We had the great good fortune to retire in Nijmegen on a recent trip to the Netherlands. Our American friend was visiting family and they took us to visit other friends and it became one big party of pigeon, sign-language, English/Dutch speaking people! We rode the train from Amsterdam on a sunny afternoon and enjoyed the very flat farmland that gave way to rolling hills as we went further east. After some very good food, great wine, and a pleasant day, they all took us back to the train station and we parted like long lost cousins. I’d love to retire in Nijmegen Netherlands, if only for a summer.
As you will see on the map below, Nijmegen sits right on the border with Germany. There is a lot of history between the two countries but all is very friendly now with the European Union. One of the places we visited was the immense Groesbeek Canadian Cemetery where 2500 soldiers were buried from WWII. The graves are in long rows and every row is planted with flowers, grown each year and beautifully tended by a women’s club in memory of those who lost their lives on foreign soil. It is a very moving place and not to be missed.
The town is considered to be the oldest community in the Netherlands as the Waal river and hills provided strategic advantage in this flat land. Today it provides a beautiful view over the Rhine Valley. A former Roman settlement, the town has several very fine museums including the Valkhof with important artifacts displayed. Now a university town, Nijmegen is a metro area has about 280,000 people including 25,000 students.
Nijmegen is known throughout Europe for the International Four Day March, an annual event starting on the third Tuesday in July where participants walk from 30-50 km (19-31 miles) a day and it is something to see. It is one of the biggest events in this part of the country and draws 40,000 people from 28 countries. There is music, food, parties, and lots of beer!
One of the warmest cities in the Netherlands, especially in the summer, Nijmegen reaches the mid to high 70’s. The winters reach freezing for a few days at a time. With only 29 inches of rain a year, this is a pretty nice place to live.
Most Dutch people also speak English – most. If you greet everyone (and its rude not to) with “Bonjour Madame – Good Morning!” they will switch to English for you – most of the time. It’s helpful to know some Dutch words and phrases and keep your translation book handy.
If you are going to rent an apartment in Nijmegen, be aware that some buildings are mostly college student housing and may not be what you expected in your golden years! You can find apartments/flats in the $900-1200 US range without difficulty. If you are only going to stay for a season, we recommend finding a bed and breakfast that will let you have a long term rental. It will be furnished, no utilities to pay, and they are everywhere.
Nijmegen is a lovely town with a vibrant downtown, lovely parks, the river, excellent transportation and a good location for exploring all that Europe has to offer.
Zoom in and out on the map below to see roads and attractions!