Nijmegen in oorlog

Urban development
The economic retardation of the nineteenth century was not easily overcome. The growth of the number of inhabitants was stronger than the growth of employment. The great crisis of the 1930s also hit Nijmegen. To fight unemployment, the city commissioned the digging of the Maas-Waal Canal (1927) and realisation of Volkspark The Goffert (1935).

Ruined city
The Second World War hit Nijmegen very hard. On 22 February 1944, allied bombers dropped their deadly load on Nijmegen by mistake (the pilots thought it was a German city). It was a catastrophe; the city centre was totally ruined, some 800 citizens were killed, and hundreds of people were injured. In the Town Hall’s courtyard – the very spot where a primary school was located – a monument in the shape of a 4-metre high iron swing was erected in memory of this bombardment.

Liberated city
On 17 September of that same year, the allied forces launched Operation Market Garden. From September 1944 until March 1945, Nijmegen was a front-line city that lay under continuous enemy fire. Again, hundreds of citizens lost their lives and large parts of the city were destroyed.Frontstad Nijmegen