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.
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