—  Municipality  —
A view over Nijmegen
A view over Nijmegen
Flag of Arnhem
Coat of arms of Arnhem
Coat of arms
Coordinates: 51°49′30″N 5°51′20″E / 51.825°N 5.85556°E / 51.825; 5.85556Coordinates: 51°49′30″N 5°51′20″E / 51.825°N 5.85556°E / 51.825; 5.85556
Country Netherlands
Province Gelderland
Ulpia Noviomagnus Batavorum 98–102
Founder Trajanus
 – Mayor Th.C. de Graaf (D66)
 – Aldermen P.F.G. Depla
J.A.C. van Hooft sr.
H.T.M. Scholten
J.G. Kunst
J. van der Meer
 – Secretary P. Eringa
 – Municipality 57.53 km2 (22.21 sq mi)
 – Land 53.59 km2 (20.69 sq mi)
 – Water 3.94 km2 (1.52 sq mi)  6.8%
Elevation 7–88 m (24–288 ft)
Population (4 January 2011)
 – Municipality 164,272
 – Density 3,043/km2 (7,884/sq mi)
 – Urban 280,079
 – Metro 736,107
  Source: Gemeente Nijmegen, [1]
Time zone CET (UTC+1)
 – Summer (DST) CEST (UTC+2)
Postal codes 6500–6547, 6663, 6679, 6683
Area code(s) 024 / 0481

Nijmegen (Dutch pronunciation: [ˈnɛiˌmeːɣə(n)] ( listen))[1] is a municipality and a city in the east of the Netherlands, near the German border. It is considered to be the oldest city in the Netherlands and celebrated its 2000th year of existence in 2005. The municipality is part of the "Stadsregio Arnhem-Nijmegen", a metropolitan area with 736,107 inhabitants (January 2011).


The city of Nijmegen

View of Burchtstraat in Nijmegen as seen from Stevenskerk.
Nijmegen Benedenstad


The first mention of Nijmegen in history is in the 1st century BCE, when the Romans built a military camp on the place where Nijmegen was to appear; the location had great strategic value because of the surrounding hills, which gave (and continues to give) a good view over the Waal and Rhine valley.

By 69, when the Batavians, the original inhabitants of the Rhine and Maas delta, revolted, a village called Oppidum Batavorum had formed near the Roman camp. This village was destroyed in the revolt, but when the revolt had ended the Romans built another, bigger camp where the Legio X Gemina was stationed. Soon after, another village formed around this camp.

In 98 Nijmegen was the first of two settlements in what is now the Kingdom of the Netherlands to receive Roman city rights.[2]

In 103 the X Gemina was restationed to Vienna, which may have been a major blow to the economy of the village around the camp. In 104 Emperor Trajan renamed the town, which now became known as Ulpia Noviomagus Batavorum, Noviomagus for short (the origin of the current name Nijmegen).

In the 4th century, Roman power decreased and Nijmegen became part of the Frankish kingdom. It has been contended that in the 8th century Emperor Charlemagne maintained his palatium in Nijmegen on at least four occasions. During his brief deposition of 830, the emperor Louis the Pious was sent to Nijmegen by his son Lothar I. Thanks to the Waal river, trade flourished.

The powerful Henry VI, Holy Roman Emperor was born at Nijmegen in 1165. In 1230 his son Frederick II, Holy Roman Emperor granted Nijmegen city rights. In 1247, the city was ceded to the count of Guelders as collateral for a loan. The loan was never repaid, and Nijmegen has been a part of Gelderland ever since. This did not hamper trade; Nijmegen even became part of the Hanseatic League in 1364.

The arts also flourished in this period. Famous medieval painters like the Limbourg brothers were born and educated in Nijmegen.

During the Dutch Revolt, trade came to a halt and even though Nijmegen became a part of the Republic of United Provinces in 1585, it remained a border town and had to endure multiple sieges.

The Waal near Nijmegen, 1641.

In 1678 Nijmegen was host to the negotiations between the European powers that aimed to put an end to the constant warfare that had ravaged the continent for years. The result was the Treaty of Nijmegen that, unfortunately, failed to provide for a lasting peace.

In the second half of the 19th century, the fortifications around the city became a major problem. There were too many inhabitants inside the walls, but the fortifications could not be demolished because Nijmegen was deemed as being of vital importance to the defence of the Netherlands. When events in the Franco-Prussian war proved that old-fashioned fortifications were no more of use, this policy was changed and the fortifications were dismantled in 1874. The old castle had already been demolished in 1797, so that its bricks could be sold.

