Arnhem is the capital of the Dutch province of Gelderland. The city has been around for several years. The name Arneym appears in a register at the end of the ninth century. The first settlement arose on higher ground and not on the Rhine bank, which would be an obvious reasoning. Arnhem received city rights in 1233 and a few decades later a city wall was built that was expanded several times and was demolished in the nineteenth century. In the mid-fifteenth century, Arnhem joined the Hanseatic League. Joining this trade alliance resulted in a flourishing economy. The city really started to grow in the second half of the nineteenth century. This trend continued into the twentieth century.
According to ehistorylib, Arnhem is a city with different faces. The historic heart of Arnhem suffered greatly from the bombings that took place here during the Second World War. As a result, the center has relatively many younger buildings. Thanks to various museums and sights you can see and experience what the war has done to Arnhem and its inhabitants. We doubted for a while whether we should put the Arnhem trolleybuses in the top 10 sights of Arnhem. They look almost the same as the normal buses and let’s be honest: beautiful is different. What makes the trolleybuses so special is that this is the first variant of electric buses that has been driving around in Arnhem since 1949.
The central location of Arnhem has ensured that a number of important sights have settled here. Think of the Koninklijke Burger’s Zoo, which is one of the most popular zoos in the Netherlands. Or at the Dutch Open Air Museum where you can get acquainted with the culture of the Netherlands in various ways. More than half a million visitors come here every year. Arnhem is also conveniently located for one of the most beautiful nature reserves in the Netherlands: the Veluwe. Both Veluwezoom National Park and De Hoge Veluwe National Park are located in the vicinity of Arnhem.
Top 10 sights of Arnhem
#1. Park Sonsbeek
We think that if an election of the most beautiful city parks in the Netherlands were to be held, Park Sonsbeek would have a good chance of winning this title. It is not for nothing that we put this 67-hectare park in first place of the top 10 places of interest in Arnhem. The strength of the park lies in the diversity of the design and the height differences, which give you beautiful views of the city of Arnhem, especially on the southern side. The park is most beautiful in the summer months, when the large grazers are in the meadow. Important attractions within this city park are Huis Sonsbeek, Paviljoen Sonsbeek, the White Water Mill and the Dutch Water Museum.
#2. Burger’s Zoo
Arnhem is blessed with one of the most beautiful zoos in the Netherlands: Burgers’ Zoo. The official name is Koninklijke Burgers’ Zoo. They have been allowed to use the title ‘Royal’ since their 100th anniversary in 2013. At Burger’s Zoo you can admire hundreds of animal species, which are placed in different habitats. In the Burger’s Safari you imagine yourself somewhere on an African savannah, in Burger’s Bush you can see animals that live in a rainforest and the aquatic animals are housed in Burger’s Ocean. Among the animals that you could see in this zoo are of course toppers such as the lion, the tiger, the elephant, the meerkat and various monkey species. Burger’s Zoo is a great outing for young and old, where you can easily spend a day.
#3. Dutch Open Air Museum
A museum about the Netherlands. That is the shortest way to the Dutch Open Air Museumto describe. This outdoor museum is one of the most visited museums in the Netherlands. It is striking that the museum is very popular as a museum outing. Various elements have been added to make it even more interesting for children, such as a nice outdoor playground and of course the tram ride across the museum grounds. The Netherlands Open Air Museum is a cultural history museum that sheds light on life in the Netherlands through the ages. For example, you can visit a typical Zaanse neighborhood in the Dorp sub-area, the Platteland sub-area shows how the dairy industry works and you get to know the real Amsterdam in the Landgoed sub-area. Sometimes you come across surprising elements that will immediately evoke a sense of recognition.
A part of the Dutch Open Air Museum that deserves a special mention is the Canon of the Netherlands. Here you will become acquainted with fifty elements from the daily life of the Netherlands that have influenced the shaping of the Netherlands as a country and society over the years. Allow at least an hour for the Canon of the Netherlands if you want to experience it optimally.
