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.
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.
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.
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:
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:
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.
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.
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.
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.
Other options a little further away include Eindhoven (60 kilometres) and Düsseldorf (110 kilometres) airports.
Nijmegen can be reached most comfortably by train with frequent trains from Venlo (1 hour), 's Hertogenbosch (30 minutes), Arnhem (15 minutes) and Utrecht (1 hour). For more details check the National Railway website.
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.
Nijmegen is connected to the German cities (and railway stations) of Kleve and Emmerich by bus. This bus (58) usually runs once per hour, but it barely goes on Sunday.
The city bus company, Breng, connects every neighbourhood in Nijmegen to the city center. Breng runs buses into the suburbs as well as a few towns outside of the metropolitan area. Forget about using your car unless you're absolutely sure of your driving skills: the city can get extremely clogged up during rush-hour because 6 main roads end up at an infamous roundabout in the middle of the town. Beside this, parking is relatively expensive. Nijmegen is extremely bike-friendly, and the old downtown area is compact (every place in the downtown area can be reached within 20 minutes from the Central Station by foot) Commuter trains serve the neighbourhoods of Lent, Dukenburg and Heyendaal (the campus area), as well as the nearby town of Wijchen.
Being a student town (roughly 21,000 students in a population of 160,000) there are plenty of relatively cheap restaurants ("eetcafés") to be found. Look for them in the Van Welderenstraat and on Kelfkensbos. Fast Food is also widely available in the city center, with two McDonald's, a Burger King and numerous snackbars often offering traditional Dutch snacks, but also Turkish dishes.
If your budget allows it, there's also plenty of opportunity for luxury dining. Hoo Wah on Plein 1944 serves excellent Asian food (not to be confused with the stuff sold in normal Dutch "Chinese" restaurants). Het Savarijn in the Hertogstraat offers classy French food and is known for its extensive wine list while Heertjes in the Ridderstraat is the place locals go to when they want to indulge themselves. Het Lemke in the Lange Hezelstraat offers high quality French cuisine, though it might be a little bit too experimental for some. More up market dining can be found along the Waal river. From the casino, walk west past the terraces and into the old downtown. For up market dining near the university, Chalet Brakkenstein is well worth a visit. Finally, for more classic French style cuisine in a historic ambiance, try either Belvedere (the tower) or Het Poortwachtershuis (the small building west of the museum) west of the Valkhof park. (Please note that for the moment, the Belvedere is only open to groups with a reservation, due to a lack of cooking staff.). If you're into that sort of thing, in 2008 the Michelin guide has awarded a Bib Gourmand to Het Savarijn, Liberty's (on Kelfkensbos) and Vesters (Groesbeeksedwarsweg 307a). There are no restaurants in Nijmegen that have received Michelin stars.
Downtown Nijmegen and the neighbourhoods just next to it are positively swarming with pubs and cafés.
Nijmegen has many hotels, although budget options are remarkably limited. The opposite is true for high-end lodging. Finding a place to sleep during the summer festival and the four day's marches is absolutely impossible. Everything will be booked full months in advance. To give you an idea; during these days the population of Nijmegen swells from 160,000 to 1,800,000. It goes to the extent of people needing accommodation because they're walking the marches being taken into private people's homes and sleeping in sporting arena's. However, during the festival many trains and buses run around the clock, giving the opportunity to find a place to stay outside the city.
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.
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.
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.
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