Nijmegen  is a large city in the southeast of the Netherlands, population 170,000 (city proper, January 2015). It's the largest city in Gelderland, and in the Arnhem-Nijmegen metropolitan area (pop. 725,000). Nijmegen is well-known for its left-wing politics, its prominent Old Town, and its large student population.
Despite a long and turbulent history, spanning over 2000 years, the historic center of Nijmegen is relatively compact. It was not before the late 19th century when the city walls and fortifications (parts of which have been preserved in parks) were allowed to be dismantled, and for the first time in about 400 years the city could expand. This 19th century expansion (now a protected area) is a comprehensively designed, relatively vast urban area, which lies as a belt around the old town. It was specifically planned as an attractive place to live, with parks, broad streets and an impressive boulevard just outside the trajectory of the former city walls. In stark contrast, by then the old town was still cramped and densily populated. After the building of the iconical bridge spanning the river Waal in 1936, specifically the Lower Town got into economic decline in favor of the higher part of the centre.
During the final years of the second World War, a great part of the city center (but not the Lower Town) was destroyed by allied bombing and fire-raising. The post-war rebuilding effort from the 1950's can be regarded as a compromise between the traditional and the modernistic approach to cityplanning, retaining the essence of the historic street pattern (albeit with added squares and broader streets to cater to the expected rise in automobility) but using a modern architectural language. For travellers used to more intact historic cities, this rebuilt historic center might appear bland and uninspired, but on closer look you'll see a great attention to architectural detail, visible in subtle variations in brickwork, carefully designed ornaments and balconies. In the years 1993-2014 two prominent squares (Mariënburg and Plein 1944) that were part of the 1950's rebuilding, and that were generally considered too large and devoid of city life, were succesfully redeveloped by the renowned architects Soeters and Van Eldonk.
Due to the economic necessity of firstly rebuilding the commercial city center after the destruction in 1944/45, the situation in the already derelict Lower Town had become even worse in the course of the 1950's and 1960's, leading eventually to a demolition campaign spanning almost 20 years. The original plan was, to create vast grasslands with scattered residential towers and some isolated historic monuments, replacing the dense urban structure that had existed for over a thousand years. From the 1970's onwards, however, the ideas about city renewal gradually changed. The original plans for the Lower Town were now discarded in favor of a (simplified) reconstruction of the historic street plan, with 4-story apartment buildings replacing the demolished houses. With lots of stairs, sloping streets and split-level buildings, this 1980's redevelopment fits in nicely with the remaining historic structures, and eventually created a modern and attractive residential area, whilst retaining some of the historic atmosphere of this part of town.
Although one might argue, that a lot of historic charm got lost during the war and the subsequent vigorous efforts in city renewal of the 20th century, Nijmegen can now be enjoyed as both an historic city (with plenty of remaining old buildings to reflect its past) and a vibrant, lively modern city as well.
Nijmegen has a semi-continental climate, and it's usually together with Venlo and Eindhoven the warmest city of the Netherlands during summer.
Airport Weeze (IATA: NRN), , located 45 km southeast of town just across the border with germany, between the villages of Weeze (Germany) and Nieuw-Bergen (Netherlands) (the airport itself is in germany). Although both Ryanair (the biggest airline serving the airport) and the airport itself advertise with Düsseldorf-Weeze, Düsseldorf proper is actually not anywhere near the airport. The city of Düsseldorf is located 60 miles to the southeast of the airport, making Nijmegen the only major city close to the airport. Weeze serves over 50 destinations across Europe, Northern Africa and Western Asia.
The only form of public transportation nonstop to Nijmegen is a taxivan you have to reserve in advance and will set you back €18 euro one-way. For timetabling see  or call +49 (0) 28 37 66 55 55. Quick tip: If your plane lands shortly before the bus is scheduled to leave give them a quick call on the tarmac and they will wait for you.
For the more adventurous traveller, it's possible to get to Nijmegen by city bus to the Weeze railway station, then take a train into Kleve, where you can get a bus into Nijmegen. This will take about 75 minutes and costs €5.90-7.60 (one-way).
Another option is to just hitch. There's a major freeway not far from the airport, connecting Düsseldorf with Nijmegen. This can take as little as 30-45 minutes if you're lucky, and 4-6 hours if you're not.
Eindhoven Airport (IATA: EIN), . Located 60 kilometres (35 miles) to the southwest of Nijmegen. From the airport you take bus 401 (with stops in between) or 400 (non-stop) to Eindhoven Central Station and then a train to 's Hertogenbosch (which is the same as Den Bosch). In 's Hertogenbosch, change trains and take the train to Nijmegen. This journey will take you approximately 90 minutes by public transportation. When driving yourself, take the A326 feeder motorway to the A50, (Zwolle-Eindhoven) which skirts the west of the metropolitan area to the Eindhoven ring road (A58/A2) Airport exit is exit 29 on the A2.
