Wageningen is a town along the Rhine river within the province of Gelderland in the Netherlands. Because of its famous agricultural university, it is more lively than one would expect from a Dutch town with 36,000 inhabitants. In 2007 it had residents from 152 different countries, mainly being students at the university. Wageningen was the site of the formal surrender of the Germans to the Allies in the Netherlands on May 5th, 1945, a day that is a public holiday in the Netherlands. Wageningen hosts a military veterans parade and this is followed by great alcohol consumption in the town.
Wageningen lies close to the right bank of the branch of the Rhine estuary known in the Netherlands as the Nederrijn. Excavations date a settlement at this site back to the Stone Age. The hills to the east of the town provided protection for a Bronze Age tribe from flooding of the Rhine and from enemies and the earliest record of the name (in 838AD) is from the same hilly area. The town has had a chequered history, being occupied or destroyed on several occasions. Also, in 1421 the Rhine changed course, moving further south and, in the process, having a detrimental effect on Wageningen's trade. In the 17th Century the town started tobacco cultivation and there were several cigar manufacturers. The floodplain of the Rhine to the south also had several brick factories, one of which can still be seen.
In 1876 the Dutch government decided to build the first agricultural school in Wageningen on the grounds that it was in the heart of the country and was surrounded by a wide variety of soils. Since then the town has boomed and Wageningen University is now a world-renowned Life Sciences university. Wageningen also has the largest inland port in the Netherlands.
The story goes that Wageningen was given the choice of getting a university or a train station. It chose the university, and still doesn't have a station. There is a station called Ede-Wageningen but it is close to Ede and 8km from Wageningen.
The Ede-Wageningen station is about an hour from Amsterdam or from Schiphol airport. From these stations look for trains headed to Arnhem and Nijmegen. There is a train every half an hour from Amsterdam and every half an hour from Schiphol. If you miss the direct train you can take a train to Utrecht and change there. Arriving at Ede-Wageningen, take Bus No. 88 to downtown Wageningen. This stops at many of the student residences en route. By taxi the journey will cost €25.
From Arnhem, take Bus No. 86 from Arnhem station to Wageningen bus station.
Wageningen can be reached by car from highway A12, which passes to the north, A15, which passes to the south and can be reached by a ferry over the Rhine, and the A50, which passes to the east.
For information on the various types of bus and train tickets see Netherlands#Get around.
Cycling is the best mode of transport and there are several stores downtown that can provide bike rentals. For those staying longer it is possible to buy second-hand bikes. A stall in the main square on Saturdays has good bargains. New bikes range from around €200 for a Chinese-made one (looked upon contemptuously by the Dutch) to up to €1000 for a real Dutch bike. All of the main roads have separate cycling lanes. These have their own traffic signals and you are expected to obey them. At roundabouts and other junctions cyclists usually have the right of way but this cannot be guaranteed so be careful. You have to give way if there are white triangles on the track that point towards you.
Bus No.88 also takes you around most of Wageningen but it really doesn't make much sense to ride the bus here.
- Wageningen University, . Originally an agricultural university, Wageningen Universiteit is a renowned international university famous for its agricultural sciences. It has a large community of international students making it one of the most multicultural universities in the Netherlands. The university arboretum along Generaal Foulkesweg is quite beautiful in the summer.
- Hotel de Wereld, . Translates to 'Hotel of the World'. Site of the formal surrender of the Germans to the Allies in the Netherlands on May 5th, 1945. Wageningen is the place to be on 5th of May as celebrations in the Netherlands are centred around the town.
- Windkorenmolen De Vlijt, Churchillweg, . A 19th-century wind-powered flour mill. Upper floors of the mill, where the actual milling process can be observed, are open to the public every Saturdays for free. The store downtairs sells a range of both organic and non-organic baking supplies.
- Wijngaard Wageningse Berg, . There is a local winery that produces biological wine close to the Wageningse Berg Hotel. Worth a visit as it is one of the few wineries in the Netherlands.
- Casteelse Poort Museum, Bowlespark Avenue, . The Casteelse Poort Museum showcases the history of Wageningen as well as the Wageningen Castle ruins over which the museum was built. The house was formerly the property of a wealthy 19th century family until it was converted to the current museum. Highlight of the museum is the archeological dig on display in the basement of the museum, which uncovers part of the foundation of the old Wageningen castle that had been discovered. Behind the museum is a preserved section of the wall and watch tower foundations of the said castle. €3.
- High Veluwe. Wageningen borders the High Veluwe, a large nature reserve. Very nice for biking and nature walks as well as for spotting the local wildlife.
- Heerenstraat Theater, Molenstraat 1b (just off Hoogstraat), ☎ (0317) 41 40 29 ([email protected]), . First release films in original language with Dutch subtitles, which is fine for English speakers until they show a Japanese film.
