Maastricht to sue Flanders over failed tram line

Maastricht will take the Belgian region of Flanders to court over the Flemish government's refusal to repay the Dutch city 19.6 million euros. Maastricht and the Dutch province of Limburg had invested the money in a tram link from Maastricht to the Belgian city of Hasselt. Last year, however, Flanders scrapped the tram. 

According to Maastricht, Flanders is contractually obliged to repay the money already invested in the tram line by the Netherlands, but the region has failed to do so.

This was revealed on Tuesday in a letter from mayor Wim Hillenaar to Maastricht city council. The council had earlier passed a motion to prevent Maastricht taxpayers from being stuck with the bill.

Attempts to resolve the dispute amicably have been unsuccessful. Flanders has reimbursed Maastricht 3 million euros that the city had paid to the region as compensation for having to shorten part of the tram line. The remaining 19.6 million euros that Maastricht claims Flanders owes has not been returned.

The plan for a tram between Maastricht and Hasselt dates back to 2004, but the fast link never got off the ground due to a range of problems. In Maastricht, for instance, the tracks could not be extended to the railway station because a bridge in the city couldn't support the tram's weight.

Hasselt announced last year that it was abandoning the project, partly because of the 300 million euro cost to the Belgians. In May 2022, Flanders cancelled the project. Since then, Flanders and Maastricht have been at loggerheads over the costs.

The office of Flemish Mobility minister Lydia Peeters said on Tuesday evening that Flanders had not yet received an official communication. "We are waiting for the official communication and will then consider further steps," she said.


#FlandersNewsService | © PHOTO ANP MARCEL VAN HOORN

Related News

Website preview
Flanders and the Netherlands argue over cost of failed tram line
The Netherlands is still waiting for 22 million euros it paid in advance for a planned tram link between Hasselt and Maastricht that Flanders decided to abandon last year, Dutch newspaper Trouw reports.


Get updates in your mailbox

By clicking "Subscribe" I confirm I have read and agree to the Privacy Policy.


Belga News Agency delivers dependable, rapid and high-quality information 24 hours a day, 7 days a week, from Belgium and abroad to all Belgian media. The information covers all sectors, from politics, economics and finance to social affairs, sports and culture, not to mention entertainment and lifestyle.

Every day, our journalists and press photographers produce hundreds of photos and news stories, dozens of online information items, plus audio and video bulletins, all in both national languages. Since the end of March 2022 English has been added as a language.

For public institutions, businesses and various organisations that need reliable information, Belga News Agency also offers a comprehensive range of corporate services to meet all their communication needs.


Arduinkaai 29 1000 Brussels