Friday, 9 January 2009
Nijmegen, 160 km south of where we live in Assen, is considered to be the oldest city in the Netherlands. It's a city with many beautiful buildings which celebrated its 2000th year in 2005.
My friend Terry (who visited us last year and features in another post about a bike ride between Assen and Groningen ) lives in Nijmegen and I visited him last Saturday by train, taking along my folding bike.
The free of charge, guarded and secure cycle park that we use is one of five in the city.
Nijmegen has many historic buildings, and much reconstruction was required after the second world war to repair the city. Much of the devastation of the city was the result not of the occupying forces, but of Allied bombers accidentally bombing the city centre on February 22nd 1944.
Many of the older buildings were recreated much as they used to be. However, the shopping centre was rebuilt with wide avenues to take motorised traffic. As you'll see from the video, this is not how they have remained.
While the Netherlands is not a hilly country overall, Nijmegen is quite a hilly city. This has not prevented it from having a high rate of cycling.
In 2002, the new government of Nijmegen decided to invest €10M over 4 years in new cycling infrastructure. The population is 161000 so this comes to over €15 per person per year.
Nijmegen was nominated as Fietsstad 2008 (Cycling City 2008) but lost out to Houten.
I also visited Nijmegen back in 2005, and wrote about the bicycle museum. The centre of Nijmegen is, like most city centres, "nearly car free".