12 free activities in Nijmegen

The stereotype is true: Dutch people love free stuff. That’s why this week’s article is about everything you can see and/or do in Nijmegen for free. We’ve collected the best tips for free activities when you’re visiting the city for a day!

1. Visit Kinderboederij de Goffert (petting zoo)

Who doesn’t enjoy watching animals? Kinderboerderij de Goffert is located in the centre of Nijmegen’s greenery, and has no entry fee. Donkeys, horses, goats, sheep, pigs, and deer: all farm animals are represented here.

2. Visit the Museum of Anatomy and Pathology

The Museum of Anatomy and Pathology is free for individual visits. Here you can find all kinds of body parts, preserved in jars. They pay attention to the construction of bodies (anatomy) as well as the theory of diseases (pathology). The museum is located in the study centre of the Radboudumc in Nijmegen. Medicine students already know how and where to find it: now it’s your turn!

3. View protected national monuments

A city as old as Nijmegen has a lot of different monuments from a lot of different time periods. These monuments are protected in order to preserve Nijmegen’s identity. Take a tour of Nijmegen and find yourself amazed at all the monuments you can find: there aren’t just statues, but also bridges, parks, and buildings! One of these is the Boterwaag, a weighing house for butter, built on the Grote Markt in 1612. Or maybe you’re more interested in two still-existing windmills, built in 1760? Discover Nijmegen’s protected monuments here.

4. Admiring the Stevenskerk

The high elegant vaults, the brilliant light through the windows, the ancient tombs, a spectacular row of chandeliers: you simply don't know where to look when you walk into the Stevenskerk! Even amidst the splendour, the building exudes a serene tranquility. It can be visited on Saturdays between 11 a.m. and 5 p.m. and Sundays between noon and 5 p.m.

5. The Sprokkelbos (for rompers)

Put on some old clothes, boots, and play till your heart’s content! The Sprokkelbos is located near Nijmegen. Climbing, scrambling, playing hide-and-seek or building huts in the Sprokkelbos in Lent is guaranteed to provide hours of fun.

6. Experiencing history at the House of Nijmegen’s History

Would you like to know more about the history of the oldest city in the Netherlands? Everyone is welcome in the House of Nijmegen’s History at the Mariënburg. There are regular exhibits and lectures and there is always someone present who can answer your history-related questions. Open: Tuesday to Saturday from 11  a.m. to 5 p.m. and on Sunday from 12 noon to 5 p.m.

7. Nature in the city

Among other things, Nijmegen is known for the large amount of nature in and around the city. Feel like taking a walk? We have listed some of our favourite green spots for you. Think of the Ooijpolder, home to wild horses, beavers, big geese and Galloway cattle. Or the N70 hiking trail, a walk that takes you over 8 "mountains" with pretty names like the Boterberg, Sterrenberg and the Duivelsberg.

8. Relax in Library de Mariënburg

Visit Library de Mariënburg, the most famous library in Nijmegen, for ultimate (free) relaxation. You can read books, magazines and newspapers, but also attend regular lectures, workshops and other free events. The library’s planning can be found here. Open Monday to Friday from 9 a.m. to 6 p.m. Thursdays until 8 p.m. and Saturdays between 9 a.m. and 5 p.m.

9. Discover street art

You can discover plenty of colourful street art in Nijmegen. Try looking around near the Holland Casino, on the side of Thiemeloods in district Bottendaal, in the underpass from Scheidemakershof to Plein 1944 and in the Piersonstraat. Curious? Check out our article on the murals here.

10. Cool off with water

Have temperatures risen above 25 degrees? Time to float, paddle, feel weightless, and relax. Everyone in Nijmegen can be found on one of the Waalstrandjes when the weather’s nice. Traveling from the city centre to the waterline only takes 15 minutes. Another nice place are the beaches of the Spiegelwaal. Or visit the Bisonbaai or the Lentse plas! You can find an overview of some of the best sun-drenched beach spots here.

11. Going to a festival

Every year there are a huge number of festivals in Nijmegen. Some of the free festivals to visit are Liberation Festival, TREK Festival, Valkhof Festival and of course the Four Days Festivities. Check out Nijmegen's Festival Guide here.

12. View Nijmegen through The Face of Nijmegen

On the island of Veur-Lent on the north bank of the river Waal near the former Ford Knotsenburg, you’ll find a gigantic Roman mask. This artwork, 6 meters high and 4.5 meters wide, symbolizes the antiquity of the city of Nijmegen. The mask literally and figuratively gives a face to Nijmegen’s Roman history and is an enlargement and artistic interpretation of the face helmet from the now permanent collection of The Valkhof Museum in Nijmegen. Climb up there and look through the mask's eyes yourself. 

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