Nijmegen is a city in the Netherlands' province of Gelderland, on the Waal river close to the German border. Nijmegen is the oldest city in the Netherlands, the second to be recognized as such in Roman times, in 2005 celebrated 2,000 years of existence; the municipality is part of the Arnhem–Nijmegen metropolitan area, with 736,107 inhabitants in 2011. The municipality is formed by the city of Nijmegen, incorporating the former villages of Hatert and Neerbosch, as well as the urban expansion project of Waalsprong, situated north of the river Waal and including the village of Lent and the hamlet of't Zand, as well as the new suburbs of Nijmegen-Oosterhout and Nijmegen–Ressen; the city lies a few kilometers from the border with Germany, to some extent the westernmost villages in the municipality of Kranenburg, function as dormitories for people who work in the Dutch city of Nijmegen in part due to the immigration of Dutch people from the region who were attracted by the lower house pricing just across the border.
The German city of Duisburg is about 78 km away. The first mention of Nijmegen in history is in the 1st century BC, when the Romans built a military camp on the place where Nijmegen was to appear. By 69, when the Batavians, the original inhabitants of the Rhine and Maas delta, revolted, a village called Oppidum Batavorum had formed near the Roman camp; this village was destroyed in the revolt, but when it had ended the Romans built another, bigger camp where the Legio X Gemina was stationed. Soon after, another village formed around this camp. In 98, Nijmegen was the first of two settlements in what is now the Kingdom of the Netherlands to receive Roman city rights. In 103, the X Gemina was re-stationed to Vindobona, modern day Vienna, which may have been a major blow to the economy of the village around the camp, losing around 5000 inhabitants. In 104 Emperor Trajan renamed the town, which now became known as Ulpia Noviomagus Batavorum, Noviomagus for short. Beginning in the second half of the 4th century, Roman power decreased and Noviomagus became part of the Frankish kingdom.
It appeared around this time on the Peutinger Map. In the 8th century Emperor Charlemagne maintained his palatium in Nijmegen in 777, on at least three more occasions. During his brief deposition of 830, the emperor Louis the Pious was sent to Nijmegen by his son Lothar I. Thanks to the Waal river, trade flourished; the powerful Henry VI, Holy Roman Emperor was born at Nijmegen in 1165. In 1230 his son Frederick II, Holy Roman Emperor granted Nijmegen city rights. In 1247, the city was ceded to the count of Guelders as collateral for a loan; the loan was never repaid, Nijmegen has been a part of Gelderland since. This did not hamper trade; the arts flourished in this period. Famous medieval painters like the Limbourg brothers were educated in Nijmegen; some of Hieronymus Bosch's ancestors came from the city. During the Dutch Revolt, trade came to a halt and though Nijmegen became a part of the Republic of United Provinces after its capture from the Spanish in 1591, it remained a border town and had to endure multiple sieges.
In 1678 Nijmegen was host to the negotiations between the European powers that aimed to put an end to the constant warfare that had ravaged the continent for years. The result was the Treaty of Nijmegen that failed to provide for a lasting peace. In the second half of the 19th century, the fortifications around the city became a major problem. There were too many inhabitants inside the walls, but the fortifications could not be demolished because Nijmegen was deemed as being of vital importance to the defence of the Netherlands; when events in the Franco-Prussian war proved that old-fashioned fortifications were no more of use, this policy was changed and the fortifications were dismantled in 1874. The old castle had been demolished in 1797, so that its bricks could be sold. Through the second half of the 19th century and the first half of the 20th century, Nijmegen grew steadily; the Waal was bridged in 1878 by a rail bridge and in 1936 by a car bridge, claimed to be Europe's biggest bridge at the time.
In 1923 the current Radboud University Nijmegen was founded and in 1927 a channel was dug between the Waal and Maas rivers. In 1940, the Netherlands was invaded by Germany with Nijmegen being the first Dutch city to fall into German hands. On 22 February 1944, Nijmegen was bombed by American planes, causing great damage to the city centre, it was subsequently claimed by the Allies that the American pilots thought they were bombing the German city of Kleve, while the Germans alleged that it was a planned operation authorised by the Dutch government in exile. The Dutch organization for investigating wartime atrocities, the NIOD, announced in January 2005 that its study of the incident confirmed that it was an accident caused by poor communications and chaos in the airspace. Over 750 people died in the bombardment. During September 1944, the city saw heavy fighting during Operation Market Garden; the objective in Nijmegen was to prevent the Germans from destroying the bridges. Capturing the road bridge allowed the British Army XXX Corps to attempt to reach the 1st British Airborne Division in Arnhem.
The bridge was defended by over 300 German troops on both the north and south sides with close to 20 anti-tank guns and two anti-aircraft guns, supported with artillery. The Germans' late atte
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