Wednesday, April 24, 2013

A trip to Nijmegen, the Netherlands

Exactly three years ago today, I was visiting the Netherlands on a work-related trip, but also to visit with my Dutch colleagues with whom I've developed a great friendships after collaborating together for many years.  Although I was away from my family for several days, I was able to stay with the families of my friends, and they treated me with great Dutch hospitality and gave me a nice tour.   These same friends have stayed with my  wife and daughter and me in our house when they've come to visit the U.S., so it's been really wonderful to have friends in another place with which you would otherwise be unfamiliar.  

The place I visited first is the city of Nijmegen and the adjacent small town of Wijchen (one of my friends and his wife and kids live in Wijchen), which is in the eastern part of the country near the German border.  Like many of the cities in Europe, Nijmegen is loaded with history, having been a fortified outpost (in hostile territory) of the Roman Empire many years ago.   I found both Nijmegen and Wijchen to be very charming, so I just thought I'd post some photos showing some of the beautiful buildings and points of interest one can see while visiting Nijmegen (I'll save Wijchen for another post later).

The oldest part of Nijmegen is Valkhof Hill, an ancient citadel overlooking the Waal River that has ruins still visible.  Valkhof started out as a Roman camp and was built up with further fortifications over the years through the medieval times.   

Visible bricks are Roman fortification ruins, Valkhof Hill, Nijmegen
View of Waal River from Valkhof Hill

This is an octagonal chapel on Valkhof Hill that was built around the year 1000 out of bricks from an earlier fort from the time of Charlemagne in the 700's and 800's, so they call it the Carolingian chapel.  

Carolingian chapel, Valkhof Hill, Nijmegen

Me at the Carolingian chapel, Nijmegen

There is also a ruin that is a small remainder of the emperor Barbarossa's chapel that was  built in 1155 but demolished in the late 1700's; the columns in it were older ones incorporated from Charlemagne's time. 

Ruins of Barbarossa castle chapel from 1155 A.D.

Valkhof Hill, ruins of Barbarossa chapel in background

This is St. Stevenskerk (St. Stephen's church) in Nijmegen, which dates back to the 1200's, but was added onto over the years and partially destroyed then rebuilt at various times throughout history.  

St. Stevenskerk steeple
Gothic St. Stevenskerk, Nijmegen

Gothic architecture, St. Stevenskerk, Nijmegen

St. Stevenskerk

This is a classical Dutch merchant house called Besiendershuis from I think the 1500's, which now serves as an art gallery. 

Besiendershuis (1500's), now an art gallery
Beautiful spiral staircase, Besiendershuis
Balcony inside Besiendershuis

Under the spiral staircase, Besiendershuis

Finally, I got some shots of historical buildings in downtown Nijmegen, in the marketplace/plaza near St. Stevenskerk, just before nightfall.

Waagebouw (weighing house from 1600's)

Nijmegen marketplace near St. Stevenskerk

Kerkboog arch Nijmegen marketplace


  1. Thanks for taking us with you through your pictures:)

    1. Hello Joy,

      My pleasure, glad you enjoyed it, and the thanks goes to you for stopping by! Best regards!

  2. All the photos are wonderful..thanks for sharing:)

    1. Hello Melgie,

      Thanks so much for your compliment and for stopping by. These are some of the few photos on my blog I snapped myself, as I'm a pretty mediocre photographer and my wife does much better ha-ha! Take care!

  3. the architectural designs reminds of medieval period. and im having hard time pronouncing the words ;-)

    1. Hi Phioxee,

      You are so right about pronouncing the Dutch words, I wouldn't even know where to begin : ) There definitely is some really beautiful architecture there and some of it does date back to the medieval times. Sadly, Nijmegen got bombed accidentally by the American Army Air Forces in WWII back in 1944, so the medieval parts of the church had to be re-built. The pilots got confused (maybe night time?? they didn't have radar back then) and mistakenly thought it was their main target, the (Nazi) German city of Kleve. Thanks for stopping by!

