Thursday 25 October, the festive book presentation of the ‘Grote Looiersstraat 17’ took place. This edition of the ‘Historische Reeks’ was written by Jos Notermans. The presentation was held, quite fittingly, in the building in the Grote Looiersstraat 17, the current accommodation of the Maastricht University Library and ICT Service Centre.

Ingrid Wijk (director of the University Library) and Paul Bronzwaer (member of the board of the Stichting Historische Reeks Maastricht) welcomed over 70 guests from the foundation and the Maastricht University. Author Jos Notermans held a fascinating introduction on the long history of the building.

The first copy was presented to Rein de Wilde, Chair of the UM Art and Heritage Commission, in short KEC. Paul Bronzwaer mentioned the thoughtful way Maastricht University and KEC manage the Maastricht heritage by renovating stately old buildings and giving these buildings a new purpose, preserving them for the city.

After this official part the guests could enjoy a tour of the building with current residents, a slideshow and drinks.

Grote Looiersstraat 17: colourful history

Through unique photographs, this book sketches the history of the building from its original purpose as a poorhouse in 1757 to its successive use as a barracks, a military hospital, a camp for political prisoners, a youth home, and a storage facility for the Natural History Museum. The municipality later extended the back of the building towards the Nieuwenhofstraat to house the city archives and library.

The building is now owned by Maastricht University and has housed the University Library and the ICT Service Centre since 2003. To suit its new purpose, the building underwent a dramatic renovation, with the old facades and the monumental staircase as the only original features preserved. Walls were demolished and a floor was added to transform the somewhat labyrinthine building into the University Library we know today: a light and airy structure that is flooded with daylight thanks to a glass ceiling in the central area. A public thoroughfare was also constructed to give cyclists and pedestrians access to the Nieuwenhofstraat from the Grote Looiersstraat.

In addition to a modern and inviting study environment, the University Library also houses a number of special collections. In 1974, the Jesuit collection laid the foundations for the present-day University Library. The library has since obtained collections from Limburg painter and poet Pierre Kemp and Limburg painter Charles Eyck. More information can be found on the University Library website > Collections >  Cultural heritage collections.

Stichting Historische Reeks Maastricht

Stichting Historische Reeks Maastricht was founded in 1979 with the aim of providing comprehensive information and documentation to anyone interested in historical monuments or themes specific to Maastricht and Limburg history in an ethical, concise and inexpensive way.

The book ‘Grote Looiersstraat 17’is the 78th edition in the Maastricht Silhouet series. Some previous editions that also covered Maastricht University buildings include:

  • Minderbroedersberg
  • Nieuwenhof
  • Bonnefantenklooster
  • Hof van Tilly

Click here for the full series [Dutch].

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