La Société de Maestricht (Groote Sociëteit) was founded in 1760 by Hobbe Esaias, the baron of Aylva and is seen as one of the first gentlemen’s societies in the Netherlands. It was a private association for men. In the club building, the members came together to meet in a closed environment.
The members were almost all leaders from the Maastricht official, financial or military world. Strict admission requirements and high contributions ensured that unwanted persons were banned.
In 1868 the club building was renovated. The second floor was demolished inside, so that a spacious and high ballroom was created on the ground floor. Since then, the windows on the second floor have been shuttered.
Underneath the building is a large cellar consisting of various rooms with barrel vaults. The coal sandstone used here indicates an age from the Middle Ages.
In the long existence of the society, the association has been honored several times by distinguished visitors such as King Willem II and Willem III (1841), Queen Regent Emma with her daughter Princess Wilhelmina (1903) and Prince Hendrik (1910).
Membership is now open to men and women and takes place via the system of co-optation, in which at least two members propose a new candidate, which is balanced by the board. Several times a year the baron closes her doors for private gatherings of the society.