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.
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:
In these centers there are shops that provide products for basic necessities.