Through the second half of the 19th century and the first half of the 20th century, Nijmegen grew steadily. The Waal was bridged in 1878 by a rail bridge and in 1936 by a car bridge, which was claimed to be Europe's biggest bridge at the time. In 1923 the current Radboud University Nijmegen was founded and in 1927 a channel was dug between the Waal and Maas rivers.

In 1940, the Netherlands were invaded by Germany with Nijmegen being the first Dutch city to fall into German hands. On February 22, 1944, Nijmegen was heavily bombed by American planes, causing great damage to the city centre. The American pilots thought they were bombing the German city of Kleve. Alleged by the Germans to have been a deliberate act, the NIOD announced in January 2005 that its study of the incident confirmed that it was an accident caused by poor communications and chaos in the airspace. Over 750 people died in the incident.

During September 1944, the city saw heavy fighting during Operation Market Garden. The objective in Nijmegen was mainly to prevent the Germans from destroying the bridges. Capturing the road bridge allowed the British Army XXX Corps to attempt to reach the 1st British Airborne Division in Arnhem. The bridge was heavily defended by over 300 German troops on both the north and south sides with close to 20 anti-tank guns and two anti-aircraft guns, supported with artillery.

The Germans' late attempt to blow the road bridge was probably foiled by a local Dutch resistance hero, Jan van Hoof, who is said to have cut the wires to the bridge.

The Germans made repeated attacks on the bridge using bombs attached to driftwood, midget submarines and later resorted to shelling the bridge with 88mm barrages. Troops were positioned on the bridge giving an excellent arc of fire in case of attack. Troops that couldn't fit onto the bridge were positioned in a bombed out house slightly upstream of the bridge. During the shelling, the house was hit, killing six soldiers and wounding one more.

Nijmegen was liberated from German captivity by the British Grenadier Guards of the Guards Armoured Division, as well as elements of the American 82nd Airborne Division in September 1944. This city would later be used as a springboard for Operation Veritable, the invasion across the Rhine River by Allied Troops.

More recently, on February 23, 1981, the Nijmegen Police Department and the Dutch Army stormed the Piersonstraat and Zeigelhof, a squatted housing block in the city centre of Nijmegen. Using two hundred riot vans, three Leopard MBTs, three armoured personnel carriers, a helicopter, twelve hundred policemen, and seven hundred fifty members of the armed forces, they evicted the squatters and demolished the block, while clouding the entire area in teargas and CS gas. This had an enormous backlash in local politics. While the city government wanted the squatters out to build a parking garage, most of the population wanted affordable housing to be built in the area.

As of this date, Nijmegen is still known as Havana on the Waal among some Right-wingers. The Socialist Party, the Green Party and Labour have a solid two-third majority in City Council, making Nijmegen the only major city in the Netherlands with a solely Left-wing government. The current mayor is Thom de Graaf.

Nijmegen celebrated its 2000th year of existence in 2005. It is considered the oldest city in the Netherlands. In gaining this qualification, it has competed with the city of Maastricht.

In November 2005, the city centre of Nijmegen was the site of the assassination of political activist Louis Sévèke by a former activist (Marcel T.). Marcel T. was arrested in 2007 in Spain and extradited to the Netherlands. Marcel T. was also accused of bank robbery. Marcel T. committed his acts out of revenge for a forcible eviction from the squatter scene by Louis Sévèke.

The Waalbrug, The Snelbinder and the Nijmegen railway bridge
View of Nijmegen at night, seen from the Veerdam in Lent

Canon of Nijmegen

Read more about the history of Nijmegen in the Canon of Nijmegen, a concise history of Nijmegen. [2] There are also translations available in French, German and Italian. [3] [4] [5]

Historical remains

Few Roman remains are visible today; a fragment of the old city wall can be seen near the casino and the foundations of the amphitheatre are traced in the paving of the present-day Rembrandtstraat. The Valkhof museum, on the Valkhof, has a permanent display of the history of Nijmegen, including artifacts from the Roman era. Additionally, they usually have temporary exhibitions of more and less famous artists. Unfortunately not a whole lot of very old buildings are left in town: first the Americans carpet bombed it in February 1944, later the Germans shelled it for about five months after the liberation in September 1944, and finally there were a lot of very rigorous city planners in the 1950s, 60's and 70's who finished what the Americans and Germans started.

