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Nijmegen

Travel Guide Europe Netherlands Gelderland Nijmegen

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Introduction

The city of Nijmegen is located in the eastern part of the country, near the German border. Compared to other cities and places in the Netherlands it is located in a rather hilly part of the country near the shores of the Waal river in the province of Gelderland. It has about 160,000 inhabitants and therefore is one of the 10 biggest cities in the country. More important however is the fact that the city generally is considered to be the oldest one in the Netherlands and in 2005 the city celebrated its 2000 year anniversary.

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History

During the 2nd World War, Nijmegen was one of the cities in the country which was hit the hardest, with most buildings being destroyed and almost 1000 people killed mainly in the year of disaster 1944. During the war, the city was in the front-line so the city lay under fire for a long periods of time.

Nowadays, the atmosphere is much more pleasant and although many buildings were destroyed, there have been major restorations of the historic buildings in town. The city has been home to a university since 1923 and because of that the city has a relatively young population. There is good night life as well.

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Sights and Activities

The areas around the Grote Markt (big market), the Koningsplein (Kings Square) and the Waalkade are especially good places to enjoy a meal or have fun in the local pubs.

Museums

One of the nicest museums is the Valkhof Museum with one of the biggest collections of art and architecture during the Roman period, combined with a collection of modern and contemporary art. Other important museums include:

  • Velorama Museum, which is the national bicycle museum
  • Africa Museum
  • National Liberation Museum 1944-1945
  • The local nature museum, with displays of local geological history

Walking Tour

In the whole city you can experience pieces of Roman history and a walking tour is the best way of experience these ancient buildings and other historical significant signs. Other attractions in the city include:

  • Saint Steven's Church and Tower, dating back to 1254
  • Several fortification ruins, the most impressive one being the Kruittoren in the Kronenburgerpark
  • The city hall and the big market area.

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Events and Festivals

Nijmeegse Vierdaagse

Every year in July, the Four Days Marches is one of the biggest events in the country. You have to arrange tickets for joining months before, but if you can't or won't be able to arrange it in time, there are also lots of side events during the whole week in which the Four Days Marches are, known as the Four Days Festival. On the last day, the marchers are greeted by thousands on the St. Annastraat, or as it's known for one day, the Via Gladiola. For more information about tickets and events, check the Vierdaagse Nijmegen Website.

Koningsdag (King's Day)

In 2013, the Dutch throne was passed on to King Willem-Alexander and what used to be Koninginnedag (Queen's Day) will from 2014 become Koningsdag (King's Day). The date will be changed to the 27th of April, which is the king's birthday. In 2014 however it will be on the 26th of April because the 27th falls on a Sunday. On this day the streets of almost every sizable town in the country come alive with activity.

Carnaval

The (catholic) south of the Netherlands celebrates carnaval at the beginning of the year. (40 days before Easter). During the days of Carnaval, all the names of the cities and towns get another (a bit loony) name. The party starts at Saturday and ends the following Tuesday. It goes hand in hand with a lot of drinking and dressing up.

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Getting There

By Plane

Although Nijmegen doesn't have an airport, there is an international airport just across the border. Mostly low cost airlines use this airport and therefore destinations are limited. Check the Airport Weeze website for more details on destinations, schedules and fares.

By Train

Nijmegen can be reached most comfortably by train with frequent trains from Venlo (1 hour), 's Herogenbosch (30 mins), Arnhem (15 mins) and Utrecht (1 hour). For more details check the National Railway website.

By Car

You can reach Nijmegen easily by car along the national highway A15, if you are coming from the West. From the South you can reach it by driving along the A73, and from [Arnhem] (just to the North) you can take the A325/N325.

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Keep Connected

Internet

Internet cafés are not as widespread as you would expect, but you can easily find one in the popular cities. Most hostels, hotels and camp sites have several computers, so you can keep connected with folk at home. Here is a list of internet cafés that could come in handy for travellers. Otherwise, most libraries have lots of computers and prices are around the €2-3 per hour range, although sometimes it can be even more expensive.

Wireless internet access using wifi is becoming more popular and is usually available at most hotels and increasingly at train stations. Also in trains (at least in most first class wagons, but also more and more in second class) and some buses you can use wifi. Finally, places like McDonald's and Starbucks have free wifi, and smaller individual business like cafés and restaurants are on the rise too offering these services. More often than not, these service tend to be free of charge, though there might be a limited time you can use the internet.

Phone

See also: International Telephone Calls

The country code for the Netherlands is 31. The outbound international prefix is 00. The general emergency number is 112, like many other countries.
0800 numbers are toll-free and for 09xx numbers are charged at premium rates. Mobile phones have numbers in the 06 range, and calls to cell phones are also priced at higher rates.

From internet cafés, it is also usually possible to make long distance international calls. Like in other countries, telephone booths have almost disappeared, though some are still found around public transport stations, where you can use a few coins to make calls. It is only recommended for local calls.

The cellular phone network in the Netherlands is GSM 900/1800. The main providers of cell phone networks are KPN (Dutch only), T-mobile and Vodafone, who cover the whole country. Other operators, like Hollandsnieuwe, Simyo or Tele2, use one of these 3 networks basically.

It is best to buy a SIM card when in the Netherlands for use in your cellphone, as this usually works out cheaper than using the one from home. If you are planning to study or work in the country and stay for several months, buying a cellphone is the best option. A simple one, sometimes with €10 worth on it, can be bought from around €25. The simplest smartphones are around €75.

Post

The rate for sending a postcard or letter up to 20 grams within the Netherlands is €0.64 (2014). Since 2010 there are stamps available for domestic post which no longer include the value in €. Instead, there are stamps available with either a '1' or a '2' as a substitute for value. The '1' can be used for letters and postcards up to 20 grams, while 20-50 grams require you to use the '2'-valued stamps (or two '1'-valued stamps of course).

Sending items to other EU countries and the rest of the world (there is one price since 2014) will cost €1.05. Stamps are sold at post offices, supermarkets and smaller shops/kiosks; often the place where you buy your postcards can also supply you with stamps.

Sending parcels abroad is more costly. A standard-sized parcel between up to 2 kilograms will cost you €9 for destinations within the EU and €18 (both without Track & Trace) to the rest of the world. Prices with Track & Trace start at €13 and €24.30 respectively. Parcel service is available from major post offices only; standard-size boxes are on sale there as well. For sending parcels, it might be just as competitive and fast to use a company like TNT, UPS or DHL.

If you need to receive mail while moving around, you can have it sent poste restante (to be called for) to a post office of your choice, where it will be kept for a month. If you come to claim it, bring a valid ID, and make sure to have told the sender that the name on the envelope must be an exact match with that in your passport. For addresses of post offices, as well as more information, consult the TNT website.

Quick Facts

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Population
161.251
Coordinates
  • Latitude: 51.841684
  • Longitude: 5.858685

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This is version 17. Last edited at 8:54 on Feb 4, 14 by Utrecht. 14 articles link to this page.

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