In our new section ‘favorite hotspots’, we invite followers and friends of Life in Maastricht to share some of the places around town they like or love. Terraces, shops, pubs, diners, restaurants, you name it. Sound advice for and from new and/or non-Maastrichter folks! Our first guest is Darren Johnson from New York, USA.
“The perfect antidote for my life in New York City.”
1. What’s your name and age?
My name is Darren Johnson. I am 55.
2. What’s your profession?
I work as a Film, TV and Commercial Actor in New York City as well as the Public Relations and Creative Director for Von Eusersdorff in America and Europe.
3. Do you live in Maastricht? If not, do you visit often?
Yes, I sometimes live in Maastricht, but I also live in Amsterdam and New York City. I’ve been living this way for the last 20 years. So, I am here quite often through the year.
4. Why do you like or love Maastricht City?
I love Maastricht because it is a beautiful city and my life partner was born here. Maastricht produces great people. Also, it is the perfect antidote for my extremely busy life in NYC. It is quiet, beautiful and most of all gezellig. It is a small “melting pot” in its own way with people from all over the World and from different walks of life. I think of Maastricht as a “Best Kept Secret City”. Maastricht helps me to stay grounded. I love Maria at the Onze Lieve Vrouw Plein. I am not Catholic but that Basilica is amazing and I go there to pray. Plus, the beautiful Europe Office for Von Eusersdorff is located in Maastricht, so that is even more of a reason to love this wonderful city.
5. If you live here already, would you decide to stay and never move anywhere else?
I have learned, “Never Say Never.” Being an American by birth, I always have to return to my country. Especially since I still work, pay taxes and have a home in NYC.
6. If you’re a frequent visitor, would you like to live in Maastricht?
Yes. I’d love to live in Maastricht. It is a great place to have a great life.
7. What terraces and places do you like?
I love the Onze Lieve Vrouw Plein. The bar Take Five has been an incredible place for me for the last 20 years. I have met so many new friends from all over the world and they come and visit me in NYC or we meet in other cities in other countries. Clio Jewelry at the Amorsplein has much more to offer than the most beautiful jewelry in the world. It has a loving energy with International Enlightenment and I am honored to have met the most beautiful, wonderful and loving people there that have become my friends for life. Also, Ceramique is quite lovely with a fantastic bibliotheek that has the best exhibitions. I also love Chateau Neercanne. However, my best friend Gustaf would never speak to me again if I did not thank Maastricht for the best place in the world which is the Stadspark. Gustaf takes me out for my walk every morning to start a happy day and every evening for the best sunset.
8. What are your favorite places to have dinner?
I love the restaurant Gio, at the Vrijthof for the great ambiance and the fun Italian food. However, I am in love with the Limburg food, especially from Slagerij Franssen. Zuurkool, andijvie stamppot, boerenkool. Stamppot is my favorite food. Limburg has the BEST!
9. Is there a favorite event in town?
TEFAF and André Rieu by far. I love both events. I come to Europe because I love the life here and I want to see EUROPE!
10. What are your favorite places to go shopping in Maastricht?
When I arrived to Maastricht on my very first day, the first thing that I noticed is how great everyone looks. The people in Paris are chic and the people in Milan are stylish. However, the people in Maastricht embody class, glamour, flair and pure beauty. I am completely impressed on how nice everyone looks, no matter how many euros that one may have in their pockets. The people have pride in themselves and they radiate that pride. I am not much of a shopper, myself. I just love it all. Maastricht has it all. I am so blessed and happy to have this experience.