Flughafen Düsseldorf (IATA: DUS), . Located 110 kilometres (65 miles) southeast. About one-third the size of Amsterdam-Schiphol, but with plenty of international connections, including to the USA, and gets served by all the major airlines in Europe. Although it doesn't get nearly as many flights as Amsterdam does, it's cheaper, doesn't have nearly as many congestion problems, and generally much less hassle at the airport itself. Major inconvienience here is the lack of a good public transportation link to the Nijmegen area; you either need to take bus 58 to Kleve, and change there for a regional train to Düsseldorf Hbf, where you can take S1 to Flughafen terminal or take the train to Venlo, and change there for Düsseldorf Hbf. Both options take about 2,5-3 hours one way, since it'll be taking commuter trains all the way. When driving there this airport should be the obvious choice though. A73 to Knooppunt Rijkevoort, then follow the signs to the A77 which changes to A57 when it passes the German line. By Kreuz Meerbusch take motorway A44 to exit 31 which is right by the terminal. Expect a 75-minute drive, although it can be done in 50-55 minutes if there's little traffic, due to the fact that 2/3rds of the route is on the German Autobahn.
Amsterdam-Schiphol airport (IATA: AMS), . The largest airport in the Netherlands, and the fifth largest in Europe. 135 km (85 miles) to the northwest. Train takes about an hour and a half, and will cost €19.10,- one way. You no longer have to change trains for Nijmegen, there are direct trains to and from Schiphol twice an hour on weekdays, although if you miss one you can catch a train to Utrecht 15 minutes later and change there. Schiphol airport gets served by most major carriers, and has in excess of 100 flights to the United States alone per day. When driving; A73 to Knooppunt Ewijk, A50 to Knooppunt Valburg, A15 westbound to Knooppunt Deil, A2 northbound to Knooppunt Holendrecht, A9 westbound to Knooppunt Badhoevedorp, and finally A4 southbound to exit 2, Schiphol airport. Expect this to take anywhere from 75 minutes to over three hours, depending on traffic. the route will take you through both the Utrecht and the Amsterdam metropolitan areas, both infamous for their traffic jams.
The Dutch Railways,  (Nederlandse Spoorwegen, NS) serve Nijmegen from all parts of the Netherlands non-stop. There are 4 trains an hour to Utrecht, 2 of which continue to Amsterdam and Den Helder. At Utrecht, you can change on trains to Schiphol Airport or Rotterdam and The Hague. 4 trains per hour depart for Zutphen of which 2 continue to Deventer and Zwolle (with connections to Leeuwarden and Groningen in Zwolle). Furthermore, 2 trains per hour connect to Tilburg-Breda-Roosendaal (with connections in Breda to Rotterdam/The Hague, and in Roosendaal to Antwerp/Brussels).
The neighboring cities of Arnhem and 's-Hertogenbosch are served by commuter trains: 4 trains per hour leave for 's-Hertogenbosch and 6 trains per hour for Arnhem. On this last connection, there are up to 10 trains per hour between Nijmegen and Arnhem during rush hour. The full adult fare on this line is €4.10 one way or €8.20 return, as of April 2015.
Veolia Limburg  runs 4 commuter trains an hour to Nijmegen Heyendaal,Molenhoek (nearby Malden), the town of Cuijk and further to Venray. Two of these trains continue all the way to Roermond.
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 A73 connects Nijmegen with Venlo, the A77/A57 leads to the German Rhineland. The A15 runs between Nijmegen and Rotterdam and the A50 (Eindhoven-Zwolle) skims the western edge of the metropolitan area. There are many feeder highways connecting these freeways to the city. From Amsterdam one would take the A2 southbound to intersection (knooppunt) Deil, and take the A15 eastbound to Nijmegen from there. Avoid visiting the city by car during the Four Days Walking March, as roads tend to be blocked and circulation is even worse than normal. Also, you may find almost no available parking anywhere near the center of the city.
Nijmegen is probably one of the easiest places in the Netherlands to hitch from. The best spot is just south of the Waal Bridge, on the northbound lane leading to the bridge. You will see a sign saying 'liftershalte' here. This means it's an official hitching spot. Usually it takes anywhere from 1-30 minutes to get a ride.
Nijmegen has exceptionally good cycle links. The RijnWaalpad is a cycle high way connecting Nijmegen and Arnhem. There are also two Dutch national cycle routes that come through Nijmegen: the LF12 and the LF3-3. In Millingen the LF3-3 connects with the Rhine Cycle Route (EuroVelo 15), giving Nijmegen a good cycle connection with Germany, France and Switzerland.
