Regarded as Netherlands’ oldest City, Nijmegen is at least 2000 years old, and is to be found near where the Netherlands shares a border with Germany. Nijmegen is also a very strategic city, in terms of its location. In days gone by, its location, surrounded as it is by high hills, made it a vantage point from an ancient military/defensive point of view. It is therefore not surprising that the city seems to have started off as some sort of military camp for the Roman Soldiers who conquered most of Europe in the ‘Before Christ’ (BC) era.
Today, thanks to the fact that it is surrounded by those high hills, it makes for a perfect place to have a breathtaking view of, among other things, the Rhine Valley as well as the Waal. This city was also the birthplace of famous artists like the Limbourg Brothers. Nijmegen is also one of the cities that retained their defensive walls for very long, and it was not until the late 19th century that its walls went down, following the advancements in military science that made such walls obsolete. Each year, Nijmegen hosts a remarkable event, known as the four day march Nijmegen, which involves walking for long distances: up to 31 miles for each of the four days. All in all, Nijmegen is a beautiful city that, though historical, has also had its fair share of development, making it a city where historical relics seem to fight for space with modern edifices.
Getting around Nijmegen
To get around Nijmegen, you can take one of the local buses operated by a company known as Breng. You will notice that Nijmegen is made up of several neighborhoods, and a distinct city center. What the buses do, then, is connect the respective neighborhoods with the city center. Thanks to this arrangement, there is no part of Nijmegen that is not under the bus service, and the whole public transportation via bus arrangement seems to work flawlessly.
Another option for you to get around Nijmegen would be that of simply hiring a bike for the purpose. You will notice that there is an underground structure at the Central Station, and that is where they rent out bikes. So you can hire one of those, and use it to go round Nijmegen in a leisurely ride, taking in the city’s sights.
There are certain parts of Nijmegen that enjoy the services of commuter trains, and you could take those, though they don’t traverse the entire city.
You could also hire a car, and make an attempt at driving yourself round Nijmegen. You will discover, however, that Nijmegen is one of the cities that go to great lengths to discourage such (personal car) modes of transport. The parking fees, for instance, are designed to be deterrent: as they are so high. There are also traffic jams to tackle.
The old town area (where many of Nijmegen’s tourist attractions are found) is quite compact. This brings about the possibility of a visitor getting around that area on foot.
Things to see and do in Nijmegen
In the old town area of Nijmegen, you have a real chance to get a practical idea of what living in the Netherlands in the medieval times was like. Though much of the city’s historical heritage has been destroyed, you will still have a chance to see quite a bit at the Valkhof Museum: where the artifacts that tell the 2000 year story of Nijmegen are displayed.
From the Valkhof Hill, you should be able to see quite a bit of the world famous Rhine Valley as well as the Waal. Here, you can also see the old town hall: erected in the 1400s.
As you walk through the old town of Nijmegen, you will have a chance to encounter a Latin school from the medieval times. You will also encounter the ruins of an ancient imperial castle, a chapel from the middle ages known as the Carolingian Chapel, and the equally old St. Stevenskerk (Church).
While in Nijmegen, you can get a chance to shop at the impressive Grote Markt, or to enjoy a drink at Blauwe Hand, which turns out to be one of Netherlands’ oldest bars.