip road to eye-catcher
At the Boschstraat/Frontensingel junction, the former slip road from the Noorderbrug towards the city centre has been left intact as a permanent reminder of the old landing. The concrete colossus is now a vantage point and offers a unique view of both the Frontenpark and Sphinxkwartier. In this way, De Krul adds an extra dimension to the rugged environment.
Baron Dibbetspark: a tiny park at the top of Boschstraat
Opposite De Krul, the old entry slip road of the Noorderbrug was demolished to make way for a tiny park: the Baron Dibbetspark. The park has been named after the historic fortress commander who prevented Maastricht from falling into Belgian hands in the nineteenth century. According to legend, he was buried under the traffic light near the former slip road. However, no remains were found during demolition. The only tangible remnant of Baron Dibbets is a plaque ánd his own mini-park.
The industrialization of Maastricht has left its mark on the Frontenpark. The former fortifications were in the nineteenth century converted into a harbour. Remnants of the railway yards and sections of rails with sleepers are left behind and give the Lage Fronten their special character. The years of neglect were a blessing from above for nature. The Frontenpark is now home to many different species of animals, such as the wall lizard, beavers, swans, bats and the common kingfisher. To protect these little critters dogs have to be kept on a leash in the Lage Fronten.
In recent years, the ramparts in the Lage Fronten have been renovated to prevent further deterioration. Where necessary, steel decks were built, so hikers can pass the abutments without getting their feet wet. A number of bicycle paths and footpaths were also realised without diminishing the rugged character of the surroundings. Instead, numerous desire paths help hikers to find their way through the Frontenpark.
Hoge Fronten: Line of Du Moulin
The Hoge Fronten have long been a favourite hiking area for residents of Maastricht-West. This is a protected natural monument dotted with the remnants of the eighteenth and nineteenth century fortifications, also known as the Line of Du Moulin. From a military and historical point of view, the Hoge Fronten are of great academic and national significance. But hikers are also welcome to come here to enjoy the unique natural surroundings and see the fortifications.
Check these websites for more info about the fortifications in Maastricht:
The Frontenpark is a rugged park that focuses as much as possible on preserving local flora, fauna, and heritage. The park’s hiking trails are bumpy and overgrown with grass and weeds, making them challenging terrain for walking. Hikers should also be aware of the considerable differences in height due to the existing fortifications. Where possible, the Frontenpark has been designed to be accessible for everyone.
The Frontenpark can still be enjoyed by people with reduced mobility, as well as grandparents and parents with prams, but please note that not all paths are negotiable for everyone. This includes the fortifications, which can only be reached on foot (much like the ones in Stadspark), or stairs that will lead to Hoge Fronten from the underpass on Cabergerweg. In the coming years, the Municipality of Maastricht will be looking at how the Frontenpark can be further developed without losing its rugged character.
Frontenpark in the picture
Thanks to our photographers Fred Berghmans and Jonathan Vos we have an impressive photo collection at our disposal. All photos can be viewed on Flickr Belvédère Maastricht.