Nijmegen is located in the East of The Netherlands and has been recently noted as the oldest city in the country. It’s quite a special city to me as Rob and I have lived there up until recently. It’s been quite a hard city to get to know and to like but after that initial uncomfortable stage I really did fall for it’s charm and fell right in love with it.
It’s a city like many central European cities where it was damaged greatly from the war, but surprisingly Nijmegen was bombed by the Americans by accident because of it’s closeness to the boarder of Germany…. so a lot of the city has been rebuilt. I think if this hadn’t of happened this would be one of the highlight cities of The Netherlands because the some of parts that were untouched by the bombing are really stunning. These are the parts of the city that we love to go for food, sit outside and have some Belgian beers or just to walk around.
One of best places to “wine & dine” in the nicest parts of the city is Cafe in de Blaauwe Hand. Here in the oldest pub in Nijmegen you can enjoy a really great selection of beers with some tasty home-cooked traditional dutch food and snacks. My favourite thing that they have is flammkuchen which is actually a typically German snack that’s similar to a pizza but with a much thinner base and traditionally a Crème fraîche base rather than tomato…. it really is scrummy especially with a wheat based beer i think. The staff are also very knowledgeable about what they supply in the bar and are always ready to help you decide on something you’ll enjoy. In the summer months it’s prefect for sitting out onto the terrace and seeing everybody walking by, then alternatively in the wintery darker months it’s really cosy to sit inside the bar, which is usually very dark with flickers of candlelight on each table. If you want a traditional Dutch experience and some of the best bitterballen in the city, visit this enchanting brown cafe in the heart of the city.
If there is a baking or cookery shop in a city, i’ll sniff it out fairly quickly. It didn’t take me long to find the amazing shop Zus en Zo
run by a very knowledgeable helpful lady, who I’ve had to bombard with questions on a number of visits. Located just off one of the main meeting points Plein 1944, I’ve spent so many days in this shop wandering around looking at all of the intricate equipment trying to find an excuse to buy another icing nozzle or another woodland animal cookie cutter. Basically, from jam making to macaroon making they have basically all of the equipment to get you started… and the books to help you along the way. So if you feel like getting lost among their shelves and want to finally buy one of those stunning copper pots then check out this specialized shop.
When i went back recently for a visit, Rob and I spent a lot of time at De Kaaij which is somewhat of a festival set up underneath one of the main bridges in Nijmegen. Here, they have live music, theatre productions and different entertainment depending on the day. Walking along the river you can start to see faint lights and a lot of colour with different beats humming, it has a real summer feel to it. At night there are armchairs and beds scattered along the sand for people to enjoy some of the drinks or great food found at the stalls. Everything has a cultured, hippy vibe to it which is really inviting. I could of easily spent every
night here, we even popped down during the day during the week for a coffee which had less of an atmosphere but nice to take it all in during the daylight. I think this is one of the great projects set up in the city, gives everyone a chance to get involved in something local which Nijmegen is great for.
If you are ever in The Netherlands, check out this underrated city for some real dutch culture and a chance to check out some of the best bars and restaurants in the country. Give it a chance, I’m really glad we did.