It was an absolute pleasure to do this interview with mrs. Oostwegel-van Uden, wife of Camille Oostwegel and together the driving force behind the Camille Oostwegel group, owners of several big restaurant and hotel properties. Mrs. Oostwegel was a perfect hostess and showed us around a lot of the incredible rooms of the Kruisherenhotel, where we met her for the interview.
There is a certain feel within the hotel and the staff that makes you feel at ease and what I thought was so special was that even as the owner of many big hotels, Judith greeted all the staff by their first names and it was very telling for the kind of business she and her husband run. They do a lot of stuff for their employees, by treating them well and making sure that even though the work is serious, everybody is the best version of themselves because of additional education and courses offered by the owners to further them in their career within the business
Ashika Baan: What is your favourite bar or place to have a bite?
Judith Oostwegel: I love sitting in the wine bar of the Kruisheren Hotel. It’s a unique place because of the surrounding architecture and it’s very cozy! For lunch I always recommend Château Neercanne, where a changing menu is set at the price of € 35,-. Museum aan het Vrijthof is also amazing to have a cup of tea and of course the Dominicanenchurch, in which there is a bookstore and a lovely coffeeplace.
AB: Where do you like to shop in Maastricht?
JO: I like going to Kiki Niesten, where they sell a beautifully curated collection. For a sportier outfit, the Scapa Shop here always makes me happy. I feel very at home in their clothes.
What I think is very special for Maastricht, is the Hermès store here. The Martens family really put in a lot of effort to have one here, and it definitely shows people that Maastricht is important.
All in all, Maastricht has shops with beautiful collections, stuff you don’t often find in the rest of the country. The place to shop is Wyck. It’s such a young and energetic neighbourhood with a lot of new entrepreneurs.
AB: What is your favourite event in Maastricht?
JO: I think the biggest and best event in Maastricht is and has been the TEFAF (The European Fine Art Fair), which is basically 10 days of amazing! 10 days of being able to see all the art. It’s also a good location to do some networking.
Another thing that is so unique for Maastricht is that André Rieu has really put a stamp on it by giving his annual concerts in the summer. It’s actually a nice thing to take your parents to (wink wink, students). There are special André Rieu arrangements at the hotels and restaurants, which are nice to take advantage of.
AB: Where do you like to go to experience some culture?
JO: I think the Bonnefantenmuseum has really interesting collections, put together by Stijn Huijts. Of course, the previously mentioned Museum aan het Vrijthof is also really nice. Furthermore, Marres is amazing, diverse place to experience different aspects of art (even food), and Lumière for a good art house movie.
AB: What is Maastricht’s “best-kept secret”?
JO: I think the observance place on the Sint Pietersberg is a very good place, probably not so secret, but definitely worth your while.
AB: What is your best memory of Maastricht?
JO: It would have to be when the Kruisheren Hotel opened. There had been years and years of renovating it before this day arrived and when it did, it was magical. There was a mass in the Sint Servaas church, after which everybody came together in Theater aan het Vrijthof, where my husband, Camille Oostwegel, was being honoured for being an entrepreneur for 25 years. As a present he got a beautiful Deux Chevaux Charleston, which was given in cooperation with all the employees. It was an emotional moment, because the Hotel was supposed to be our last project together, but now we’ve already started on another one at Château St. Gerlach, where we’re implementing technology so it runs as much as possible on solar energy. That’s how we try to make our properties as self-supporting as possible.
AB: Which person would you like to show Maastricht to?
JO: Azzedine Alaïa, the fashion designer, because of the versatility of Maastricht, with its arty and unique culture and heritage. It’s very modern with the academies present in Maastricht, yet very conserving of the rich history that has passed. I think it would inspire this fashion designer.
AB: What about Maastricht makes it so nice to live and work here?
JO: it’s unique because Maastricht is the gateway to Europe. Within a short moment you’re in Belgium, Germany or even France. Someone living in Brussels can easily work in Maastricht.
And the fact of the matter is that people here speak 3 languages extra (French, German, English). Furthermore, the safety of Maastricht feels like a warm cocoon.
AB: How would you describe Maastricht in 3 words?
JO: Small is beautiful!
This already ends the interview we did with mrs. Oostwegel. For more, look further on our blog. Enjoy!
Interview and text by Ashika Baan, Photography by Brian Megens
For more photos of the hotel and interview, click here