For a city as modestly-sized as Nijmegen, it has a significant place in Dutch history. In fact, it is presumably the oldest city in the Netherlands, and recently celebrated its 2000th anniversary since its official establishment as a location for the Roman army in 2005. Yet even this was long after the city’s infant years, since the area had been occupied thousands of years earlier by farmers.

Nijmegen is what the Dutch call a ‘student city’; it is home to Nijmegen’s Radboud University, as well as to the HAN University of Applied Sciences (which is also partially located in Arnhem). Radboud University offers eight English-language bachelor’s studies and approximately 160 master’s studies in English, while HAN offers seven English-language bachelor’s studies and four master’s studies. All in all, almost 39,000 students live in the city, making up 29% of its population. Furthermore, it is home to Rockstart Digital Health Campus and Health Valley. Rockstart helps build digital health start-ups and helps them find the best market fit and/or international product. Health Valley provides a unifying platform for universities, care institutions, companies and governmental authorities.

In 1995, after a surge of water, caused by heavy rains in Germany and France, threatened the people of Nijmegen, the city decided something had to change. Instead of merely strengthening its dikes, it moved them 350 meters further back, creating a wider floodplain for the Waal River. In the middle of this new area, a new island is being constructed, which will accommodate parks, nature areas, leisure activities, festivals and possibly even homes. The center of the city will be shifting, and will include the new island and the Waal flood area that runs underneath the bridges. All in all, as they have done throughout history, the Dutch people have come up with innovative and impressive plans that will not only ensure a city’s safety, but also its beauty, its atmosphere – and room for growth.

Stephanie Dijkstra
2015 Winter

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