Friday, 9 January 2009

A visit to Nijmegen


This video has explanatory captions which are only visible when it is viewed on a computer and not on a mobile device

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, on the American model. 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".

2 comments:

Kevin Love said...

Nijmegen is a familiar name here. My old Toronto militia regiment, The Royal Regiment of Canada liberated that bit of Holland along with the Montreal militia regiment The Black Watch (Royal Highland Regiment of Canada), and many others.

Sadly, the nearby Canadian military cemetary in Groesbeek is where 2,300 Canadian Forces members lie buried who gave their lives fighting in the Nijmegen Salient and nearby areas.

When Her Majesty first comissioned me in The Royal Regiment, it was a great honour to be able to talk at social events with many of the veterans of the fighting in Nijmegen, The Scheldt, Groningen, Xanten and many other places in Holland, France and Germany.

Alas, their numbers are falling before the inevitable victory of time.

Still, every year, we send a contingent to participate in the famous Nijmegen March. See:

http://www.cgtoronto.org/article.asp?articleref=AR00002589EN

There is also a famous painting of Toronto's soldiers near Nijmegen. See:

http://wwii.ca/photo.php?p=photos/netherlands.jpg

I myself was able to visit the Canadian military cemetary at Holten when I was last in the Netherlands.

lehommeaulevelo said...

When I read anything about Nijmegen I immediately Think about that Picture A Bridge To far,The Rhine Bridges that the Allies were trying to Capture and shorten the War. I love the Fact that the Bike Parking Station is Free and has an Attendant to mind your Bike and such a lot of Bikes.
That lovely Long Avenue is Free of Cars it looks so Lovely there, A beautiful City worth Visiting.