Stores open on Sundays during Heiligdomsvaart Festival
The Heiligdomsvaart Festival takes place in Maastricht every seven years, and it has an effect on the opening hours of the stores in the city center. One of the high points of the Festival is the procession of the reliquary of St. Servatius (Sint Servaas) through the city center, and it will be happening this year on the afternoons of Sunday, 27 May and Sunday, 3 June. The municipal council is allowing stores to open their doors on these dates from 5 PM to 9 PM.
The evening opening hours is an initiative of Centrummanagement Maastricht and the Grave of St. Servatius Association (Vereniging Het Graf van Sint Servaas), which organizes the Festival. The parties argued in their application that the opening of the shops does not disrupt the serene atmosphere of the Festival, and in approving the application the municipal council evidently agreed. And of course, it will help keep the expected 80,000 visitors in the city a little longer, which should encourage them to leave more gradually and improve the traffic flow around the event.
It also eliminates another issue, by keeping the city center businesses from having to close their doors for three Sundays in a row while businesses elsewhere in the city can be open for two of them (all stores in the city are closed on Sunday, 20 May, for the Whit Sunday holiday). Paul ten Haaf of Centrummanagement Maastricht says, ‘We’re very happy with the council’s decision and the generous cooperation of the Festival organisation. City center businesses will help make the Festival more present and more visible in the heart of Maastricht. It’s a fitting way of respecting the tradition.’