Maarssen  is a town in the Netherlands.
Maarssen is situated just outside of the city of Utrecht, almost like a suburb. It has a population of almost 40,000. The river Vecht flows through the town, and the Amsterdam-Rhine canal borders it.
Maarssen is situated on the main Amsterdam-Utrecht line, but the fast intercity trains do not stop here. Only the slower stop-trains do.
- Utrecht - A train every 15 mins (less on weekends). Takes 10mins.
- Amsterdam - Direct trains on weekday mornings and evenings for commuters. Takes 40mins. Other times, take train to Breukelen (one stop away) and switch here.
- 38 bus - runs between Maarssen trains station and Utrecht central train station, but not through the centre of Maarssen.
Buses that run through Maarssen include the 35 and 36.
Maarssen is just off the A2 motorway, the motorway that connects Amsterdam and Utrecht. This road is very busy with a lot of traffic jams during peak hours. There are major road works happening on it.
Bikes can be rented from the train station.
Gapers (Black Moors Head)
These are an ancient symbol of pharmacy in the Netherlands. They look like people yawning (gapers means yawners in Dutch), but really they have their mouths open to take medicine. Sometimes a pill can be seen on their tongue. These symbols were once common in the Netherlands, especially in Amsterdam. Today they are very rare on buildings.
Usually the head is of a black or Moor man. This is because in the 15-17th centuries, pharmacists would travel through the country with an assistant trying to sell their medicines. Before an audience the pharmacist would give a pill to his assistant. These were often Moors. The assistant would act better.
So pharmacies became known by the assistant's head.
- The Netherlands Drugstore Museum, . 26 Apr-31 Oct: W-Sa 11AM-5PM, Su 1PM-5PM. Other times by appointment. This museum tracks the history of drug stores in the Netherlands. They have a large collection of gapers including one 2m high. The also have two historic drugstores, one from 1901 and the other from 1934. There is also a shop where you can by your own gaper. €4.
- The Skating Museum (Schaatsmuseum Tienhoven), Laan van Niftarlake 49, 3612 BM Tienhoven, ☎ +31 (0)346 281789 ([email protected]), . By appointment. Learn about the history of ice skates and other winter objects.
- Utrecht — the city has some great historic architecture and is a transport hub for the Netherlands