I bet you want to explore more Dutch cities, so today I’ll introduce you to one of my favorites: Arnhem. Growing up in a small town near Arnhem, I have been visiting this city ever since I was a little girl. Arnhem isn’t a typical student- or tourist city, but there are many young folks due to the Hogeschool of Arnhem and Nijmegen – which is renowned for its art- and design studies.
Most Dutchies from the Randstad will mockingly tell you that ‘civilization stops beyond Utrecht’. Total bullshit, if you ask me. Of course, we have the small towns where everybody is sound asleep at 10 p.m. But Arnhem is an exciting city with lots of history, art, shops, monuments and parks. When you arrive at Arnhem CS, the new train station that took almost 8 years to build, you’ll be in the heart of the city within a couple of minutes. So, you’ve got the entire day ahead of you, what’s next?
Arnhem is one of the largest shopping cities in the Netherlands, but still holds on to a cozy atmosphere. Besides the regular stores (like Zara, H&M, Bershka, V&D, Mango, HEMA), there are also a few stores you won’t find in Utrecht. To the ultimate delight of most poor students: the Primark moved in a couple of years ago in the building of warehouse Bijenkorf. However, the absolute must-visit is the Lunchwinkel. In a tiny, 17th century building, the people from the Lunchwinkel serve all kinds of treats: but you must taste their specialty, the stroopwafels. My favorite is a plate with stroopwafel crumbs, to share with your friends. Besides that, this is the perfect place to score gifts for your friends or family: typical Dutch stroopwafels or other treats. These are more worth your money than the extremely tourist-gifts you can get in Utrecht or Amsterdam.
You can find this stroopwafel heaven at Jansstraat 26.
- A night out
Going for drinks in Arnhem will give you a different taste of partying in the Netherlands. The nightlife is lively and the people here are mostly locals, or people from the surrounding cities and towns. Where to start your night out? Try the Korenmarkt, where you’ll find many bars and clubs. Just hop in, order a drink and explore Arnhem’s nightlife! And yes, even in Arnhem you can order a meter of beer 😉
- Historical Arnhem
When entering the heart of Arnhem, you’ll immediately notice the beautiful old buildings and tiny alleyways throughout the city. But there is a hidden treat that you don’t want to miss: the 36 ancient cellars, which can be found under the shopping streets. They’ve been restored in their old glory in 2001, and are connected with each other, so you can wander through them. The historic cellars are opened from Tuesday to Saturday, from 12:00-17:00 p.m. For only €4,- you can explore the cellars on your own, throw in another euro and you’ll get a guided tour.
Another must-see is the Saint Eusebius Church on the marketplace. This 15th century church has much to offer: historical objects, a famous organ, burial vaults that will take you back to the 1000s, a panorama elevator up to 73m height and regular expositions. Every year, the Fashion Biënnale is held in this church, where fashion designers show their creations. In short, this church knows how to perfectly combine the old with the contemporary.
I believe I gave you plenty reasons to visit Arnhem – and I haven’t even mentioned all the great restaurants! If you’re looking for a historical Dutch city, where you can experience the real Dutch life beyond students and tourists, this is the number one city you’ll have to check out. With the vast web of shopping streets, historical buildings and (war) monuments around every corner, cozy cafés and restaurants, Arnhem won’t bore you!