As the oldest city in the Netherlands, Nijmegen has a good reputation to uphold. In the center you will also find several references to previous centuries. Archaeological finds are still regularly made and historical locations marked. The Pillar of the Gods at Museum het Valkhof is a wonderful example of this. Through cultural-historical programs and cultural events, the city of Nijmegen tries to keep history alive in its own unique way. In some places you can discover beautiful pieces of street art that make a reference to the past. Especially the period in which the Romans once lived here is reflected in paintings.
According to sportingology, the city of Nijmegen was once called Oppidum Batavorum. At that time there was talk of a settlement on and around the Valkhof. Most contemporary streets in the center of Nijmegen have their origins in the Middle Ages. If you look at a map of Nijmegen from the 16th/17th century, you will recognize many of the places. Unfortunately, many historic buildings have not survived. The Second World War in particular caused a large number of destruction, when the Allies accidentally bombed Nijmegen instead of the German city of Cleves. Decay is another reason why a large part of the Lower Town (the lower part of the center) has been demolished. Unfortunately, it has mainly been replaced by unimaginative social housing. It is a pity that earlier Marxist ways of thinking within the city council have led to such ugly buildings. In recent years you can see that the historical awareness ensures that people make more careful choices with regard to the cityscape.
The Nijmegen Four Days Marches is an event that, due to its temporary nature, is missing from the top 10 places of interest in Arnhem. This large-scale walking event has been held since 1909. During this four-day event, thousands of participants from the Netherlands and abroad will walk a marked route. You can choose between distances of 30, 40 or 50 kilometers. Every day a different route is walked and other places visited. Over the years it has become a festival known throughout the country. Various music bands, exhibitors and the catering industry know how to make it a fun party. The Nijmegen Four Days Marches will be held at the same time as the Nijmegen Summer Festivals.
Top 10 sights of Nijmegen
The Boterwaag is located directly on the Grote Markt in Nijmegen. The building with a gable roof was built at the beginning of the seventeenth century to weigh and trade butter. A weighmaster had to supervise this. The Boterwaag was designed by Master Cornelis Janssen van Delft. The left part of the Boterwaag was used as a meat hall. After the Boterwaag lost its function, it was still used as a police station. Nowadays a catering facility is located in the Boterwaag.
#2. Waal quay
The beautiful view of the Waal is one of the most beautiful things you can experience in Nijmegen. You can really enjoy it, especially since the Waalkade has become car-free. Nowadays you can enjoy the sound of the waves as the boats pass by from the quay. The terraces provide a peaceful view of this river. If you are in a somewhat favorable position, you immediately have a good view of the frequently used Waal Bridge. Various works of art have been installed along and on the Waalkade, such as Het Labyrinth, the Januskop and the Wachteres.
#3. Long Hezelstraat
The nicest and coziest street in Nijmegen is undoubtedly the Lange Hezelstraat. As the oldest shopping street in the Netherlands, it has earned that honor. In the fourteenth century, this bustling street in the center was still called ‘Hesestraet’. A reference to the nearby village of Hees. Some facades can be traced back to the fifteenth, sixteenth and seventeenth centuries. Most of them, however, were killed in the bombing raids of World War II. As a result, some parts of the Lange Hezelstraat look a lot more modern.
#4. The Valkhof Museum
The fact that Nijmegen was once the largest Roman city in the Netherlands is unknown to many people. You can find out all about it in the Museum Het Valkhof. All questions are answered through an extensive collection of ancient art, tapestries, ancient objects and a special library. In front of the entrance to Museum Het Valkhof in Nijmegen, there is a replica of the Roman Pillar of the Gods that was actually found here. It belonged to Emperor Tiberius. The Valkhof Museum is located on the edge of the Valkhof Park, on the Kelfkensbos.
#5. City Hall of Nijmegen
The old city hall of Nijmegen is located in a prominent place on the Burchtstraat. The architect Herman van Herengrave was appointed in 1554. A few centuries later, quite a few adjustments have been made and restorations have taken place. The statues on the facade are therefore replicas. The interior of the town hall shows some old details. Think of tapestries, a fireplace and wooden doors and frames. Today, the town hall is mainly used as a wedding venue.
#6. Grote or Sint-Stevenskerk
The oldest church in Nijmegen is the Grote or Sint-Stevenskerk. Because it was built on the slightly higher Hundisburg hill, it seems even larger than the actual 71 meters. The foundation stone of this church was probably laid as early as the thirteenth century. But over the centuries, some things have been adapted, renovated or restored. The worst damage was suffered during the bombings of World War II. It then took years before the church was refurbished. The Stevenskerk, as it is called by the inhabitants of Nijmegen, is still functional for various religious services. And admirers can also go there.
The MuZIEum experience museum is different from other museums. This museum has a mission. Through various exhibitions and activities, they try to introduce you to the life of visually impaired people. Here you can experience for yourself what it means to move without or with very poor visibility. But also matters such as optical illusions, the function of the brain in cooperation with the eye and the usefulness of your other senses are discussed. How do certain dishes taste, for example, without seeing what you eat?
#8. Hortus Nijmegen
The city of Nijmegen has had a botanical garden since 1970. Hortus Nijmegen was founded at the time by biologists from the Catholic University, including Jac. P. Thijsse. This Dutch writer and natural historian joined forces with conservationist Victor Westhoff and Professor Linskens. What once started with a collection of Alpine plants has grown into a full-fledged park in which you can enjoy a variety of vegetation, a pond with fish, marshland and heathland. In the tea garden you can not only enjoy a snack and/or a drink, but also regularly participate in various activities and workshops.
#9. Museum De Bastei
For decades you could visit the Nature Museum in Nijmegen, which was located in the former New Synagogue. More than half a year after that museum closed its doors, De Bastei opened on the Waalkade. This is a center for nature and cultural history. It was created after the merger with Museum De Stratemakerstoren. In De Bastei you can see exhibitions about the origin of the landscape and about the flora and fauna of the river area near the Waal. You can also see various archaeological finds here. They are mainly found here and in the vicinity.
#10. Kronenburger Park
You can consider the Kronenburgerpark as the city park of Nijmegen. The nineteenth century historic city park Kronenburgerpark used to be part of a stronghold. The old defense tower from the fifteenth century is a clear reference to this. The Kronenburgerpark see a sloping landscape, in which English styles have been applied. Winding paths lead you past ponds, fountains, a playground and even a waterfall. Over the years, some adjustments have been made to the Kronenburgerpark. The Powder Tower is a stable factor within the park. This wall tower has been here since 1426 and is also called Kronenburger tower. This immediately explains the name of the park.