Wijchen, Netherlands


Wijchen is the capital of the municipality of Wijchen in the Dutch province of Gelderland. With 36,460 inhabitants (on January 1, 2020), the place is the largest in the municipality of the same name with almost 41,000 inhabitants. Wijchen is located on the southern border of Gelderland, against North Brabant.


Location and economy

Wijchen is located between the rivers Maas and Waal, immediately south-west of Nijmegen, on the motorway and railway towards Oss and 's-Hertogenbosch. Only local trains stop at Wijchen station. Along the railway line there is a commercial area with many small industrial and wholesale companies. Many Wijcheners commute because they have work in Nijmegen. There is significant agriculture in the area.



Castle Wijchen

Wijchen Castle (Dutch Kasteel van Wijchen) is a castle in the center of the town of Wijchen, in the Gelderland province of the Netherlands. The castle is used partly as a town hall and partly as a museum and is a protected cultural monument.

The first construction of the castle was erected towards the end of the 14th century; the first mention comes from 1392. Until the 17th century it was mainly a defensive structure with a different appearance than the current castle. The castle was initially owned by the Lords of Galen. Jacob van Galen sold the castle in 1535 to one of the lords of Bronckhorst, Herman van Bronckhorst. These Bronckhorsts also owned the castle in Batenburg and were therefore called the Lords of Batenburg. They played an important role in the entire region of the Duchy of Guelders. Over time the castle fell into disrepair and in 1595 Geertruid van Dalem took over the castle from the van Bronckhorsts because of their financial neglect.

After a dispute with her brother Maurice of Nassau over the inheritance of father William of Orange, Emilia of Nassau and her husband, Don Emanuel of Portugal, bought Wijchen Castle from the widow Geertruid van Dalem in 1609. They built a new castle on the old foundations. Today's appearance as a brick building with layers of bacon is shaped by this time. Emilia and Emanuel left their "signature" in the wall anchors, which are in the shape of a double "E".

In 1640 Philip of Nassau, a grandson of William of Orange, bought the castle, followed by other owners including the Osy family, who bought the castle in 1771. In 1903 it became the property of Lady van Andringa de Kempenaer, who wanted to restore the neglected castle. A devastating fire in 1906 prevented this. The noblewoman then wanted to build a new villa on the same site, but this was prevented thanks to the intervention of Victor de Stuer. The Nijmegen architect F. A. Ludewig restored the palace based on the original 17th-century blueprints.

After the death of Andringa de Kempenaer's widow, the castle became the property of the municipality of Wijchen in the 1930s, which used it as the town hall. In the 1990s the castle was thoroughly restored. Since 1996 it has housed the Museum of Castle Wijchen and the council and wedding halls of the municipality.

The dimensions of the castle are 23 × 24 meters. The southern façade protrudes slightly beyond the entrance. In the center is a courtyard with a colonnade. The tower is located in a corner of the courtyard. There are cellars under the entire castle, and the wall thickness varies from 1.60 meters to 80 centimeters. The castle is surrounded by a moat and is accessed via a drawbridge.


There are a few small nature areas in the municipality that are freely accessible to walkers.
Hernen Castle, in the village of the same name (west of Wijchen), was built in 1369. Since it has never been besieged or destroyed in its history, it is still largely in its original condition. The castle can be visited from time to time. The surroundings of the castle are beautiful and varied.

Batenburg Castle, in the former town of the same name, where the Lords of Bronkhorst lived from 1315, has been a ruin since 1794. Batenburg is now a small farming village. A house where the city coins were struck in the late Middle Ages ("Die Munte") still indicates that Batenburg was a city in the past.
A large Hindu temple was opened and inaugurated in Wijchen in January 2006 for the Suriname ethnic minority, which includes many people of Indian origin. The sanctuary is the largest Hindu temple in the Netherlands.
The annual international wheelchair dance event Wijchen Swingt Internationaal takes place in Wijchen, organized by the Stichting Rolstoeldansen Nederland (Foundation for Wheelchair Dancing Netherlands).
Wijchen Day is the second day of the Nijmegen March, which has been running since 1909. In 2016, at 4:00 a.m., 50,000 participants started the “hike with the most participants in the world”.


Sightseeing and recreation

Wijchen has a number of national monuments. The oldest is the centrally located Castle of Wijchen, which was first mentioned in 1392. After a fire in 1906, it got its current appearance, which goes back to the building plans from the early 17th century. In addition, De Oude Molen, dating from 1799, and the Roman Catholic Antonius Abtkerk by architect G. Gradussen, including the adjacent presbytery, are listed buildings. There are also two monumental villas on the east side of the center. One of them is hidden in a large garden. In the other, opposite, built in 1830 by Mauritz Koen, a catering facility is located.

