- Places to Explore
- Travel Tips
- Fodor's Choice
If every cloud has a silver lining, then Nijmegen is no exception. Ravaged by World War II—being so close to the border with Germany, the town was inadvertently bombed by the Allies—it wears a split personality of modernity strutting in a straitjacket of Roman heritage. Pocketed with the scattered remains of ancient settlement, Noviomagum or "New Market," as the Romans called it, is a city which can be enjoyed for its diversity but pitied for its legacy—since it was so devastatingly bombed, and is worse for the wear, it has very little character remaining. Seeming to bear witness to that, the town's casino sits on the remains of a Roman under-floor heating system. Claiming to be the oldest town in The Netherlands (roundly disputed by Maastricht) with a debut in [ad] 104, Nijmegen starts out appearing a bit stiff, but then grows on you like a pair of well-fitted jeans.
Built on seven hills, like Rome, which makes it clearly unique in an otherwise linear topography, Nijmegen has an upper and a lower town skirting the river Waal near the strategic junction of the Maas/Waalkanal, an understructure of medieval passageways and cellars, and the highest concentration of outdoor cafés, so they say, in The Netherlands. The resident Catholic University Nijmegen gives the town a young, hip style at designer discount prices, making your stay here almost as good a value as it was in its days as a medieval trading center, which can still be explored vicariously in the area of the Begijnenstraat. Splendid river views are afforded from Valkhof, the hilltop site of a revolt against Rome in AD 69-70, and Belvedere Park where there's a fine restaurant in a tower. Nearby is the Waalkade riverfront esplanade, lined with restaurants, shops, and a casino, in back of which is an embarkation point for riverboat trips in July and August.
Nijmegen at a Glance
- Nationaal Bevrijdingsmuseum 1944-1945 (National Liberation Museum)
- Nationaal Fietsmuseum Velorama (Velorama National Bicycle Museum)
Elsewhere in The Randstad
Free Fodor's Newsletter
Subscribe today for weekly travel inspiration, tips, and special offers.
Fodor's Trip Planning Ideas
- Great American Vacation: Find Your Next U.S. Trip with Fodor's
- 80 Degrees: Fodor's Helps You Find Your Best Beach Vacation Spots
- Go List: Fodor's Top 25 Places to Go in 2013
- Hotel Awards 2012: Fodor's 100 Top Hotels
- Weekend Getaways: Fodor's Recommends the Best Weekend Escapes in the US
- Best of Europe: Fodor's Picks the Best Places to Visit in Europe
- $133 & up -- London: 4-Star Hotel near City Center, $200 Off Mercure London Bridge Hotel
- $2999 -- Croatia: 8-Night Escorted Trip w/Roundtrip Airfare Friendly Planet Travel
- $2149 -- 7-Night All-Inclusive European Cruise in Suite MSC Cruises
- Albania, Macedonia & Beyond IExplore
- $1336 & up -- Ireland: 6-Nt. Ritz-Carlton Escape w/Air — $1,336 Sceptre Tours