Hooray: it’s the Walk of Wisdom birthday!

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Today, on 21 June, the Walk of Wisdom around Nijmegen celebrates its eighth anniversary. We are happy with it!

Jan Willem van Opstal as one of our first pilgrims at the opening in 2015

We founded our foundation in 2011. We wanted to develop a global pilgrimage route as a symbol of the connection between people and with the planet. In 2015, we opened a pioneering route of 136 kilometres around Nijmegen. In 2023, about 3,000 pilgrims register for this every year. On average, 5 to 6 pilgrims depart every day from our starting point, the Stevenskerk in Nijmegen, where they also arrive. Our pilgrimage route runs in a circle: being on the road is more important than the destination in the ‘modern pilgrimage’.


Now, after eight years, we have become a bit more modest . In 2015 we wanted to grow quickly from a route around Nijmegen to a tour in Belgium, Germany or England, for example. For the time being, we are mainly satisfied with the route around Nijmegen. As a small organization with 60 volunteers and two part-time coordinators, we have our hands full.

That is why, in the coming years, we will first invest in deepening and connecting on the basis of a new Book of Hours: On the Way to Wisdom . Expansion to other countries is on the back burner for a while. However, we do hope to get around to a bit of internationalization of the route in Nijmegen. And of course we will continue to give attention and love to the route itself, the starter pack and our departure ceremonies and silent walks.

Way in

Walk of Wisdom by Petra van Bloemendaal
Illustration: Petra van Bloemendaal

In doing so, we shift the emphasis from the grand gesture to the way inwards. That choice feels right: it is exactly what ‘modern pilgrimage‘ is all about. We want to create a pilgrimage tradition around Nijmegen around the way inwards in connection with nature. Whether and how that tradition can grow across the border depends on people who live there and are willing to do something for it with us.

We would like to thank all pilgrims, volunteers, guest addresses, stops and sympathizers who have made the story of the Walk of Wisdom possible in recent years and have added something of their own to it: thank you!

Manja and Damiaan, co-developers and part-time coordinators
Monica, Jan, Angelique and Ton, board

Want to know more or participate?

In contrast to classical pilgrimage, ‘modern pilgrimage‘ is not about a journey to a holy place. Rather, it is a personal search for meaning. By walking for days in a row, you connect your mind and emotional life with your body and the wider world around you. Differences with others fall away under the dust of the same walk. You step out of the hustle and bustle of urban life for a moment into a natural habitat that you accept and absorb without conditions.

A lot of research is being done on this ‘modern pilgrimage’ and the role of the Camino de Santiago as a role model. If you want to learn more about it, consider a talk by Damien, pioneer of the Walk of Wisdom.

The story of the Walk of Wisdom can only exist thanks to the efforts of volunteers and the support of donations. Sign up for a starter kit and become a pilgrim, or give the registration as a gift to someone you care about. You can also download the first chapter of our new Book of Hours or make a donation via our website (more).

Velp, The Netherlands
Walk of Wisdom by Marjolijn Gerrits