|On Wednesday the
second of July, there will be a welcome reception in the Town
Hall for the participants to the
EAPL conference 2008.
For its citizens, a
town hall is the building that is synonymous with municipal
government. If it has an imposing monumental appearance and a
corresponding interior, the symbolism will be even stronger. The
town hall then serves as a visiting card for the whole city. It
testifies to the aspirations of the city government for the
built environment; it is an expression of the continuity of
power relationships in a given society and the outward display
of power that these relations require.
In Maastricht the seventeenth-century town hall is certainly an
inspiring sight - like the Vrijthof, the old bridge over the
Maas and the Bonnefantenmuseum, it is one of the buildings that
gives the city its identity. Built on a convenient site in the
heart of the city, it is deliberately conceived of as an emblem
of the city government. As a building, it reflects the social
position of the local authority as it then was. Time has shown
that the architectural quality of Maastricht town hall is also
equal to our present-day democratic form of government.