Municipalities of our region
Welcome to our Arnhem – Nijmegen – Wageningen region! Situated in the largest province of the Netherlands, Gelderland, we comprise 18 municipalities with varied characteristics. Although the reach of our region far extends its geographical borders, these communities are its heart.
The municipality of Arnhem contains the capital (by the same name) of the province of Gelderland. The city was founded around 1500 BC on the banks of river Rhine. Historically it’s famous for the Battle of Arnhem and the Bridge too Far that marked the location where the Allied operation Market Garden failed so heroically but disastrously during WWII. These days over 155.000 people call the municipality of Arnhem home and, as an important hub, it houses all sorts of facilities and places of interest. As it’s also home to a great number of pioneering technological companies, Arnhem is set to write history again with regards to the worldwide energy transition.
Berg en Dal
Berg en Dal comprises the former municipalities of Groesbeek, Millingen aan de Rijn and Ubbergen —which were all merged into one on 1 January 2015 — and is called after the village with the charming name of Berg en Dal (literally mountain and dale). It’s directly adjacent to Nijmegen and a beautiful green area that’s in stark relief with the urban, industrial charm of that city. Berg en Dal has approximately 37,000 inhabitants and receives most of its visitors during the third day of the International Four Days Marches (colloquially known as the Vierdaagse).
Beuningen consists of the parishes of Beuningen, Ewijk, Weurt and Winssen. The municipality has nearly 26,000 inhabitants, most of whom live in Beuningen itself (approximately 17,000 inhabitants). The area’s long Roman history has led to a great number of Roman excavations. The villages of Beuningen were all aimed at agriculture and quite poor up until the 1930s. Since then, improved connectivity to the river Waal (through the construction of the Maas-Waal channel and harbour) and the nearby city of Nijmegen (through the use of a steam tram) ensured a better outcome. A lot of commuters live in Beuningen and it has an active football club and field hockey club.
Doesburg municipality is named for the city of Doesburg, which received city rights all the way back in 1237! The fortified city is on the river IJssel and was highly important in an administrative and economic capacity during the late Middle Ages. After the 15th century, it became more of a sleepy provincial town, until it gained protected historic status in 1974. These days, it draws a lot of tourism and there are several campsites in the north. It’s vicinity to river and road make the area ideal for transport and construction companies. Approximately 11,000 people live in the municipality.
Druten has just under 19,000 inhabitants, most of whom live in Druten itself (approximately 12,000). Apart from Druten, the municipality comprises the parishes of Afferden, Deest, Horssen and Puiflijk. Most of these towns were already in existence in 1100 AD and were historically always quite wealthy — agriculture has always been an important driving force in the area. Some of the villages even had a larger population in the Middle Ages than they do now. Druten’s typically Dutch landscape is characterised by the river: meandering dykes, scour holes, natural flood plains and fertile orchards. The town of Druten is also home to the famous Dickens Festijn, a festival celebrating the life and works of Charles Dickens by recreating scenes from the version of historical England that’s described in his books.
The municipality of Duiven is situated on a larger piece of land that used to belong to the historically prominent German state of Prussia. The area was yielded to the Netherlands in 1808, but after Duiven was separated from Westervoort to become its own municipality in 1813, it was given back to Prussia on the same day. After the Congress of Vienna — in which borders were reordered as part of a plan for long-term European peace after the French Revolutionary and Napoleonic Wars — Duiven was part of the Netherlands once again, and that hasn’t changed the past 200 years! Apart from Duiven itself, you have the residential centres of Groessen and Loo; together these comprise just over 25,000 inhabitants. The municipality sees a lot of economic activity such as wholesale trade, logistics and industry. It benefits from its location between Arnhem and the Dutch-German border. It also houses a home-improvement centre, IKEA and the largest Intratuin garden centre of the country.