There are still a few noteworthy sights, however. Valkhof hill downtown features a Carolingian chapel (eight, ninth century AD) and a small remainder of an imperial castle that was demolished in 1798. From Valkhof hill walk west through the Burchtstraat. Here you will see, on your left hand, the fifteenth century town hall. If you've finished admiring its exterior (there's nothing of note inside) continue walking west to the Grote Markt (Great Market) on the north side is a sixteenth-century weighing hall that now serves as a restaurant. On the west side you will see the entrance to the St. Stevenskerk courtyard. On the left is a fifteenth-century Latin school. On the right stands the thirteenth century St. Stevenskerk, the interior of which was destroyed during the Dutch revolution of the sixteenth century. To the north of the church is a series of small seventeenth-century houses that now serve as trinket shops


Nijmegen is one of the warmest cities of the Netherlands, especially during summer, when the highest temperatures in the country are usually measured in the triangle Roermond – Nijmegen – Eindhoven. The lack of north-south oriented mountain ranges in Europe make this area prone to sudden shifts in weather, giving the region a semi-continental climate.

Some of the northernmost wineries in the world are found just outside of Nijmegen, around Groesbeek, a suburban village south-east of Nijmegen.

During the 2006 European heat wave, Kalkar reached a high of 38.6°C (101.5°F) on July 19, and a Weather Underground station in Nijmegen-Dukenburg reached a high of 38.7°C (101.7°F), which, if accepted by the KNMI, would have been a record high for the Netherlands. The KNMI does not consider data from stations operated by others, however. The heat wave coincided with that year's Four Day Marches, which were cancelled after the first day, when two people died of hyperthermia-related causes. Temperatures on that day, the 18th of July, reached around 36°C (97°F).

On the night of January 6, 2009, an all-time record low of −17.5°C was reached at Weeze airport, and many other stations around Nijmegen reached record or near-record low temperatures, as low as −21°C (−5°F) at some places. Raeren in Belgium recorded −25.9°C (−15°F), making this cold spell the coldest in at least 60 years.

Nijmegen is in USDA Hardiness zone 8 and AHS Heat zone 3.

Climate data for Nijmegen, Netherlands (1971–2008)
Month Jan Feb Mar Apr May Jun Jul Aug Sep Oct Nov Dec Year
Record high °C (°F) 17.4
Average high °C (°F) 7.3
Daily mean °C (°F) 3.4
Average low °C (°F) 0.8
Record low °C (°F) −17.5
Precipitation mm (inches) 55
Sunshine hours 65 89 123 174 220 199 208 190 142 119 67 55 1,651
Source: (Klimaatatlas van Nederland, normaalperiode 1971–2000, ISBN 90389 1191 2 KNMI[3] DWD[4]


Nijmegen is host to Radboud University Nijmegen. Founded in 1923 as the first Catholic university in the Netherlands. It used to be called (Catholic) University of Nijmegen until 2004, when it took its current name. As of 2006 it had 17,627 students 4,336 staff. Radboud University runs the High Field Magnetic Laboratory which is able to achieve some of the highest fields available in Europe at 33 teslas (continuous) and 60 teslas (pulsed). The facility is available to outside users, primarily for research purposes.

The education and social work departments of the Hogeschool van Arnhem en Nijmegen school for higher level vocational training are also located in Nijmegen, as are that school's medical departments.

In addition to these institutions, there is also an intermediate level vocational school (ROC Nijmegen) and a number of secondary schools: Groenschool Nijmegen, Kandinsky College, Nijmeegse Scholengemeenschap Groenewoud (NSG), Citadel College, Stedelijke Scholengemeenschap Nijmegen (SSGN), Canisius College, St. Jorisschool, Lindenholt College, the Stedelijk Gymnasium (formally the "Latijnse school", founded in the 16th century), the Karel de Grote College, Montessori College and the Dominicus College. Of note is also Leefwerkschool Eigenwijs, which caters to students from all over the Netherlands who have been repeatedly expelled from "regular" high schools. Leefwerkschool Eigenwijs has its roots in the local activist movement of the early 1980s and is the only school of its kind recognised in the Netherlands.

Nijmegen is also an important centre of Psycholinguistics, home to the Max Planck Institute of Psycholinguistics and the Donders Institute for Brain, Cognition and Behaviour.

