In 1579 the city was sacked by the Spanish army under general Alexander Farnese, Duke of Parma (Siege of Maastricht, 1579).
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Maastricht is a member of the Most Ancient European Towns Network and is part of the Meuse-Rhine Euroregion, which includes nearby German and Belgian cities Aachen, Eupen, Hasselt, Liège and Tongeren.
The Meuse-Rhine Euroregion is a metropolis with a population of about 3.9 million with several international universities.
Around the same time, the poet Henric van Veldeke wrote a legend of Saint Servatius, one of the earliest works in Dutch literature.
Unlike most Dutch towns, Maastricht did not receive city rights at a certain date. In 1204 the city's dual authority was formalised in a treaty, with the prince-bishops of Liège and the dukes of Brabant holding joint sovereignty over the city.
According to legend, the Armenian-born Saint Servatius, Bishop of Tongeren, died in Maastricht in 384 and was buried there along the Roman road, outside the castrum.