Heumen is only just still a part of the province of Gelderland: on one side it’s separated from Noord-Brabant by the river Maas and directly on its right is Limburg. Its residential centres are Malden, Overasselt, Heumen and Nederasselt, and a small part of Molenhoek is also insides its borders. Just over 16,000 people call the municipality of Heumen home. It’s a green and pleasant region that has a reputation for great responsiveness when it comes to carrying out improvements that have been requested by its inhabitants: in 2019, it’s been awarded the Verbeterdebuurt (literally: improve the neighbourhood) prize for the second year in a row.
The merger of the municipalities of Bemmel, Gendt and Huissen in 2001 led to the formation of Lingewaard. Originally, the municipality was going to be called Bemmel, after its largest population centre, but inhabitants voted for the new name of Lingewaard. The municipality is conveniently situated between Arnhem and Nijmegen, and a lot of the inhabitants work in one of these cities. Lingewaard borders on the extensive nature reserve Gelderse Poort, which crosses the border into Germany. In the Gelderse Poort, wind, water, flora and fauna have been given free reign, and you can go for wonderful walks there. Lingewaard is also famous for the Bemmelse Dweildag, a festival that is held in Bemmel every June and celebrates marching band music —approximately 2,000 musicians and 25,000 visitors flock to the Dweildag every year.
With Germany on its southern border, the municipality of Montferland spans approximately 107 km² and has nearly 36,000 inhabitants. It has a rich history, beautiful, hilly surroundings and stunning historical architecture; ‘s-Heerenberg is especially famous for Huis Bergh, which dates to the 13th century and is one of the largest castles in the Netherlands. It houses a panel of the Archangel Gabriel by the Italian artist Duccio. The municipality has a whopping 53 entries in the Dutch register for national heritage sites. The famous long-distance walking route Pieterpad passes through the region. Montferland is often named as one of the most beautiful municipalities in our country.
Mook en Middelaar
The rolling landscape of Mook en Middelaar was created during the last ice age, over 160,000 years ago. Of our core municipalities, Mook en Middelaar is the only one that’s not in Gelderland, but in Limburg. It’s also one of the smallest municipalities, but still packs a lot in! Apart from the discovery of significant Roman ruins, it is historically famous for the Battle of Mookerheyde of 1574 during the Eighty Years’ War, the German offensive of May 1940 and the Allied offensive to secure the Heumen Bridge in September 1944. 322 Allied soldiers who were killed in action in the area are buried at Mook War Cemetery. A few decades later, sand was dug out from the banks of the river Maas to support the cement industry. This led to the forming of the popular Mookerplassen recreational lakes, which are a favourite summer haunt of many visitors.
The municipality of Nijmegen is defined by the biggest city of the province by the same name. Nijmegen City is the oldest city in the Netherlands and the first to be recognised as such during Roman times. It celebrated its 2000th birthday in 2005. Apart from being the oldest, it’s also one of the warmest cities of the country, especially during summer. The history of Nijmegen is so rich and varied, that it definitely warrants a Google! The city is famous for the Radboud University and the HAN University of Applied Sciences. It has recently also become an international model for flood management: in 2015, as part of the Room for the River project, the river Waal — which is directly adjacent to Nijmegen — was significantly broadened and the artificial island Veur-Lent was created.
On 1 January 2001, the municipalities of Elst, Heteren and Valburg were joined together to create Overbetuwe. It has two natural borders: the river Rhine in the north and the Waal in the south. Its city hall is in Elst, the largest and most ancient town of Overbetuwe — it was first mentioned in verifiable records in 726 AD and features ruins of several Roman temples. Population-wise Overbetuwe is the eighth largest municipality of the province, with over 46,000 inhabitants. Just like Lingewaard, it’s ideal for commuters to Nijmegen and Arnhem, and therefore very popular. In 2004, construction started on the new district Westeraam; after completion, this district will have added an impressive 2,500 houses to Elst.
