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The most elegant showcase for art and antiques: The TEFAF in Maastricht

Unlike Audrey Hepburn, who stood in front of the window with her morning coffee to admire Tiffany’s jewellery, there are many places at the TEFAF art fair where you can sit down for lunch surrounded by exquisite works of art. Treat yourself to a long stroll at this elegant art fair in Maastricht. We are sure you will come back.



The venerable grande dame of art fairs has developed into a sought-after meeting place for a young audience. Nowhere else are antiques, design classics and selected contemporary art presented so elegantly.

In the past, the date of TEFAF (The European Fine Art Fair), September 11 to September 19, 2021, was mostly reserved for art dealers and older ladies and gentlemen in distinguished clothing. That has changed.

The generation of grandchildren is casually out and about there today and quite a few photos from the art fair end up on Instagram. The TEFAF is a small paradise for everyone who is interested in beautiful and valuable art exhibits. Here they are in one place. With admission to TEFAF you are right in the middle and can stroll from one breathtaking piece to the next.

At trade fairs you walk for many hours on the usually very hard floor and then in the evening you are very happy to be able to leave the exhibition halls again, despite the interesting exhibits. At TEFAF, people have always walked through the fair aisles on soft carpets and mobile bartenders with small trolleys will meet you if you feel like a G&T. Let’s hope that this will be possible again in the future.

At the important intersections of the exhibition aisles at TEFAF, fantastic, meter-high flower arrangements delight the eye and in many places there are interesting bars and buffets. Of course, these are not the main reasons why one travels to Maastricht for TEFAF – but every experienced trade fair visitor appreciates these amenities.

A paradise for visual aesthetes

Important galleries from London, Geneva, Paris, Naples, New York, Kyoto and Bamberg, to name just a few, are showing their best pieces at TEFAF and skilfully presenting them with sophisticated lighting concepts. The eye wanders from valuable oil paintings to historical musical instruments and back to modern sculptures of museum quality and on to precious handicrafts and jewellery.

The skilful mix makes the TEFAF so interesting. For everyone interested in art, this fair offers an immense variety of impressions, be it for purchasing considerations, be it for orientation and assessment of works of art and dealers. Quite a few antique trouvaille have found their way into a household that was previously only stocked with modern art.

TEFAF’s strategy for success: quality

Every exhibit goes through a rigorous independent testing process. The examination board consists of 180 independent members (scientists, restorers and art historians with many years of experience) who have specialized in one of the 29 categories.

Using high-tech equipment such as digital microscopes, infrared reflectors and UV spectrometers, the experts examine all the exhibits that have been delivered in advance by the dealers exhibiting at TEFAF.

This process takes place without the presence of the respective dealers. If there is any doubt about the provenance of an exhibit, for example the silver content of a centerpiece or the age of a painting, the item will remain in the TEFAF safes for the entire duration of the fair.

This means that buyers at TEFAF can be sure that they are getting the right quality for their money. This is an important safeguard for interested parties and buyers, especially when it comes to antiques. TEFAF has also opened up to contemporary art: TEFAF Curated shows the works of contemporary artists.

Each year, a renowned art expert is appointed to curate the exhibition, following a leitmotif. The grande dame has become a hip princess who is not only represented in the Dutch city of Maastricht, but now also with a spring and autumn fair in New York.

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Art of living in Maastricht

Anyone coming to TEFAF for the first time will try to spend as much time at TEFAF as possible. Most visitors return and take a little more time the second time, because the university town in the south of the Netherlands has Francophile flair and architectural charm.

Ideally, you have reserved a table in the restaurant of the Kruisherenhotel in Maastricht for lunchtime. A former 15th-century convent now houses a hotel and an excellent restaurant in the former nave

seems to be floating.

The restaurant and hotel are a skilful blend of historical foundations and modern design. The kitchen and the service are excellent and with a very early lunch there is still the entire afternoon to visit TEFAF. A perfect day.

What are you waiting for? You can order tickets for the TEFAF online in advance and Maastricht is also easy to reach by train. Especially when you are just beginning to build up your own art collection, it is worth learning at TEFAF.

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