Pilgrimage is about an inner journey. Let the world outside be a mirror for what’s going on inside you.
The Stevens Church is one of the oldest and most beautiful monuments of Nijmegen. The church was more than just a church from the beginning in 1283. It stored the foundation charter of the city by the Emperor of Holy Roman Empire in a solid closet with eight locks. The keys were spread among eight different notables in town.
The Radboud University still uses the Stevens Church for ceremonies and the church is developing into an inspiring meeting point for culture and spirituality. A big 2.2 metres statue of our symbol Pilgrim is pinned to one of the walls. A dignified start- and endpoint of the Walk of Wisdom.
Mariken van Nimweghen
At the start and the end of the Walk you find two special sculptures from the medeaval story of Mariken van Nimweghen. To the mayor of Nijmegen Hubert Bruls Mariken van Nimweghen is the most famous inhabitant of Nijmegen that never existed. And that’s correct: almost every Dutchmen knows the story about a girl who spent seven years with devil Moenen. The moment she wanted to break with him, he threw her down from high above the Stevens Church. Mariken survived and left for a pilgrimage to Rome to ask the Pope for advice and forgiveness. To put it in modern terms: she went off to find her own story. (Song of nostalgia, Marjolein Pieks/Ben Dirks).
You find a sculpture of Mariken at the beginning of the route. A sculpture of devil Moenen marks the end.
Sculpture Moenen: Piet Killaars. Sculpture Mariken van Nimweghen: Vera van Hasselt.
Photography: Bart Kouwenberg.
Inke Brugman, ‘Infinity’.
Along the route there are some interesting artworks, including ‘shaped through water’, by Pauline Lutters. You find this at the Bisonbaai in the Ooijpolder (right after rest stop Oortjeshekken).
Two curved panels of stainless steel embrace a group of people in bronze. It seems like loving protection, and that’s right, because the panels represent the dikes. Pauline Lutters: “Not on the run, but ‘on their way in life’.” The group consists of young and old, men and women.
Art in a little church
Halfway the route near Grave you pass Velp. In the small 12th century church, often concerts and free exhibitions are organized during the weekends by the foundation ‘Art in the little church’. Please have a look at their actual agenda.
Near Beek Ubbergen on the Duivelsberg there is an expressionistic mansion of Otto Bartning, designed in 1921 on the orders of Marie Schuster Hiby. It happened to be an idealistic building where music, dance, fine art and literature were honored. From above ‘Huize Wylerberg’ looks like a big crystal, placed against the slope of the lateral moraine. Inside the building the lines of the crystal continue, especially in the music hall.
Cultural landscape and birds
Nowadays the mansion belongs to the Forest Service and the Association Dutch Cultural Landscape. On Sundays and Wednesdays people can visit miniature landscapes of the most beautiful landscape heritage in the Netherlands. By means of the deltaplan ‘The Netherlands beautiful again’ the association would like to use 200.000 kilometers of field and meadow margins for the regeneration of nature and the landschapregeneration of agricultural landscape: http://www.nederlandscultuurlandschap.nl.
The concert hall in ‘Huize Wylerberg’ is operated by SOVON Dutch bird research. On regular basis concerts are organized with a ‘green theme’: https://www.sovon.nl/nl/groene-concerten. Also birds are banded here for scientific research.
More about Bartning
Otto Bartning is co-founder of the ‘Bauhaus’ and designed experimental churches, community centers and chapels. In 1924 he got a honorary doctorate at the university of Köningsbergen because of his ‘inspiring tangible shapes in which the unnameable is palpable’.
A special monastery
Opposite the little church in Velp there is a special 18th century monastery, built by the capuchins. The capuchins are part of the Franciscans, which are known for their connection to nature. The founder Francis of Assissi wrote the Song for the Sun, in which he praises all beings like brothers, including the sun and the moon. A community in the spirit of the Franciscan spirituality lives in the monastery and Avant Spirit organises retreats (more).
Pilgrims can spend the night in the monastery for a reduced price and the old chapel is open every day, walk up the pretty driveways and have a look inside!
Along the river Waal you find several dike storerooms. These are places where tools and materials are stored to maintain the dikes and which can be used in emergency situations of high water.
Most dike storerooms along the Waal have been built in the second half of the 19th century. They are on a few kilometers distance from each other. Tools could be taken to the scene quickly with horse and cart or on foot. By the year 1970 the dike storerooms lost their function, since from then on modern materials were kept at a central location.
However, the dike storeroom in Beuningen has a new function as environmental education center. From this dike storeroom many activities are organized, like T’ai Chi on the beaches of the river Waal (mostly on Sunday mornings 10.30 hrs., €5,-). Check the Facebook-page of the dike storeroom.
An hour walk from the finish you cross bridge ‘de Oversteek’ in Nijmegen (map 33). Every day at sunset 48 streetlights are lighting up one by one, at the pace of a slow march. In remembrance of the 48 allied soldiers that died on this spot in 1944, while fighting for freedom for Europe from the nazis. Out of respect for the soldiers, every night Dutch veterans walk the bridge along the streetlights at the moment they light: the Sunset March.
You are welcome to join and to give the march your own theme. Gather at the elevator exit on the bridge. In the nearby Honigfactory you can wait for the sunset. This is an artisanal melting pot with brewery, cafés and restaurants.
Video: Martijn Schinkel, Het Derde Beeld