Renkum is directly adjacent to the municipality of Arnhem and comprises the residential centres of Doorwerth, Heelsum, Heveadorp, Oosterbeek, Renkum and Wolfheze. Originally, the entire region was a part of the municipality of Oosterbeek. Oosterbeek was split into Renkum and Doorwerth in 1818. In 1923, Doorwerth was dissolved and added to Renkum. The region — and especially Oosterbeek — was scarred by the aforementioned Battle of Arnhem. For that reason, Oosterbeek has an Airborne Museum — referring to the Allied Airborne forces trying to liberate Arnhem and the surrounding area in 1944 —and hosts the Airborne March every September; this is the largest one-day march in the world. The quite wealthy municipality of Renkum is also very lush and green; this is made apparent by the fact that Oosterbeek won a gold medal in the international horticultural competition Entente Florale Europe.
The oldest reference to the villages and towns that now make up the municipality of Rheden date back to the ninth century. The area sprouted a significant number of estates, spanning nearly all the area from Arnhem to Dieren. These estates often had impressive mansions or castles, some of which can still be admired: Kasteel Middachten (from the 14th century), Kasteel Biljoen (16th century) and Huis Rhederoord (18th century), for example. The municipality itself was created all the way back in 1573. It was split into Dieren and Velp in 1812, but quickly coalesced again in 1818. Rheden is situated to the east of Arnhem and bordered by the Veluwe nature reserve on its northerly side and the river IJssel to the south. Its seven villages are on a strip of land which separates forest and river. The valley of the river IJssel has been marked by European nature conservation network Natura 2000 as a protected area because of its natural wealth.
Rozendaal lies to the northeast of Arnhem City and is — on average — a very wealthy municipality: it’s the fifth millionaire’s municipality of the country; this means that only four other municipalities house more millionaires than Rozendaal. It also has the lowest number of inhabitants on the Dutch mainland (only the island municipalities of Vlieland and Schiermonnikoog have fewer inhabitants). It’s a charming village with a lot of natural beauty, and the grounds of Kasteel Rosendael are home to the infamous treacherous fountain de Bedriegertjes (literally the little tricksters), an attraction that draws many school tours.
Since 2017, Westervoort is the smallest municipality of the Netherlands by surface area (only 7.85 km² of which 1 km² is water). The settlement of Westervoort itself dates to 726 AD. Despite its small size, it houses over 14,000 inhabitants. Historically, the rivers Nederrijn and IJssel hemmed Westervoort in, and transport to nearby Arnhem was taken care of by ferry and temporary pontoon bridges. The railway bridge that was established in 1855 became the first fixed means for traffic to get across; the first road bridge for other types of traffic was finished in 1901. This increased connectivity led to a gradual grow in population that meant that the farmland of Westervoort had to make way to houses for commuters. By the 1980s the agricultural character had nearly all but gone. Today, it’s still defined by a population that works in the nearby Dutch and German cities.
The municipality of Wijchen was founded on 1 January 1984 from the former municipalities of Batenburg, Bergharen and Wijchen. It has just over 40,000 inhabitants, most of which live in the town of Wijchen itself: the population of the eponymous town is approximately five times greater than that of the individual villages combined. Furthermore, the town is ancient: proof has been found of people living in Wijchen during the Stone Age. The municipality is rich in historical architecture, such as its beautiful castle, ancient windmill and Roman Catholic church. Wijchen has a large number of clubs and associations, as well as various fun and famous events, such musical festival Emporium, the Kasteelfeesten (literally: castle festival) and its annual fair. It’s also included in the previously mentioned world-famous Four Days Marches (Vierdaagse).
Zevenaar is named for its city, which in turn was named after warlord Bartholomeus II of Sevenaer in 1049. Just like Duiven, the land that Zevenaar is on, was conceded to the Netherlands by the Prussian state in 1808; and similarly, it was returned to Prussia in 1813 and given to the Netherlands again after the Congress of Vienna, on 1 June 1816. Being on the German border, Zevenaar suffered severely in WWII, and especially the city itself was heavily damaged. Effective post-war reconstruction has seen the low population numbers triple in the past 70 years, however, and two new districts were added in 2007. Zevenaar City has a regional function for the other towns: the sole secondary school of the municipality is located there.