Learn more about Nijmegen
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Nijmegen (obsolete spellings: Nijmwegen, Nymegen, Nieumeghen — known in German as Nimwegen, French as Nimègue, and Spanish and Italian as Nimega) is a municipality and a city in the east of the Netherlands, near the German border. It is considered to be the oldest city in the Netherlands and celebrated its 2000th year of existence in 2005.
 Population centres
The municipality is formed by the city of Nijmegen, incorporating the former villages of Hatert, Hees and Neerbosch, as well as the urban expansion project of Waalsprong, that lies to the north of the river Waal, including the village of Lent and the new suburbs of Nijmegen-Oosterhout and Nijmegen-Ressen.
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The city council has 39 seats. After the 2002 municipal elections, the three major parties, GroenLinks (9 seats), PvdA (8 seats) and SP (6 seats) formed a coalition. Because these are all left-wing parties, Nijmegen received the nickname 'Havana on the Waal'. Although such majorities are no exception (compare Amsterdam) and sometimes also form coalitions (see Muntendam), this is unusual for a city this size. Since such a left-wing coalition might be possible at a national level after the 2006 general election, the achievements of this council are often scrutinised. After the 2006 municipal election such a coalition became possible in many more municipalities, making the example even more interesting.
The municipal elections of 7 March 2006 saw an increase of 4,6% of the votes for these three parties taken together, which could be seen as increased support for the coalition. However, nationally these parties scored much better, recovering from an electoral blow of the 2002 elections. Then again, the Leefbaar parties that caused the loss then and lost most of their votes this time have no branch in Nijmegen, which makes this comparison less valid. Among the three big parties, there was a shift from GroenLinks, who lost 6.5%, to PvdA, who won 6.4% and SP, who won 2.3%. As a result it is no longer the biggest party. The seat assignment is now as shown in the table. The three-party coalition was continuated.
 The city of Nijmegen
Nijmegen celebrated its 2000th year of existence in 2005. With its history going back to the 0's it is considered the oldest city in the Netherlands. In gaining this qualification, it has competed with the city of Maastricht.
The first mention of Nijmegen in history is in the 1st century BC, when the Romans built a military camp on the place where Nijmegen was to appear; the location had great strategic value because of the surrounding hills, which gave (and give) a good view over the Waal and Rhine valley.
By 69, when the Batavians, the original inhabitants of the Rhine and Maas valley, revolted, a village called Oppidum Batavorum had formed near the Roman camp. This village was destroyed in the revolt, but when the revolt had ended, the Romans built another, bigger camp, where the Legio X Gemina was stationed. Soon after, another village formed around this camp.
In 103, the X Gemina was removed to Vienna, which may have been a major blow to the economy of the village around its camp. In 104, Emperor Trajan renamed the town, which now became known as Ulpia Noviomagus Batavorum. (The old theory that Nijmegen received market rights is incorrect.) Few Roman remains are visible today; a fragment of the old city wall can be seen near the casino, and the foundations of the amphitheatre are traced in the paving of the present-day Rembrandtstraat. However, the Valkhof museum has a large collection of Roman artifacts that have been dug up over the ages.
In the 4th century, Roman power decreased and Nijmegen became part of the Frankish kingdom. It has been contended that in the 8th century Emperor Charlemagne built a castle in Nijmegen. Thanks to the Waal river, trade flourished and in 1230, Nijmegen was given city rights by Frederick II, Holy Roman Emperor. In 1247, the city was ceded to the count of Guelders as collateral for a loan. The loan was never repaid, and Nijmegen has been a part of Gelderland ever since. This did not hamper trade; Nijmegen even became part of the Hanseatic League in 1364.
The arts also flourished in this period. Famous medieval painters the Limbourg brothers were born and educated in Nijmegen.
In 1678 Nijmegen was host to the negotiations between the European powers that aimed to put an end to the constant warfare that had ravaged the continent for years. The result was the Treaty of Nijmegen that, unfortunately, failed to provide for a lasting peace.
In the second half of the 19th century, the fortifications around the city became a major problem; there were too many inhabitants inside the walls, but the fortifications could not be demolished because Nijmegen was deemed as being of vital importance to the defence of the Netherlands. When, however, events in the Franco-Prussian war proved that old-fashioned fortifications were no more of use, this policy was changed and the fortifications were dismantled in 1874. The old castle had already been demolished in 1797, so that its bricks could be sold.
Through the second half of the 19th century and the first half of the 20th century, Nijmegen grew steadily. The Waal was bridged in 1878 by a rail bridge and in 1936 by a car bridge, in 1923 the current Radboud University Nijmegen was founded and in 1927 a channel was dug between the Waal and Maas rivers.
In 1940, the Netherlands were invaded by Germany with Nijmegen being the first Dutch city to fall into German hands. On February 22, 1944, Nijmegen was heavily bombed by American planes, causing great damage to the city centre. Allegedly the pilots thought they were bombing the German city of Kleve, although it has also been claimed to have been a deliberate act. The NIOD announced in January 2005 that its study of the incident confirmed that it was an accident caused by poor communications and chaos in the airspace. Over 750 people died in the incident. During 1944, the city saw heavy fighting during Operation Market Garden. The objective in Nijmegen in September 1944 was mainly to prevent the German's from destroying the bridge. Capturing the bridge allowed the British Army XXX Corps to attempt to reach the British airborne troops in Arnhem. At one time, the bridge held close to 20 25lb anti-tank guns and two anti-aircraft guns. The Germans made repeated attacks on the bridge using bombs attached to driftwood, midget submarines and later resorted to shelling the bridge with 88lb barrages. Troops were positioned on the bridge giving and excellent arc of fire in case of attack. Troops that couldn't fit onto the bridge were positioned in a bombed out house slightly upstream of the bridge. During the shelling, the house was hit, killing 6 soldiers and wounding 1 more.
