50 Waalsprong (En)

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Nijmegen has crossed the river Waal – a new district Waalsprong is being developed. This has led to major changes to the city’s contours. Almost 12,000 new houses will be built between the villages Lent, Ressen and Oosterhout. By 2020 Waalsprong is expected to have approximately 30,000 inhabitants, a fifth of the entire population of Nijmegen.

In total 650,000 new houses will be built in Waalsprong. It will largely consist of privately owned houses and fewer rental properties, unlike Dukenburg and Lindenholt (large city expansion in the seventies and eighties). The neighbourhoods will have their own facilities, particularly in the centrally located Citadel along the Waal. Here shops, pubs, entertainment, offices and housing will be mixed.

In the early nineties the Dutch government introduced the Fouth Policy Document on Spatial Planning, which assigned large outer city areas for massive new housing development. Waalsprong is one of these so-called Vinex locations. Other Vinex locations in the area are Schuytgraaf in Arnhem and Westeraam in Elst. The Vinex locations are characterised by the amount of attention paid to spatial quality and the level of involvement of the buyers. Attracting people with buying power will provide extra financial support for the existing cities. This will be done by building close to the city centre and laying the emphasis on privately owned properties. As the city is so close to the new neighbourhood large scale investments in new infrastructure will be unnecessary. The Vinex policy is a break from urban growth policy of the sixties and seventies, which focussed on the growth of surrounding towns in order to absorb the growth in population. Beuningen, Druten and Wijchen were important areas of growth for Nijmegen.

For the time being Waalsprong will probably be the last major Nijmegen city expansion. New developments in city planning in the Netherlands point towards renewal and compacting of existing cities. Nijmegen has sufficient space within the city’s borders for housing. The Waalfront project (a controversial new city district to be built between the railroad, the river Waal and Weurtseweg and Winselingseweg) is a good example of this.

Waalsprong in the north, Waalfront in the southwest and a new city bridge are all part of the project ‘Nijmegen embraces the river Waal’. Smartening up the Waalkade and restoring the dike at Lent are also part of this project, the latter being a project to give the river more space in the bottleneck between Nijmegen and Lent to prevent high water levels and floods.
Nijmegen embraces the river Waal
since 2002
The Snelbinder, the bicycle bridge between Nijmegen and Lent (AM)

Source: Erwin van der Krabben, in: De Canon van Nijmegen, Uitgeverij Vantilt (Nijmegen 2009)