The main points of the agreement with the Limburg provincial government and the City of Maastricht are designed to make the Dutch city a more accessible and attractive destination for international art lovers.
These include a renovation and extension of the congress centre MECC Maastricht, where the fair is held each spring, and a commitment to improving transport links to aid overseas travel.
The province of Limburg and the City of Maastricht approached TEFAF in order to cement the relationship between the city and the fair that it has hosted for more than 30 years. The fair is worth an estimated €20m a year to the local economy.
In the wake of the fair in March 2017, a number of dealers suggested that the world’s premier art and antiques fair could prove more fruitful in a new location. While Berlin, Brussels and Paris have been mooted in the past as alternative venues, at the time TEFAF spokesperson said only that currently “there are no plans to move TEFAF Maastricht from Maastricht”.
The refurbishment of the MECC will begin shortly and is scheduled to be completed in 2020 at a cost of €30m. Improvements to the Maastricht Aachen airport – including investment in a direct connection to a major international hub – is expected by 2019.
Other plans for improving the local infrastructure include the provision of more four and five-star hotel rooms that the city currently lacks. Maastricht City Council is also providing De Hoofdwacht, an 18th century building in Vrijthof, so that TEFAF can effectively have a presence in the City throughout the year.
The building will be used in a variety of ways, which will be developed over the coming year and will enhance TEFAF’s presence in the City.
CEO Patrick van Maris says the new partnership will strengthen links with the city. “Our conversations with the city and province have underlined the extraordinary level of support for TEFAF and a shared desire to build an environment in which TEFAF can continue to grow and thrive. As a solid majority of dealers want to stay in Maastricht, the Board of Trustees is delighted by the commitment that the city and province has shown TEFAF”.