Located in southeastern Netherlands near the borders of Belgium and Germany and sitting on the shores of the Meuse River, the city of Maastricht is the capital of the province of Limburg, and it has a population of 120,000 and an area of 60.06 square kilometers. Maastricht was pivotal in the history of the European Union, as the monumental Maastricht Treaty was signed by EU members in the city on February 7, 1992. Maastricht is a major source of coal, while the city's metallurgy, chemicals, rubber, glass, ceramics, cement and textile industries are also quite developed.
Maastricht is home to a variety of science, technology and education resources, including renowned research and education organizations such as theMaastricht Health Research Institute, Medtronic Research Center, Maastricht University and Maastricht School of Management.
Maastricht is the gastronomic capital and a famous historical city of the Netherlands. In terms of culinary culture, the Burgundy region in the southeast of France has had a huge influence on Maastricht, and white asparagus, wine and mushrooms grown in limestone caves are some of the famous local produce. The city's main sights are concentrated on the west bank of the Meuse River, which includes the Basilica of Saint Servatius and the Bonnefanten Museum. During March every year, The European Fine Art Fair (TEFAF) takes place in Maastricht, which has been held for 25 consecutive sessions thus far.
The relations between Chengdu and Maastricht began at the Sino-Dutch Higher Education Institution Conference that was held in Chengdu in 2008. At the Conference, Maastricht University and the University of Electronic Science and Technology of China carried out in-depth dialogue regarding future cooperation, which resulted in various collaborations including visits by each other's principals, scholarship support programs and student exchanges. Currently, 12 students from the University of Electronic Science and Technology of China are already studying at Maastricht University, while two MU students are enrolled at the UESTC.
During the end of 2011, Dutch Ambassador to China suggested that Chengdu and Maastricht form a friendship city relations. Dutch Ambassador Rudolf Bekink wrote personally to the mayor of Maastricht and emphatically encouraged the formation of the amicable relationship. In May 2012, Chengdu mayor Ge Honglin led a delegation to visit Maastricht, and the two cities signed the Memorandum of Understanding about Forming Friendship Cities Relations between Chengdu and Maastricht, which became a conduit for further collaboration between the two cities.
In September 2012, then mayor of Maastricht Onno Hoes led a city delegation of 17 members and visited Chengdu, participating in the China International Friendship Cities Conference and the 1st International Sister Cities Tourism Alliance Annual Conference. On September 13, Mayor Hoes and Chengdu executive vice mayor Sun Ping signed the agreement to form friendship cities relations, and on the same day, Maastricht economic, finance and tourism counselor Johann Azi represented the Dutch city in signing the announcement of Maastricht's entry into the International Sister Cities Tourism Alliance. Other than these two events, the Maastricht delegation of 17 also met with Chengdu mayor Ge Honglin, held discussions with the Chengdu Hi-tech Industrial Development Zone, Foreign Affairs Office of the Chengdu Municipal Government and the city's Investment Promotion Bureau, Bureau of Culture, Bureau of Tourism and Bureau of Exhibitions, and visited four higher education institutions including Sichuan University and more than ten pharmaceutical companies and industry parks including Kanghong Pharmaceutical.