The oldest city of the Netherlands is brewing with energy! In other words: Old City, Young Vibe. Whether it’s a night of drinks, taking in culture, shopping in the oldest shopping district, or nature. Nijmegen’s got it all. Within walking distance. From the city centre, you’ll be surrounded by the Konik horses in the Ooijpolder in 15 minutes. Nijmegen is surprising and innovative!
Here are 12 reasons why you should visit Nijmegen:
From the start of our calendar, Nijmegen became an important strategical location for the Roman military. Around 100 AD, a full city was constructed by the Romans, called Ulpia Noviomagus Batavorum. At that time, Nijmegen received its market and city rights from emperor Trajan. But it wasn’t just the Romans who placed their mark on the city. Discover more about its history. Sadly, much of Nijmegen’s rich history was destroyed during the Second World War, but in the Valkhofkwartier, traces are still visible. Walk around, visit museums, and travel through Roman times, the Middle Ages, and the Second World War.
2. Highest density of sidewalk cafés
Did you know that Nijmegen has the terrace highest density in the Netherlands? There is more than enough room for sitting in the sun with a lovely drink. On every corner and in every street, you’ll be able to find a nice café or restaurant to sit back and relax. Even at night, the city offers many cosy cafés to go for drinks. Feel like cutting loose? Nijmegen’s nightlife is always switched on. You can dance until sunrise, visit a festival, or enjoy a concert.
Check out Nijmegen's nightlife
3. Oldest shopping district of the Netherlands
Besides being the oldest city of the Netherlands, Nijmegen also has the oldest shopping district: the Lange Hezelstraat. It’s a street with many historical locations, specialty stores, food, and restaurants. So it’s worth a visit! Just like every other city, Nijmegen has shopping districts with big name brand stores. With over 400 stores in the city centre, a day of shopping is a party on its own.
4. Pockets of city and nature at walking distance
Nijmegen is famous for the great swaths of nature in and around the city. What’s especially noteworthy, is that you’ll be in nature in no time! You can leave the crowded city behind whenever you feel like it, and enjoy the Ooijpolder, the woods, city parks, or all the other green spots surrounding Nijmegen.
Walk through nature
5. The biggest event of the Netherlands
De Vierdaagsefeesten, who hasn’t heard of them? Seven days of partying, dancing, listening to music, and so much more! It is the largest openly accessible event of Europe and one of the largest festivals in the continent, with 1,5 million visitors. If you like a pleasant bustle, then we advise you to visit Nijmegen during this week! De Vierdaagse itself (The Walk of the World), the biggest walking event in the world, also takes place during this week. People walk for four days, with the Via Gladiola as a close. But that isn’t everything, as festivals take place in Nijmegen all year long.
6. The river park
On the other side of the Waalkade, you’ll see Nijmegen’s river park. The river park was constructed because the rivers have to take in more and more water. That’s why a secondary channel (the Spiegelwaal) was made next to the Waal. By digging and relocating the dyke, an elongated island was formed in the Waal. The island and the Spiegelwaal protect Nijmegen from high tide. The river park holds a unique mix of water, nature, recreation, and urban activities. Because besides walking and riding your bike, people swim here and play aquatic sports in summer.
7. Creative breeding grounds
Nijmegen has a lot of creative breeding grounds. You can find a collection of cultural and artisanal companies in, amongst other spaces, Het Honigcomplex, Cultuurspinnerij De Vasim, NYMA, De Houtwerf and Paraplufabriek. And if you’re looking for more, De Basis (formerly Doornroosje) is a creative breeding ground for young, enterprising musicians, where touring artists have their stay and people in the music industry work daily. So it’s one place where everyone gets together. And last but not least, the cultural café the Kaaij: Opoe Sientje. An informal festival you can frequent all summer.
8. Bursts of culture
Nijmegen is filled to the brim with culture! Let yourself be inspired by contemporary art by one of the many expositions or visit a creative breeding ground. Experience how it feels to be blind or immerse yourself in an arthouse cinema. Dance your legs off ‘till deep in the night or stop to listen to beautiful music. Enjoy high class theatre or accessible literature and poetry. Nijmegen’s got it all!
Find out more about culture in Nijmegen
9. City for students
Nijmegen is a true college town and has all you need to make your studies an unforgettable experience: graduate schools, a university (Radboud University), fun bars and diners, cool stores and a varied nightlife. The diversity of vocational and university studies bring life to the city! Fresh, fizzing, and fun energy in the oldest city of the Netherlands.
10. Green city
The city on the Waal was named Green Capital of Europe in 2018, a title carried with pride. And from that title on, Nijmegen has been striving towards durable mobility and fossil-free energy. By 2025, Nijmegen wants to be a zero-emission zone, which means that no logistical vehicles are allowed to use fossil fuels in the inner city. Besides that, ‘Groene Vrijdag’ is organised every year to make Nijmegen prettier and greener.
11. Big concerts in the Goffertpark
The Goffertpark is a beloved park amongst the people of Nijmegen. Walking, riding your bike, working out... you’ll see it all! But the vast fields of the park are also used for events such as Het Nest Festival and Fortarock. Besides that, there are also giant festivals. Well known bands and artists performed here, such as Robbie Williams, Guns N' Roses, Phil Collins, Muse, Bon Jovi, Eminem, The Rolling Stones and Tina Turner. Leaning more towards intimate shows? Then something from the programme of the Openluchttheater de Goffert will surely be right for you.
12. Public art on the street
You’ll know by now that Nijmegen is known for its culture. But did you know that there’s also a lot of public art? Street art and art works, all of them tell their own tales about the city. A memory to the squatter riots of ’81 or the bombardment of 1944. A colourful mural about The Batavian Revolt (Kelfkensbos) or the fully bronze-cast artwork (De Waterwolf) on the Waalkade, which is a symbol for the battle we wage against the waters. All of it is public, so enjoy the free art.
Discover works of street art