A summer capital is the place to be during the summer. Several countries have or have had an official summer capital, like Shimla in British India, but there are just as many unofficial ones: Palanga in Lithuania, Pärnu in Estonia, Sochi in Russia, Cannes in France and Kragerø in Norway. In the 19th century, the German Baden Baden was the summer capital of Europe for artists. Around 1900, Nijmegen was the summer capital for tourists from the rest of Holland. They fled the busyness of the city and ended up in wonderful Berg and Dal and Nijmegen. Dating back to the Roman Empire, Nijmegen is the oldest city in the Netherlands. We like to think the Romans started this tradition of spending the summer in Nijmegen.
Even now, Nijmegen has the best reason to be the summer capital of Holland. The city is bursting with activity in the summer and there is class-A nature surrounding it. And, not unimportantly, Nijmegen is one of the few cities in the Netherlands with natural Costas! With its island in the river Waal and the newly dug channel, the city has even bathing water in the heart of town!
Nijmegen might be the best kept secret of the Netherlands. It has a rich history of events, some of them organized by the young creative people in the city. For example, it has over 180 dance music organizations! Not only there are a lot of dance events, there are also many other activities in the city and the region. These include music festivals like Down the Rabbit Hole and Music Meeting, pop concerts in the Goffert Park, events at the creative Honig-complex, Summer Schools at Radboud University and cultural activities in art-cinema LUX or pop-center Doornroosje.
And let’s not forget the Vierdaagsefeesten (a whole week of partying during the Four Days Marches) in the third week of July. With 1.5 million visitors, it’s the third biggest open air festival of Europe! But that’s not all; Nijmegen has a lot more to offer. Cool, hip stores in town. There are beaches in the city and an island with endless possibilities! Nature’s only a stone’s throw away from the city center. Different kinds of scenic areas around the city where you can take a relaxing walk, go for a run, or an exciting mountain bike course. And when you’re all done, have a drink and a bite to eat in town. There are places enough to do this; Nijmegen has the highest terrace-density of the Netherlands. It has a right to call itself the summer capital of Holland!