The regional bus company Breng connect almost every neighbourhood in Nijmegen to the city center. Hermes run 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 the infamous 'Keizer Karelplein'-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. You can rent bicycles at the underground bike storage facility beneath the Central Station.
Nijmegen is the oldest city in the Netherlands, celebrating her 2000th birthday in 2005. The Valkhof Museum, at the Kelfkensbos square (near the Valkhof), has a permanent display of the history of Nijmegen, including artifacts from the Roman era. The museum also houses an extensive collection of modern art, and 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 5 months after the liberation in September 1944, and finally there were a lot of very rigorous city planners in the 1950's, 60's and 70's who finished what the Americans and Germans started.
There's still a few noteworthy sights, however. Valkhof hill downtown features a Carolingian chapel (eight, ninth century AD) and a small remainder of the Ottonian 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, as only the outer walls survived the war) continue walking west to the Grote Markt (Great Market) on the north side is a sixteenth-century weighing hall ('waag') that now serves as a restaurant. To the left of the Waag you'll find 'In de Blaauwe Hand', the oldest bar in a town that boasts more pubs per square feet than any other town in the Netherlands. Just behind the Waag-building, at the end of a small park, you can admire the Commanderie van Sint Jan, originally a monastery for the Order of the Knights of Saint John, but now in use as a microbrewery and restaurant.
On the west side of the Grote Markt you will see the entrance to the St. Stevenskerk courtyard. Enter it. 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, reconstructed, seventeenth-century houses that now serve as trinket shops.
Following the street westwards, you'll go downhill and end up in the Lange Hezelstraat. This street is sometimes considered to be the oldest shopping street in the country, as it once linked two Roman settlements. The smaller streets to the north of the Hezelstraat link the city to the river, and though most of the Lower Town was rebuilt in the 1980's, here you'll find some wunderfully preserved streets and houses. At the end of the Lange Hezelstraat, you get a chance to turn left into the Kronenburgerpark. This park was constructed in the late 19th century, and in its romantic landscape some of the medieval wall and its defensive towers are preserved. Don't be fooled by the pond, though: the city was built on a hill, and the river and the groundwater level are so low, that the city only had dry moats to defend itself.
Do not miss the opportunity to visit Nationaal Fietsmuseum Velorama () - for the €5 yo get a chance to view a quite incredible collection of bikes and other bike-like muscle-powered vehicles, with some really unusual and extraordinary examples.
Nijmegen is known for the abundance of left-wing political activist organizations, including many student organizations. It is a major stronghold of the Dutch socialist and 'green' parties. For those in the leftist political spectrum, a visit to Nijmegen could bring about interesting contacts.
Each Monday, there is a weekly market in the centre of Nijmegen, mainly located on the "Grote Markt". The stall keepers can give you much more personal advice than you will get in an average shop. The wide range of stalls sell a wide range of products, not necessarily locally made, but the marketplace is definitely worth strolling over. For eating,try a 'superwafel' at the 'stroopwafel' stall, those are really good!
Being a student town (roughly 21,000 students in a population of 170,000) there's plenty of relatively cheap restaurants ("eetcafés") to be found. Look for them near the Van Welderenstraat and on Kelfkensbos. Almost all restaurants have several vegetarian dishes. Vegan options are less common, but you'll find that on friendly request the kitchen staff will try their best to accomodate to your wishes. 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.
The pizza fan is also well-catered for by a wide range of restaurants. Many though, are specialized in take-away/delivery, and don't offer a very nice eating experience. However, if you like to sit down for a pizza, there are still some nice options. Generally, all pizzas in the restaurants below are under € 10. Most of the establishments also offer other italian dishes.
If your budget allows it, there's also plenty of opportunity for luxury dining. Het Savarijn in the Van der Brugghenstraat 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 neighborhoods just next to it are positively swarming with pubs and cafés. Some notable ones:
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 170,000 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. During the rest of the year, however, you should have no problem at all.
The surrounding area of Nijmegen is unique in that it has to offer almost every landscape type available in the Netherlands. Rent a bicycle and start exploring the river landscape of the Ooijpolder to the northeast, the forested hills around Groesbeek to the east, the drier heath landscape to the south or, if you insist, the typically Dutch flat lowlands to the west.
There are many ready-made cycle routes you can try:
Places to go
During World War Two, the 82nd Airborne Division landed near Groesbeek as part of Operation Market Garden. Groesbeek has one of Canada's war cemeteries, called Groesbeek Canadian War Cemetery. The Cemetery is a short drive out of Groesbeek.