#4. Eusebius Church
You will undoubtedly see the church tower of the Eusebiuskerk when you walk or cycle through the center of Arnhem. This tower has a height of no less than 93 meters, making this tower one of the ten highest church towers in the Netherlands. The Protestant church itself is the largest church building in the city. The reason for giving the Eusebiuskerk a fairly high place in the list of the most important sights is the elevator. For a fee you can take the elevator to the top and then enjoy a beautiful view of Arnhem and the surrounding area. Unique are the two glass balconies that offer a view of the outside of the tower. For example, you can view the striking gargoyles.
#5. Saber Gate
The Second World War left a trail of destruction through the center of Arnhem. Some historic structures were rebuilt or restored after the war. The Sabelspoort is a good example of this. This is the last remaining city gate of the four that once surrounded Arnhem. The Renaissance facade with the two towers stands out next to the modernly designed Province House of Gelderland. Nowadays you can only go through the medieval gate on foot or by bicycle. The Sabelspoort forms the connection between the area along the Rhine and the Markt, which includes the Eusebius Church. That is why the gate, which was rebuilt in 1952, is also called Eusebius Gate. Good to know if you want to photograph the Sabelspoort:
#6. Airborn at the Bridge
There are several places in and around Arnhem where the story of the impact of the Second World War on the city is told. Airborne at the Bridge lets you experience the fierce fighting that took place at the Rhine Bridge in September 1944. Overlooking the wartime internationally renowned John Frost Bridge, you can experience the fighting from the perspectives of three completely different participants in the battle: that of British Lieutenant John Grayburn, German Hauptsturmführer Viktor Eberhard Gräbner and Dutch Captain Jacob Groenewoud. All three of these soldiers died during the famous Battle of Arnhem. Airborn at the Bridge is free to visit.
#7. The 7 Streets
The center of Arnhem is divided into eight so-called quarters, each of which has its own character. For example, you can go out in the Korenkwartier, the Rozetkwartier is all about culture and education and the Stationskwartier is the gateway to the city for many. The old city center of Arnhem can be seen from its most beautiful side in 7 Streets. This quarter covers an area of 7 streets. Here you can see a number of historic buildings, enjoy great shopping in authentic shops that do not belong to the well-known chains and relax in the cozy small-scale catering establishments. The 7 Straatjes is therefore the shopping area for those who do not go for the big brands, but who prefer to browse in nice local shops.
#8. Music Sancrum
Arnhem is becoming increasingly known for its architecture. In the case of Arnhem, it is mainly the modern architecture that is very successful. Good examples of this are the specially designed Arnhem Central station, the Focus Filmtheater and the Rozet. A building that made a great impression on us during our visit to Arnhem is the Musis Sacrum. This building shows two completely different faces. On the Velperplein side is the concert hall, which was built in 1847. This building with many turrets has barely escaped the demolition hammer. Good thing, too. Due to a capacity shortage, a sleek Park Hall has been added on the side of the Musispark. The clean design.
#9. Rijnkade and the Foodhall
Arnhem is located on the Rhine. An almost logical consequence is that the city has a quay: the Rijnkade. We hesitated to give the Rijnkade a place in this overview. There are a number of museums and places of interest that belong just as much in this top 10 of Arnhem. We mainly see potential in the Rijnkade. After World War II, it was mainly functionality that took priority in the reconstruction of the city. Now, decades later, Arnhem follows the same trajectory as Rotterdam, that other large city that was destroyed by bombing. During the urban renewal projects, beauty and added value are now also taken into account, both for residents and for visitors. The view of the Rhine is in itself a beautiful feature of the Rijnkade. The existing terraces provide some extra atmosphere, especially in the summer season. The Foodhall, which opened in 2019, added some extras to this, creating an extra incentive for tourists to visit the Rijnkade.
#10. Fashion Quarter
The Modekwartier is a neighborhood with multiple faces. The Modekwartier is located just outside the center ring, but can be reached in a five-minute walk from the Musiskwartier. As far as we are concerned, the Modekwartier is one of the most characteristic places in the heart of Arnhem. Here you see a nice mix of everyday life and shops that are mainly devoted to fashion. In and around the neighborhood there are several businesses that represent foreign cuisines. This emphasizes the multicultural character of Arnhem. There is also a chance that you walk around here and find nothing at all about it. The Modekwartier is much less polished than, for example, the 7 Streets.