The 78th meeting of the Internet Engineering Task Force was hold in the heart of Europe – in the city of Maastricht, the Netherlands.

the IETF at the MECC

The venue of the meeting was The Maastricht Exhibition & Congress Center (MECC) not far from the place where in 1992 the treaty that defined the European Union and the creation of the Euro currency was signed. The location is a little remote from the center of the city, but frankly speaking the 20 to 30 minutes walk at night after dinner from the center to the nearby hotels did us just good, and the free pass that was granted to the IETF participants on buses during the week helped the lazy ones.

one shore of the Maas ...

The name of the city derives from the Maas (Meuse) river that crosses the city. The place is inhabited at least from the times of the Romans.

... and the other

The history of the city includes several interesting episodes. Good chances are that you have read about it during your childhood if you have read Alexandre Dumas’ novels. The death of d’Artagnan – the hero made immortal by Dumas happened during the siege of Maastricht by Louis XIV’s armies. The story is told in Dumas’ novel The Vicomte of Bragelonne.

the city seen from above ...

The city has many beautiful churches and at least two of them are outstanding. I will tell more about them and also bring up some pictures in one of the coming episodes.

... and down in the streets, at day ...

I love wandering on the streets of European cities like Maastricht.

... and at night

They are beautiful at day and at night.

terraces in the Vrijthof square

The week I spent in Maastricht was a pleasant summer week, following a wave of heat which had made the atmosphere challenging they week before (as we were told). The few showers were short and just cleaned the air. We could spent some of the evening dinners on terraces like the one in the Vrijthof square …

the Town Hall in Markt Square

… or the ones in the Markt Square.

a city of statues

Adding beauty to the picturesque streets are the statues that can be found in Maastricht at the crossroads or even on the sides of the streets. Most of them are not big in dimensions, in many cases at human sizes and proportions allowing for an feeling of intimacy and belonging to be established between the statues and the street walker.

Johannes Petrus Minckelers

One of the few that look at visitors from a pedestal is the statue in Markt Square of Johannes Petrus Minckelers, the inventor of the illuminating gas, who holds an eternal flame in his hand reminding all about his invention.

bycicles, bycicles

As in many other places in the Netherlands bicycles are a preferred means of transport. Locals are bicycling to work, to recreation, or to their commuting train stations.

the police orchestra plays for the IETF

The social event is the one moment of recreation that happens on Tuesdays of the IETF meetings allowing for a change of atmosphere and pace for the big heads who build and run the Internet.

rocking the boat at the IETF Social

The social at this meeting was organized on the boats near the river (who are used during the day for the tourist rides on the Maas). We had fanfare music, we had rock music played from the high deck of the boats, we had even tribal drums by the end. Food, wine and especially beer ran free, but beer will be the subject of a dedicated later episode.