- Cycle/walk along the dyke. Enjoy the beautiful view of the countryside along the dyke amongst the grazing sheep and cows of the surrounding farms.
- Rhine River. Wageningen is on the most northern spur of the Rhine estuary. From the dyke that protects the town in case the river floods you can take walks through the meadows to the Rhine and then along it. Popular among the locals as a place to go fishing and swimming, especially during the warmer months. Attracts thousands of ice skaters when it freezes. Good birdwatching.
The main shopping street in Wageningen is the Hoogstraat although selection is limited. Apart from a shop selling wooden clogs, there are no obvious souvenirs to purchase. For visiting students setting up home for a time, inexpensive household items are available at HEMA and BLOKKER on Hoogstraat. Shopping hours are limited. Most shops close around 18.00 during the week and at 17.00 on Saturdays, except on Friday evening when they are open until 21.00. Supermarkets stay open until 20.00 most evenings and are also open on Sunday afternoons.
- De Serre, Stationsstraat 5-7 (eastern end of Hoogstraat), ☎ 0317 423370, . lunchtimes only. Soups, salads and sandwiches in a glass building. Outside tables, too, for the rare occasions it is not raining in Wageningen.
- De Keuken, Hoogstraat 5 (just off the main square), ☎ 0317 420936 ([email protected]). until 19.00. Tanzanian lady dispenses soups and curries from a small kitchen. Eat at a small bar or take away.
- Duniya. Indian/Surinamese restaurant in the centre.
- Eetcafe de Kater, Markt 8, ☎ 0317 - 421009 ([email protected]), . lunchtime to midnight, Closed Tuesdays. Nice location on a summer's evening, sitting outside on the main square. Food OK but the service here is woefully slow.
- Eetcafe H41, Heerenstraat 41, ☎ 0317 - 42 17 15 ([email protected]), . Grilled meats, including kangaroo, with a variety of sauces. Enormous calorie-filled desserts. €20-30.
- Eatcetera, Lawickse Allee 9 (at Hotel Hof Van Wageningen), ☎ +31 (0) 317 490 463 ([email protected]), . The interior lighting seems more appropriate for Amsterdam's red-light district but if you can put up with that the food is good. Popular with locals as well as hotel guests. €25 for a three-course meal.
- MyAsia, Hoogstraat 9 (Market square end of the main street), ☎ 0317 411029, . New restaurant (June 2012) serving authentic Thai food. €20-25.
- Open Markt - on Wednesday morning (09:00-12:00) and Saturday (09:00-17:00). Offers typical Dutch foods. The freshly made stroopwafels on Wednesdays are fantastic.
- Pannekoek House - Traditional Dutch pancake restaurant within the centre.
- Sa Lolla, Molenstraat 6 (Upstairs opposite the cinema), ☎ 0317 412611, . Italian restaurant run by Italians, with reasonably authentic pizzas. Somewhat expensive but always full.
- Toledo, Schoolstraat 15, ☎ 0317-422858 ([email protected]), . Excellent Spanish restaurant and tapas bar. Main courses €15-20.
- Cicuto, Schuylensteeg 5 (in a small square just off Hoogstraat), ([email protected]), . 12.00-22.00 from first week of March to first week of October. Italian-style ice cream that is very popular with the locals. On a sunny day be prepared for a long queue.
There are many cafes located around the church in the centre with good selection of beers. One you can't miss is De Vlaamsche Reus which has over 120 beers, many of which are Belgian.
Most student residences (triangular-looking buildings) also have their own bar downstairs.
Wageningen does not have a particularly thriving nightlife, but still there are a few nice cafes and pubs to hang around, drink beers and listen to live music. The main hangout places in Wageningen are:
- International House, .
- Cafe De Overkant, . and some others.
- Hotel de Wageningse Berg, . Atop the Wageningse Berg hill. Very nice vantage point looking out at the Rhine river and plains. But the rooms are nothing special. Due to close for renovation in mid-2012
- Hotel Hof van Wageningen, Lawickse Alle 9, ☎ +31317490133 ([email protected]), . A conference hotel much used by the local university. Very small but comfortable rooms. Short walk to the town centre. Elevators hopelessly inadequate so ask for a low floor. €80 single.
- Hotel de Wereld, . Historic hotel, Look for its history at its "See" listing above. On the pricier side..
On Saturday and Sunday, the town is quite empty since Dutch students go back to their hometowns to spend their weekend with friends and family. If you are looking some Dutch nightlife try Arnhem, Utrecht or Rotterdam!
There are also a few coffee shops in town for those who are looking for 'alternative entertainment'.
|Routes through Wageningen
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