Awesome spots in Nijmegen

Next February 2019, Yoast is organizing YoastCon in Nijmegen. Yoast’s offices are situated in Wijchen, but unfortunately, Wijchen is too small to hold our conference, so we went to our closest “big” town. Nijmegen is the city I went to high school in, and even studied a bit. It’s also 2,000+ years old and has some gorgeous spots, so I thought I’d share some awesome spots and stories around them.

One of the most gorgeous buildings on the inside in Nijmegen is the conference venue for YoastCon, the Vereeniging. But lots of buildings in Nijmegen are beautiful on the outside, just to stroll around. Let me give you some things you shouldn’t miss, starting with one that’s very close to my heart:

The “Latijnse School”

Some of you may know that I never finished university. I’m one of those “drop outs”. That means that my highest diploma is my “high school” diploma, the one I got from the Stedelijk Gymnasium Nijmegen. My brother and sister went to that school too, as did several of my colleagues (Omar, Yoast’s CTO, to name one). And now, almost 20 years after me, my son is attending that school.

The building of the “Latijnse School” on an old postcard.

That school is kind of special. You see, it doesn’t just teach you about old things (a “gymnasium” in the Netherlands means that classic Latin and Greek are part of the curriculum), it’s also old itself. It’s forerunner was known as the “Latin school” and that school was founded almost 475 years ago.

The building that school was founded in is one of the most gorgeous buildings in Nijmegen’s centre, straight across from its lovely church, the Stevenskerk. I honestly couldn’t find any pictures that do it justice, but here are some fragments:

The Stevenskerk

Right next to the Latijnse School is the Stevenskerk. It towers over all of Nijmegen, and while I personally don’t think it’s particularly beautiful on the inside, it’s got a lot of sentimental value for locals. It’s also relatively old, with its oldest parts stemming from 1273.

The Stevenskerk towering over Nijmegen, seen from the Grote Markt. You get to the church by going through the gates in the bottom center. The “Latijnse School” will be on your left.

Going back from that church to the Grote Markt you’ll walk into the “Waag” building, which is gorgeous too. If you’re looking for a drink, you should go to a pub called “In de Blaauwe Hand“. In the picture above it would be in the bottom right corner, to the left of the large “Waag” building. This is the oldest pub in Nijmegen, having started in 1542, and also one of the nicest ones.

The Valkhof

If you’re done with your drink, walk back on to the Grote Markt, keeping the church to your back. You’re walking in the direction of the “Valkhof”. On the right, you’ll pass the City Hall, another gorgeous building:

The city hall. The Stevenskerk church is on the right behind the leaves. All of this is pretty close to each other.

Walk past it, enjoy it, and then keep walking. You’ll soon have to cross a road a bit and on your left you’ll see a park. That park is the site of what used to be one of the most important castles in the Netherlands, back when Charlemagne was still the big boss in Europe and the reigning emperor over an empire that contained most of the Netherlands too. That’s somewhere around the year 800, and no, I didn’t forget a 1 there.

In this park you’ll see some ruins and a very pretty small chapel. Next to the park is a museum, Museum Het Valkhof, which has a nice collection of archeological finds dating from when Nijmegen was home to a Roman legion (Nijmegen in 2005 celebrated 2,000 years of existence).

Seeing all of these things on foot will mean you’ll have to walk just a tiny bit: 1.4 km or so to walk past all of them and that includes going back and forth a bit. Here’s a link to the short walk.

There are more nice buildings and things to see in Nijmegen, if you know of more that people should definitely go see, do drop them in the comments! Also, if you’ve not bought your tickets for YoastCon yet, I’d start doing that now 🙂

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