The Nobel Prize for Physics in 2010 awarded to Andre Geim and Konstantin Novoselov while at Radboud University "for groundbreaking experiments regarding the two-dimensional material graphene."


Nijmegen has four train stations: Nijmegen, Nijmegen Dukenburg, Nijmegen Heyendaal and Nijmegen Lent. The central station is connected to the national Intercity network. The bus company Breng (a subsidiary of Connexxion) operates the city buses in the Arnhem-Nijmegen metropolitan area.

Museums in and around Nijmegen

  • Africa Museum (African art and culture)
  • Museum Park Orientalis (ancient middle eastern buildings)
  • Valkhof museum (Roman and mediaeval history and modern art)
  • Velorama (bicycle museum)
  • Bevrijdingsmuseum (about World War II and the airlandings at Nijmegen)
  • House of the History of Nijmegen information centre about the history of Nijmegen; free entrance; expositions about a theme of the town's history; touch screen which leads you to the 50 highlights of the towns'history: 'Canon of Nijmegen'; reading table. The House of the Nijmegen History is situated in a unique mediaeval chapel 'de Mariënburgkapel'; its mission is to let enjoy people of the history of the town and to be a guide for everybody who wants to visit the oldest city of the Netherlands. There is also a digital House NijmegenWiki)

International Four Day March Nijmegen

Participants at the last day of the 1997 Four Day Marches

Nijmegen is famous for the International Four Day March Nijmegen (Dutch: Internationale Vierdaagse Afstandsmarsen Nijmegen, informally Nijmeegse Vierdaagse), an annual event starting on the third Tuesday in July, comprising four days of walking (distances ranging from 30 to 50 km a day), and the accompanying festivities (the Vierdaagsefeesten including rock festival de-Affaire), which have been drawing the largest crowds for any Dutch event in the past few years.

The event invites WWII allied veterans to help celebrate their participation in the liberation of the Netherlands from German occupation. Participants from Britain, Canada, the USA, Australia and New Zealand have attended the event. Nowadays, the event is international, inviting teams from all countries to attention.

During the Vierdaagse of 2006 two people died due to the extreme hot weather (note that the deceased had other health issues that added up to the death cause). It caused the organisation to cancel the rest of the walk. This resulted in extra safety measures during the 2007 Vierdaagse; for instance, a professional weatherman was added to the organisation staff, more free water refill stations were added along the route and an extensive research program was developed to monitor the effects of hiking long distances on the human body.


St. Stephen's Church (restored after WWII)

In 1968 prominent liberal theologians in the Roman Catholic Church issued what is now known as the Nijmegen Statement, demanding sweeping reforms in the Vatican's Holy Office, previously known as The Inquisition, and calling for greater scope for theological inquiry. Among its signatories was the then progressive theologian Fr. Joseph Ratzinger, then a member of the faculty at the University of Tübingen but later a much more conservative figure as the head of the successor to the Holy Office, the Congregation for the Doctrine of the Faith, and later still Pope Benedict XVI.

The Nijmegen Statement said: "Any form of Inquisition however subtle, not only harms the development of sound theology, it also causes irreparable damage to the credibility of the church". The signatories, a group of predominantly German-speaking theologians asserted that "the freedom of theologians, and theology in the service of the church, regained by Vatican II, must not be jeopardized again." The signatories pledged their loyalty to the pope, but argued that the teaching office of pope and bishops "cannot and must not supersede, hamper and impede the teaching task of theologians as scholars."

There are several English spoken Religious meetings in Nijmegen. See the external link for a list of Church services in English (link from the official site is obsolete and not being updated for long).

Population centres

The municipality is formed by the city of Nijmegen, incorporating the former villages of Hatert, Hees and Neerbosch, as well as the urban expansion project of Waalsprong, situated north of the river Waal and including the village of Lent and the hamlet of 't Zand, as well as the new suburbs of Nijmegen-Oosterhout and Nijmegen-Ressen.


Council seats 2010-2014
Party seats change from 2006
GroenLinks (Greens) 8 +2
PvdA (Labor) 8 -3
D66 (Liberal Democrats) 6 +4
SP (Socialists) 5 -2
VVD (Liberals) 4 -
CDA (Christian-Democrats) 3 -2
VSP 2 +1
Gewoon Nijmegen 2 +1
Nijmegen Nu 1 -
Stadspartij 0 -1

The city council has 39 seats. After the 2002 municipal elections, the three major parties, GroenLinks (9 seats), PvdA (8 seats) and SP (6 seats) formed a coalition. Because these are all left-wing parties, Nijmegen received the nickname 'Havana on the Waal'. Although such majorities are no exception (compare Amsterdam) and sometimes also form coalitions (see Muntendam), this is unusual for a city this size. Since such a left-wing coalition might be possible at a national level after the 2006 general election, the achievements of this council are often scrutinised. After the 2006 municipal election such a coalition became possible in many more municipalities, making the example even more interesting.

