Nijmwegen - Encyclopedia

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NIJMWEGEN,NIMEGUEN, NYMEGEN Or Nimwegen, a town in the province of Gelderland, Holland, on the left bank of the Waal, 241 m. by rail E. by S. of Tiel. It has regular steamboat communication with Rotterdam, Cologne and Arnhem, and steamtramways connect it with the popular resorts of Neerbosch, Beek and Berg - en - Dal in the vicinity. Pop. (1904) 49,342. Nijmwegen is very prettily situated on the slopes of five low hills rising from the river-side. It stands up with a boldness quite unusual in a Dutch town, and steps are even necessary to lead to the higher portions of the town. In1877-1884the old town walls were demolished, a promenade and gardens taking their place, and since then a new quarter has grown up on the south side with a fine open place called the Emperor Charles's Plain. On the east of the town is the beautiful park called the Valkhof, which marks the site of the old palace of the Carolingian emperors. The palace was still inhabitable in 1787, but was ruined by the French bombardment of 1794, and only two portions of it remain. These are a part of the choir of the 12th-century palacechurch, and a sixteen-sided baptistry originally consecrated by Pope Leo III. in 799 and rebuilt in the 12th or 13th century. Close by is the lofty tower of the Belvedere, dating from 1646. The Groote Kerk of St Stephen forms with its tall square tower one of the most striking features in the general views of the town. Originally built about 1272, it dates in its present condition mainly from the 15th and 16th centuries. In the choir is the fine monument of Catherine of Bourbon (d. 1469), wife of Adolphus of Egmont, duke of Gelderland, with a brass of the duchess, and the heraldic achievements of the house of Bourbon. There is also a fine organ. The interesting Renaissance townhall was built in 1554 (restored in 1879). It is adorned with the effigies of kings and emperors who were once benefactors of Nijmwegen. Inside are to be found some fine wood-carving, tapestries, pictures and a cumbrous safe in which the town charters were so jealously preserved that the garrison used to be called out and the city gates closed whenever they were consulted. There is also an interesting museum of antiquities. Other buildings of note are the theatre (1839), the Protestant hospital, the Roman Catholic or Canisius hospital (1866), and the old weigh-house and Flesher's Hall, probably built in 1612 and restored in 1885. Between 1656 and 1678 Nijmwegen was the seat of a university. Beer, Prussian blue, leather, tin, pottery, cigars, and gold and silver work are the chief industrial products, and there is a considerable trade by rail and river.

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