De Berendonck, a recreational lake with a beach, offers the opportunity for diving and water skiing. It is situated in a green forest area, with a small mountain bike route of 8 kilometers (one of several MBT routes in the immediate vicinity of Wijchen). The park De Groene Heuvels, with open water for diving and holiday homes on the site, is nearby, in Ewijk, in the municipality of Beuningen. Both are located on the edge of the municipality of Wijchen. The Hatertse and Overasseltse Vennen are also partly on the territory of Wijchen.

You can also play golf or ski in Wijchen. Wijchen also has a swimming pool called de Meerval, located close to the center. An archaeological museum is located in the Wijchense castle. There is, among other things, a four-wheeled chariot from about 750 BC. to see. There are also several cycling and walking routes. De Blije Dries is a large playground, including an outdoor swimming pool, golf course and a go-kart track.


Community life

Wijchen has a rich club life. Below is a list of associations in Wijchen.

Indoor football club (ZSW) and three amateur football clubs (SC Woezik, SV AWC and VV Alverna).
Motocross club MCC Wijchen, founded at the request of the municipality of Wijchen[source?], which designated a location where it was allowed to cross. Various international and national competitions have been held there. After an existence of 30 years, the municipality has taken the cross terrain again.
Golf Club BurgGolf Wijchen
Athletics Association Wijchen (AVW)
Gymnastics and Gymnastics Association "De Leleaart"
Hockey club MHC Wijchen
Basketball club BV Wyba, formerly "Magixx"
Kickboxing club Team Wijchen
Badminton club BC Smashing
Badminton club BC Op Dreef
Various carnival associations.
Swimming club Wijchen
Tennis clubs L.T.V. Vormer, L.T.V. Haanenbergh and L.T.V. Grootven
Table tennis club ONI
Volleyball club Trivos
Handball club The Flyers
Cycling clubs TWC "de Spurt" and VeloClub Wijchen
Scouting Woezik
Scouting St. Francis
Chess Club The Castle
Shooting club Strijdlust '87



Wijchen has many events every year. Below is a summary of the largest events in Wijchen.

Emporium. This large festival of different music styles is held every year at the Berendonck. It is organized in collaboration with event organization The Matrixx.
Wijchen skates. A skating rink was/is set up in December of 2010 and 2012 in the Kasteeltuin behind Wijchen Castle. In addition to an ice rink, there is also a restaurant and a café. Various artists also perform. Wijchen Skating is held every other year.
Castle parties. Various music programs with well-known artists are held in a tent in the Kasteeltuin behind the castle.
Day of Wijchen/Nijmeegse Vierdaagse. The walkers walk through the center of Wijchen. In Wijchen there are activities and performances.
Wijchen Fair. The fair is set up every year on the third weekend of September on the Markt and on the Kasteellaan.
5 from Wijchen. Annual 5 km running competition for recreational and national top athletes.
Old Vehicles Day. Annual event during the Sunday monument day. This day is dedicated to a tour of vehicles older than 25 years. These are then set up in the Castle Garden.
The Wijchense Kermis (2007) can be seen in the Dutch film The weapon of Geldrop.



Wijchen was originally an agricultural village where habitation already existed in the Stone Age, according to some archaeological finds. Later, the residences of especially rich Romans arose. This period is therefore richly represented in the material found; especially on the Molenberg - where the Oude Molen now stands - Roman graves have been found containing many objects made of glass, metal and ceramics. Remains of ancient buildings have also been found in the other centers.

Economic and social life before World War I was dominated by a small number of families of manufacturers. The manufacturers had mainly specialized in cars and trucks.

The Edith Bridge dates from 1872. It was repaired in 1940, 1945 and 1948 after being damaged by acts of war. Today trains still run over it every day. This railway bridge near the Maas was important to recapture the area around Wijchen and Nijmegen because the other bridges in the area had been blown up, including those in Nijmegen and Gennep. The bridge had to be repaired twice during the war, in September 1940 and in February 1945. The repair by the Allies was provisional. The bridge was finally restored in 1948, so that heavy trains at higher speeds could run over it again.



Wijchen's pronunciation is often confused, even when the public address systems in the trains were automated in 2017.

The current pronunciation of Wijchen (pronunciation: Wie-chen) has been used since the Middle Ages. At the time the ie sound was written by writing an "extended" i after the i. This is to avoid confusion with the ii, which was pronounced u. This pronunciation has been maintained, even though the spelling was later changed to ij (pronunciation: ei). The Wijchenaren cherish the historical background of their village with the pronunciation and spelling.



