A Day Trip to the Oldest City in the Netherlands: Nijmegen

When you think about cities to visit in the Netherlands you probably think of the big tourist ones like Amsterdam, Rotterdam, perhaps Delft or even Leiden.  As we live towards the middle of the country, and wanted to explore someplace new, we headed over to Nijmegen – the oldest city in the Netherlands. It has been around since the Roman times which is over 2000 years!

The drive wasn’t so long and we parked in the lot under the Holland Casino – so it was a great location to explore the city.  We first walked through the gates and down along the River Waal watching the cargo ships pass and then up the hill to the shopping streets.

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Before we did though there was a mini festival going on – about plastics and no longer using plastics – especial single-use plastic – something we can all get behind as much as possible.

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Either visit the VVV or download the city guide here for more information on the city including a map, etc.

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The city is also home to the first Catholic university in the Netherlands, the Radboud University Nijmegen, which was inaugurated in 1923 as the Catholic University of Nijmegen. The university hosts some 19.000 students across seven faculties, all located on an attractive, green campus on the former Heyendael estate.  With so many students, the nightlife in Nijmegen is pretty good!

The city of Nijmegen hosts several museums, the most famous of which is the Valkhof Museum. Situated on the site of an old Roman encampment and, many centuries later, the residence of Charlemagne, the museum houses a major collection of Roman antiquities, old masters, and modern art.  Unfortunately, we didn’t go in this time, but on a future trip we certainly will visit! 

In the summer there is a beach down by the river where you can go to escape the heat as this part of the country is one of the warmest!

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Nijmegen is also famed for it’s annual Four Day Marches, the largest marching event in the world. Thousands of people flock to the city and the surrounding area to take part in walks of 30, 40 and 50 kilometres over a four day period. The accompanying festivities, know as the Four Days parties, draw some one million visitors each year.

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We had a little walk around, through some of the streets, by the beautiful Stevenkerk,

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We, along with the entire city, stopped at the beautiful Grote Markt area for a beer in the sunshine before heading home.

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It’s definitely a nice city and we’ll surely be back to visit some of the museums and other interesting things in the city, and maybe do a little shopping (M saw Primark – cheapest shop ever!) and perhaps a walking tour with our smartphone – only available in Dutch!

Also something historically important is that it was bombed by the Americans by mistake! You can learn more about it by clicking the link from the Liberation Route site.

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