On Thursday 25 June, we are organizing exciting and interesting excursions, both scientific tours and more tourist tours to explore Maastricht and its surroundings. 
If you would like to stay in Maastricht, you could consider going on a city tour or take a boat tour along the Maas. However, you can also opt for a scientific alternative.

Scientific tours

A guided tour of Wageningen University and the Netherlands Institute of Ecology

The Centre for Soil Ecology invites you to Wageningen, where you will be welcomed at the Netherlands Institute for Ecology (NIOO-KNAW) and Wageningen University and Research centre (WUR). This excursion offers you the opportunity to visit research facilities, for example the NIOO building that has been built according to the cradle to cradle principle, outdoor mesocosms, and the brand new ISRIC soil museum. You will get acquainted with the research projects and meet researchers of the Centre for Soil Ecology. 

The excursion will exemplify the wide range of projects within CSE. In cooperation, scientists of WUR and NIOO-KNAW study soil ecology of natural to agro-ecosystems, across all scales: from small scale interactions in the rhizosphere to the effects on ecosystem level. Research is presented in overaching presentations and tours through the involved departments.


Duration: 8:30 a.m. - ±7 p.m.
Number of participants: 25 - 50


  • Guided tours through NIOO-KNAW, WUR and the ISRIC soil museum
  • Bus Maastricht - Wageningen - Maastricht (It is also possible to take a direct train to Schiphol Airport, Amsterdam from Wageningen instead of going back to Maastricht first. The tour will end in Wageningen around 5 p.m. and the train station is only a short bus ride away from campus)
  • Coffee/tea/lunch break
  • Drinks to conclude the day

Costs: € 50.00 per person

A guided tour of Research Center Jülich

Plant Sciences (IBG-2) within the Institute for  Bio- and Geosciences of the Forschungszentrum Jülich (Research Centre Jülich) is a leading institution for plant phenotyping. IBG-2 has a unique set of non-invasive technologies for phenotyping plant roots. This includes magnetic resonance imaging (MRI) and Positron Emission Tomography (PET), as well as large-scale automated rhizotron-screening facilities for quantifying root structure and root function. Together with other non-invasive methods such planar optodes or microwave detectors, modeling approaches (e.g. using SimRoot) and field-based shovelomics, the IBG-2 aims to identify new root traits for improving nutrient and water use efficiency of crops and other plant species. 

This field trip allows participants of the Rhizosphere4 conference to visit these root phenotyping facilities and discuss their potential with leading scientists of  IBG-2. The field trip will be split into on-site visit of the facilities as well as the option to visit nearby bioenergy and a grassland experiments, testing sustainably options for bioenergy plants and effects of  ecological assembly on community performance.   

Duration: 9.30 a.m. - ±5 p.m.
Number of participants: 25-40 

  • Guided tours through Research Centre Jülich
  • Bus Maastricht - Jülich - Maastricht
  • Coffee/tea/lunch break

Costs: € 50.00 per person

N.B. This tour has been fully booked. 

Hiking calcareous grasslands 

This excursion makes you more familiar with the extraordinary nature of South Limburg. The most southern part of the Netherlands harbours a high diversity of both plant and insect species.
In the morning we will hike through the undulating landscape of grasslands and calcareous slopes. The walk will lead us from Stokhem to Schin op Geul through the nature areas Berghof and Gerendal with their high floristic diversity and many different types of ecosystems. We will visit the orchid garden in Gerendal, a wild garden with around 260 plant species, including 20 orchid species native to South Limburg and other rare species that flourish on calcareous soils. The walk is approx. 7 km will be guided by two scientists from Wageningen University who specialize in plant ecology and nature management.

At lunchtime we will have a picnic in the beautiful orchid garden in the midst of all the flowering plants. If weather is not suitable for an outside picnic we will move to an indoor option.
In the afternoon we will go to the Bemelerberg. Here we will make an excursion guided by a researcher from Alterra (Wageningen UR) leading a long-term restoration experiment and an expert from the Stichting het Limburgs Landschap, the foundation that manages the landscape of Limburg. Bemelerberg is a complex of sloping nutrient-poor grasslands with a big array of soil types and vegetation. This area has had quite some interesting long term nature restoration and has been a research site on the interaction between soil, flora and fauna for years.

Duration: 8.30 a.m. - ±6 p.m.
Number of participants: 25-50


  • Guided tours through the South Limburg grasslands
  • Bus to various locations
  • Picnic
  • Water & softdrinks

Costs: € 75.00 per person

Non-scientific tours

Maastricht highlights tour

Take a walk through Maastricht and take in the city's highligts. While walking on the cobbled streets, a professional tour guide from the Maastricht tourist agency will tell you all about the city and its history. It is an energetic and scenic tour, passing by the most important sights of Maastricht. You will gain a perfect impression of the many historical, modern, cultural and culinary delights that the city has to offer within a relatively short space of time. The tour includes a café stop for Brand specialty beer or a glass of wine.

Duration: 11 a.m. - 1:30 p.m. (2.5 hours) 
Number of participants: minimum of 10


  •  Guided tour through Maastricht
  • A Brand beer or glass of wine

Costs: € 14.00 per person

Boat trip on the Maas with a visit to the caves

After a boat trip on the river Maas you will go ashore at the St. Pietersberg for a tour through the marlstone caves in the St. Pietersberg hill. Even today the walls and ceilings show how the 'block breakers' used to work in there. On the walls there are numerous interesting inscriptions and drawings, some of which are very old. The temperature in the corridors is a constant ten degrees Celsius. A jacket and robust footwear are advised. After visiting the caves you will return by boat. 

This tour is not suitable for people with reduced mobility.

Duration: 11 a.m. - 2 p.m. (3 hours)

Number of participants: minimum of 14


  • Return boat trip to the caves
  • A guided tour through the caves of the St. Pietersberg

Costs: €16.00 per person


Please note:

  •          Tours can be booked in the online registration module. All tickets must be paid in advance to be considered confirmed.
  •          Refunds will not be made for cancellations within 20 days prior to the booking.
  •          Tour timings and routes are subject to change. Weather and traffic conditions may impact some tours which would
               require an amendment to routes and timing.
  •          Certain tours are based on a minimum number of participants. The organization of Rhizosphere 4 holds the right to
               cancel the tour if the minimum number has not been reached by 31 May. In this case, 100% of fees paid will be