In the middle of the center is the Markt, where a weekly market is held. There are a number of shopping streets around the Markt, which together form a medium-sized shopping center. Part of the shops are covered, this covered part is called Marktpromenade. In addition to the well-known retail chains, there are also a number of specialist stores. The center also offers food and beverage options.

Wijchen Castle with the Castle Garden is located in the center, as is the Antonius Abtkerk.

Wijchen had a one-sided range of shops with a relatively large number of clothing, shoe and electronics stores. The municipality of Wijchen has been working since 2007 to change this. More department stores and toy stores have been added as well as new facilities and new apartments. In the autumn of 2009 the renovation of the center started. The paving, plants and furniture have been renewed.

In 2013 Wijchen wins the first eTown Award presented by Google in the Netherlands. The municipality and its entrepreneurs appear to make the best use of the economic opportunities of the internet, research by the Boston Consulting Group has shown.

In addition to the shops in the center, Wijchen has three smaller shopping centers:
Tunnel road
In these centers there are shops that provide products for basic necessities.


MOB terrain

A former MOB site is located in the southeast of Wijchen, south of Alverna. MOB used to stand for mobilization complex, nowadays for Military Storage Companies. This site was managed by the Ministry of Defense and played a role in the Cold War as well as the First and Second World Wars. On site, ammunition and food were stored in about thirty sheds. In addition, there was an approximately two kilometer long 'tank track', intended to keep vehicles (including tanks) mobile. Nowadays, the site no longer has a role for Defense and has been transformed into a luxury residential area, known as 'de Boskamers'. Between 2013 and 2019, a total of 35 residential units, forest apartments and park homes, were realized in four buildings.



In addition to various primary schools, Wijchen has two schools that offer secondary education. Both schools fall under the Maaswaal College. The location on the Oosterweg provides the VMBO courses, the location on the Veenseweg provides the HAVO and VWO (both the atheneum and the gymnasium). Pro College Wijchen is a secondary school that focuses on practice. This school is also called a practical school.



Wijchen has one railway station, which has been expanded with a reversing track to make it suitable for sprinters. Until the autumn of 2011, the station had one platform for 2 tracks. In the autumn of 2011, a platform was added to guarantee safety in connection with the crowds. The third track was also taken into use in 2014. Wijchen is also located along the A50 and the A326, which intersect at the Bankhoef junction. The A73 also runs past Wijchen, near the Bijsterhuizen industrial estate and Wijchen-Oost. Wijchen is centrally located in the country, bordering North Brabant and close to the border between the Netherlands and Germany.

There is a ferry between Demen (municipality of Oss) and Batenburg, which connects the towns, as well as the two municipalities and the provinces of Gelderland and North Brabant.


Television and radio

Wijchen's oldest local broadcaster is the Wijchense Omroep, which broadcasts television programs and also owns a radio station. The commercial local broadcaster WijchenTV has been active in Wijchen and the municipality of Wijchen for several years. In 2018, the documentary film 'From farmer's hole to small town' was released. This film was about the growth of Wijchen in the period 1960-1980.



Willem von Wrangel auf Lindenberg (1815–1896), lieutenant general
Gerrit Nicolaas de Voogt (1844–1911), politician
Anthonij Moll (1851–1916), jurist and politician
Petrus Stornebrink (1853–1910), architect
Ton Luijten (1939-2015), Dutch scholar and publicist
Jos Verbeeten (1946), politician
Harry Keereweer (1949), politician
Cor van Kessel (1903-1985), director of the Volkskrant
Ine Lamers (1954), photographer
Dave Donkervoort (1962), radio DJ and producer
Ralf Elshof (1962), cyclist
Rick Hilgers (1962), footballer
Fred Rutten (1962), football player and football coach
Ronald van der Kemp (1964), fashion designer
Marcel Thijsen (1968), politician
Chiel Burgers (1975), football player
Roy Makaay (1975), football player and football coach
Bjorn Cornelissen (1976), cyclist
Didie Schackman (1977), Miss Netherlands 1995
Claudia van Thiel (1977), volleyball player
Anne Stalman (1981), singer
Pieter Derks (1984), comedian
Fleur de Weerd (1985), journalist
Lieke Klaus (1989), BMX star
Sam van der Schot (1990), football player
Mark Roebbers (1992), footballer
Julian Willems (1992), footballer
Lakshmi Swami Persaud (1993), singer
Bonita Theunissen (1994), football player
Joël Piroe (1999), footballer
Koen Jansen (2004), footballer