  4. Hi Buzz L.!
    I'm not really very familiar with the Netherlands. You're fortunate to have visited this lovely European country. You are blessed with good hospitable friends because you are one yourself! Kindness begets kindness!

    I love all the places you featured here. I see them only in the movies.

    Btw, you made the Carolingian chapel look small as you stand tall on its main door. :)

    Hope you had a great weekend!

    1. Hello Beng Gee,

      Sorry for my late reply, and thanks so much for stopping by! I'm still quite unfamiliar with the Netherlands too, this having been my only trip there and only for several days. But you are indeed right that I'm fortunate to have visited and blessed to have such nice hospitable friends. Thank you for your kind words, that's very nice of you.

      You're absolutely right that kindness begets kindness! I really see that demonstrated so often in the hospitality of Filipinos, which is renowned. It's really nice to be able to stay with a family in a different country in their home, take part in their life and customs, and see the day-to-day family life as an alternative to staying in a hotel and taking a taxi.

      That is funny about your observation of my height vs. the Carolingian Chapel door - I have a story about that. I'm fairly tall for an American (about 6 foot 1 inch), but I have always noticed that my Dutch friends (and a Dutch friend here in the US) are taller than I am. I asked them about this, and they made a joke referencing the fact that the Netherlands is below sea level: they told me "Dutch people evolved to be tall so they can keep their heads above water if the dams and dikes break". I was intrigued by this, and found that the Dutch are now the tallest people/nation in the world, and interestingly this all happened after World War II (as they were statistically shorter back then)!

  5. I like all the pictures. Netherlands is a beautiful country, judging by the pictures you've taken. I like the structures, the wooden and the brick ones. Really, it's so nice to nurture deep relationship with friends who you would be willing to welcome in your house/country and willing to welcome you in theirs.

    1. Hi Beth,

      Thanks so much for dropping by! You are right that Netherlands is beautiful; I hope to put up another post or two in the near future about the Netherlands if I can. The structures are really beautiful. It is indeed great to nurture relationships with these friends and their families, and very nice to be welcomed into their homes and families for a visit and to welcome them into our place... very rewarding! I look forward to their next visit here in the States, as well as returning to the Netherlands sometime with my family.

  6. Hi, Thanks for sharing these lovely photos--been to some European countries, but Netherlands is one of my to do list/must visit country ---I love visiting historical places, I particularly love sight seeing in small towns with cobbled stones...that weighing house is so cool...It looks haunted though.. :)

    The Besiendershuis reminds me of some typical old Filipino houses..

    1. Hello Cecille,

      Thanks for coming by and checking out my post! You are very fortunate to live in Scotland; I am envious! The Netherlands is really nice and I am sure you will love it when you visit there some day. But that being said, I am sure you have so many awesome things to see and do near your home. I share your love for visiting historical places (history is one of my passions/obsessions/geek-nesses) too. I bet you've got some lovely small towns with cobblestone streets near where you live.

      I thought the weighing house was really cool too, very elegant, although I didn't get to go inside. It does have that haunted look ha-ha! I really like the Besienderhuis and the way the top of is "stepped" like a pyramid. You are right, it does remind me in a way (on the interior) of some of the old Spanish-style Filipino houses with the nara or mahogany wood floors and paneling.

  7. looking forward for new post ;-)

  8. I love old structures and it was very unfortunate I did not take any when I visited the Netherlands. I enjoyed my stay though and the people are wonderful. They are indeed very tall people and the language is a bit tricky to pronounce. My student named Thijs came to my class this year and all of us said his name the wrong way until we all said, "ties".

  9. wow! amazing experience with photos to remember it! am glad that you included chapels and churches which I have a huge interest :)

  10. Nijmegen have lots of exciting places to visit. You give a good experience and information of all. I will try to visit here one more time.


I'd love to hear your comments!


Related Posts Plugin for WordPress, Blogger...