The university year is coming to an end and with the first heat wave already past, summer is well under way. But what is there to do in Wageningen and the rest of the Netherlands if you are not going away? There’s lots to do, so much that it’s almost impossible to stay home.
Music Meeting Nijmegen
A festival with music from all over the world, the first weekend in July in the Brakkenstein Park in Nijmegen. There are performers from Brazil, Pakistan, Ethiopia, Argentina and much more, as well as workshops and a children’s programme.
Date: 1,2, 3 July
Cost: Some of the performances are free; you have to pay to see the top performers. A day ticket costs around 20 euros. You can buy tickets through the Ticketservice (0900 300 1250) or from the Post Office.
A unique phenomenon, the international four-day long-distance walking event is the biggest of its kind in the world. Around 45,000 walkers from 60 different countries will participate, but for those who are not walking there is plenty to do as well. There are over 200 live performances on 25 open-air stages in the centre of Nijmegen, during a weeklong party with the theme ‘Meet friends, have fun and enjoy the music’.
Tuesday 19 July, huge fireworks spectacular with sound and light, the biggest show of its kind in the Netherlands. The Waalkade (river bank in the centre of Nijmegen) is transformed into a huge disco with international performers.
Friday 22 July, watch the walkers on their final stretch as they come into Nijmegen, around the Waal Bridge and the river.
Date: 16 – 22 July
Info: www.nijmeegsevierdaagsefeesten.nl (Dutch only)
At the end of July the centre of Rotterdam is transformed for a tropical carnival. The event attracts more than a million visitors from all over Europe and further afield. It is a colourful multicultural festival that starts on the Thursday with a Pre Party at the Strand aan de Maas on the river right in the middle of town. On Friday you can warm up with the Battle of Drums, the official start of the carnival, in which bands compete against each other along the Coolsingel for the title of Best Brass Band Zomercarnaval 2005. The carnival climax is on Saturday 30 July with the Straatparade, the procession of floats and people in costumes swinging through the streets of Rotterdam. There are stages throughout the centre of town and you can dance until late at La Noche Grande del Carnival, in the Cruise Terminal.
Date: 28, 29, 30 July
Cost: Everything is free, except for the final party in the Cruise Terminal. Tickets for that cost 20 euros and are available through Ticketservice (0900 300 1250).
Festival De Gelderse Muziek Zomer
For classical music lovers there are more than two weeks of concerts in Gelderland from 4 to 20 August. The Festival de Gelderse Muziek Zomer makes use of venues in and around Nijmegen, Apeldoorn, Arnhem and Nijkerk, hosting up and coming young musicians as well as famous performers from the Netherlands and abroad.
Date: 4 – 20 August
Cost: Varies, open-air concerts are free for everyone. If you are under 26 everything is free, candlelight concerts cost 5 euros, and the rest 10 euros.
Info: www.geldersemuziekzomer.nl (Dutch only)
>Cultural, educational, recreational
If you’ve had enough of partying, there are a number of attractions close to Wageningen that are worth visiting.
The open-air museum in Arnhem was voted European Museum of the Year 2005. The museum has exhibitions, old buildings and presentations all in pleasant surroundings, which give an impression of how life in the Netherlands was lived in the past.
Opening times: every day 10.00 – 17.00
Cost: 11.70 euros
Info: a href="http://www.openluchtmuseum.nl" target="_blank">www.openluchtmuseum.nl
The Dutch water museum is located in Arnhem. It is a contemporary, interactive museum that presents all aspects of fresh water. It’s a real hands-on museum where you can walk along a sewer, see a film about water, as well as learning about dyke management, drinking water, ground water and water use in the Netherlands and the rest of the world.
Opening times: Tuesday to Saturday 9.30 – 17.30
Cost: 7.50 euros
The National Park De Hoge Veluwe is a must for nature lovers, but there is also something for everyone there. It is one of the oldest and biggest national parks in the Netherlands, with 5,500 hectares of forest, heather, pools and sands. In the middle of the park is the Kröller Müller Museum with paintings and a sculpture garden, and a little further along the Museonder (museum under the ground) and a visitors’ centre. The Hoge Veluwe provides a unique combination of nature, art and architecture. You can spend hours walking or cycling on one of the free white bikes.
Opening times: July 8.00 – 22.00, August 8.00 – 21.00
Park entry: 6 euros
Burgers Zoo is not just any old zoo with animals in cages. The inhabitants of the zoo are part of an ecosystem. Thanks to the realistic settings the animals feel at home and display their natural behaviour. In addition to the zoo, there are also separate ecological areas of ocean, desert, mangrove and bush, so you can go on a real safari just outside Arnhem.
Opening times: Every day 9.00 – 19.00
Cost: 15.50 euros
>Closer to home
If you want to stay close to home, Wageningen also has things to offer
Uiterwaarden by the Rhine
The Uiterwaarden is the name for the flood plain area between town and the River Rhine. During the summer it’s a favourite spot for enjoying the sun and having a lazy time with friends. If it’s really hot you can cool off in the Rhine, but be aware that it is a fast flowing river with a current that has claimed some lives. The shipping traffic also makes it unsafe and the water is not totally clean. Nevertheless it’s fun to take a walk along the river or through the nature reserve there, and many people take a picnic or even barbecue late into the evening.
Free and always open
There are two arboretums in Wageningen, on both sides of the Generaal Foulkesweg. Both house collections of trees and plants, and are attractively laid out parks where you can walk, sit and picnic. The big arboretum at the top of the hill has beautiful views over the Rhine and the Uiterwaarden.
Free and always open
The General Introduction Days (AID) are from Friday 19 August to Wednesday 24 August this year in Wageningen. This is the week in which Wageningen shows the new students what there is to do here with workshops, presentations by student clubs and excursions, but students already here should not miss it either. There are parties most evenings at the student associations and a street festival on the last day with acts from far and wide: dance, acrobatics, music and theatre.
>And for later…
The Uitmarkt in Amsterdam is the national opening of the cultural year, providing a foretaste of what’s coming in the new season. For three days Amsterdam presents hundreds of free performances on the street and inside: theatre, music, dance, literature, new media and lots more.
Date: 26, 27 and 28 August
Info: www.uitmarkt.nl (Dutch only)
Rotterdam has one of the largest ports in the world. During the Wereldhavendagen (World Port Days) there are presentations on the water and the wharves, and the high points of the three days are the lamplight parade of ships and fireworks, best seen from the Erasmus Bridge.
Date: 2,3 and 4 September
Info: www.wereldhavendagen.nl (Dutch only)
If you plan to go to some of the activities outside Wageningen you’ll have some travelling to do, so here are a few tips to make it easier.
The VVV tourist information on the Stadsbrink, next to the bus station, has information on walking and cycle routes. You can rent a bike from most bike shops in Wageningen if you don’t already have one.
The Dutch railways (NS) have a special summer deal, the NS Zomertoer. This enables you to two days of unlimited train travel (second class) throughout the Netherlands for two or three people. The ticket is valid for a week, which means you can visit a number of different places of festivals for a reasonable price. Valid from 1 July to 31 August.
Price: 59 euros for two people, 79 euros for three people.
There is also a Zomertoer Plus, which gives you unlimited use of buses, trams and metros as well.
Price: 69 euros for two, 95 euros for three.
You can buy the tickets at the train station, but also from the Post Office, VVV tourist information and Albert Heijn. / LH