The municipal elections of 7 March 2006 saw an increase of 4,6% of the votes for these three parties taken together, which could be seen as increased support for the coalition. However, nationally these parties scored much better, recovering from an electoral blow of the 2002 elections. Then again, the Leefbaar parties that caused the loss then and lost most of their votes this time have no branch in Nijmegen, which makes this comparison less valid. Among the three big parties, there was a shift from GroenLinks, who lost 6.5%, to PvdA, who won 6.4% and SP, who won 2.3%. As a result it is no longer the biggest party. The seat assignment is now as shown in the table. The three-party coalition was returned to office.

After the 2010 Dutch municipal election, the PvdA lost three of its eleven seats. Short before the elections, there were problems with the SP. Therefore, GroenLinks and the PvdA formed a coalition with the social-liberal D66.


Stadion de Goffert

Sport in the city is principally focussed on its football club N.E.C. Nijmegen or just NEC, short for Nijmegen Eendracht Combinatie, who play at the 12,500 seat McDOS Goffertstadion. The club is in the top division, the Eredivisie, and qualified for the 2008-9 UEFA Cup.

Bandy Vereniging Nijmegen is the biggest bandy club in the country.

The city is also home to one of the country's oldest cricket clubs, Quick 1888, a current member of the KNCB. Formed in 1888, the club is the largest cricket club in the east of the country and was formed 13 years after the first club, Utile Dulci from Deventer. Moreover the Nijmegen Devils, is an Ice hockey club from Nijmegen.

Natives and residents

See also People from Nijmegen
House in the lower part of Nijmegen, the so-called Benedenstad.
St Stephen's, Nijmegen.



International relations

Twin towns — sister cities

Nijmegen is twinned with:


  1. ^ obsolete spellings: Nijmwegen, Nymegen, Nieumeghen — Nimwegen in local dialect and in German, Nimègue in French, Nimega in Spanish and Italian
  2. ^ "Nijmegen oldest city". 
  3. ^
  4. ^

External links

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Look at other dictionaries:

  • Nijmegen — (spr. nei ), Stadt, s. Nimwegen …   Meyers Großes Konversations-Lexikon

  • Nijmegen — (spr. neim ), Stadt, s. Nimwegen …   Kleines Konversations-Lexikon

  • Nijmegen —   [ nɛi̯meːxə], Stadt in den Niederlanden, Nimwegen.   …   Universal-Lexikon

  • Nijmegen — → Nimega …   Diccionario panhispánico de dudas

  • Nijmegen — [nī′mā΄gən; ] Du [ nī′mā΄khən] city in the E Netherlands, on the Waal River: pop. 147,000 …   English World dictionary

  • Nijmegen — Gemeinde Nijmegen Flagge Wappen Provinz Gelderland Bürgermeister …   Deutsch Wikipedia

  • Nijmegen — /nuy may geuhn/; Du. /nuy may kheuhn, kheuh/, n. a city in the E Netherlands, on the Waal River: peace treaty 1678. 221,684. German, Nimwegen. Formerly, Nymwegen. * * * ▪ The Netherlands German  Nimwegen        gemeente (municipality), eastern… …   Universalium

  • Nijmegen —    City in the province of Gelderland. Traces of Roman settlement of the first century B.C. have been found there. After the revolt of Gaius Julius Civilis, in A.D. 70 the Romans built a fortifi cation on the boundary of the empire. Later, about… …   Historical Dictionary of the Netherlands

  • Nijmegen — Nimègue Nimègue …   Wikipédia en Français

  • Nijmegen — Original name in latin Nijmegen Name in other language Gemeen Nimwaege, Gorad Najmegen, Naimechen, Najmegen, Neimegena, Neimegenas, Nejmegen, Neymeyxen, Nijmegen, Nijmeyen, Nimega, Nimegen, Nimegue, Nimwege, Nimwegen, Nimgue, Nymegen, Nymwegen,… …   Cities with a population over 1000 database

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