More recently, on February 23, 1981, the Nijmegen Police Department and the Dutch Army stormed the Piersonstraat and Zeigelhof, a squatted housing block in downtown Nijmegen. Using two hundred riot vans, three Leopard MBTs, three armoured personnel carriers, a helicopter, twelve hundred policemen, and seven hundred fifty members of the armed forces, they evicted the squatters and demolished the block, while clouding the entire area in teargas and CS gas. This had an enormous backlash in local politics. While the city government wanted the squatters out to build a parking garage, most of the population wanted affordable housing to be built in the area.
As to this date Nijmegen is still known as Havana on the Waal among some Right-wingers. The Socialist Party, the Green Party and Labour have a solid two-third majority in City Council, making Nijmegen the only major city in The Netherlands with a solely Left-wing government. The current mayor is Mrs Dr Guusje Ter Horst.
In November 2005, downtown Nijmegen was the site of the assassination of political activist Louis Sévèke.
Nijmegen is host to a university, the Radboud University Nijmegen, which was founded in 1923 as the first Catholic university in the Netherlands. Radboud University also runs the High Field Magnetic Laboratory (http://www.hfml.ru.nl/) which is able to achieve some of the highest fields available in Europe at 33 teslas (continuous) and 60 teslas (pulsed). The facility is available to outside users, primarily for research purposes. The education and social work departments of the Hogeschool van Arnhem en Nijmegen school for higher level vocational training are also located in Nijmegen, as are that school's medical departments.
In addition to these institutions, there is also an intermediate level vocational school (ROC Nijmegen) and a number of high schools: Groenschool Nijmegen, Kandinsky College, Nijmeegse Scholengemeenschap Groenewoud (NSG), Stedelijke Scholengemeenschap Nijmegen (SSGN), Canisius College, Lindenholt College, the Stedelijk Gymnasium (formally the "Latijnse school", founded in the 16th century) and the Dominicus College. Of note is also Leefwerkschool Eigenwijs, which caters to students from all over the Netherlands who have been repeatedly expelled from "regular" high schools. Leefwerkschool Eigenwijs has its roots in the local activist movement of the early 1980's and is the only school of its kind recognised in the Netherlands.
Nijmegen has four train stations, Nijmegen, Nijmegen Dukenburg, Nijmegen Heyendaal and Nijmegen Lent. Intercity trains and fast trains stop at the central station. The buscompany Novio maintains the city busses while Hermes and Connexxion maintain regional busses.
 Museums in and around Nijmegen
- Africa Museum (African art and culture)
- biblical open air museum (ancient middle eastern buildings)
- Valkhof museum (Roman and mediaeval history and modern art)
- Velorama (bicycle museum)
- MuZIEum (About seeing and not-seeing in Nijmegen)
 International Four Day March Nijmegen
Nijmegen is famous for the International Four Day March Nijmegen also known as the "Vierdaagse", an annual event starting on the third Tuesday in July, comprising four days of walking (distances ranging from 30 to 50 km a day), and the accompanying festivities, which have been drawing the largest crowds for any Dutch event in the past few years. 
The event invites WWII allied veterans to help celebrate their participation in the liberation of the Netherlands from German occupation. Participants from Canada, the USA, Australian and New Zealand have attended the event.
During the "Vierdaagse" of 2006 two people died due to the extreme hot weather. It caused the organisation to cancel the rest of the walk. Whether this has any consequenses for the future is of yet unknown.
 Famous people from Nijmegen
- Petrus Canisius, saint
- Eddie and Alex van Halen, rock musicians
- Henry VI, Holy Roman Emperor
- Saadia Himi, Miss Netherlands Earth 2004
- Limbourg brothers, medieval painters
- Frank Boeijen, popular singer
- Harrie van Heumen, ice hockey forward
- Henrietta Pressburg, mother of Karl Marx
- Anne Quist, Olympic rower
- Pie Geelen, Olympic swimmer
- Titus Brandsma, Doctor of philosophy and member of World War II resistance
 Sister cities
Nijmegen has four sister cities
- Image:Flag of Russia (bordered).svg Pskov, Russia
- Image:Flag of Nicaragua.svg Masaya, Nicaragua
- Image:Flag of Japan (bordered).svg Higashimatsuyama, Japan
- Image:Flag of the United States.svg Albany, New York, USA.
 Miscellaneous information
- Nijmegen is the home-town of the Dutch football club NEC Nijmegen.
- Nijmegen was referred to by the name "Marxograd at the Waal" by Dutch politician and former European Commission member Frits Bolkestein
- Nijmegen was the location for the first Open European Mahjong Championship, held between 25-26 June 2005.
- Nijmegen was called 'Noviomagus' when it was founded.
- Building: The Erasmus Tower, famous for its architecture. The Taipei 101 was based upon the architecture of the Erasmus.
- In Medal of Honor: Frontline, the Nijmegen Waalbridge is featured simply as the "Nijmegen Bridge".
 External links
- Official site
- Novio site - information about the city bus service
- NEC Nijmegen site
- Noviomagus.nl - site about Nijmegen's history, with lots of pictures and old citymaps
- Basic data from State Almanac
- Statistics in Dutch (pdf) - with (towards the end) a map showing the neighborhoods and (a few pages further) the population figures etc. as well as the grouping into quarters
- Nijmoring - indexpage of a webring of weblogs from Nijmegen and an insight to life in this city (mostly written in Dutch)
- -Nijmegen Centre for Border Research
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