82km (51 miles) SE of Amsterdam; 55km (34 miles) E of Utrecht; 26km (16 miles) S of Apeldoorn
Gelderland province's capital (pop. 144,000), founded in the 13th century and later a prosperous member of the Hanseatic League trading alliance, Arnhem became a household name during World War II, when its strategic road bridge over the Neder Rijn (Lower Rhine) became the target of a massive Allied airborne assault. The center city was entirely destroyed during the fighting and reconstructed after the war.
Getting There -- Up to four trains to Arnhem depart every hour from Amsterdam Centraal Station, going via Utrecht. In addition, there are frequent trains from Apeldoorn, and Nijmegen. By car from Amsterdam, take A2/E35 southeast to Utrecht and A12/E35 east to Arnhem; from Apeldoorn go south on A50.
Visitor Information -- VVV Arnhem is at Stationsplein 13, 6811 KG Arnhem (tel. 0900/112-2344; www.vvvarnhem.nl), outside the city's rail station. The office is open Monday to Friday from 9:30am to 5:30pm, and Saturday from 9:30am to 5pm.
What to See & Do
One of the most emblematic yet most ordinary-looking sights in Arnhem is the road bridge over the Rhine in the center of town. A replica of the bridge destroyed during World War II, it is known as the John Frost Bridge, in honor of the commander and troops of the British 2nd Parachute Battalion. In September 1944, Lieutenant-Colonel Frost's 600 valiant "Red Devils" took and for 4 days held the north end of the bridge against overwhelming German numbers and firepower, though the entire 10,000-man 1st Airborne Division had been expected to reach it and hold out for just 2 days against light opposition.
Contemporary and classic artworks, with an emphasis on modern Dutch painting and sculpture, can be found in the Museum voor Moderne Kunst (Museum of Modern Art), Utrechtseweg 87 (tel. 026/377-5300; www.mmkarnhem.nl; trolley bus: 1; bus: 50 or 86). This is housed in a handsome 19th-century villa on the road to Oosterbeek , and has a sculpture garden, a coffee room, and an open-air cafe overlooking the Neder Rijn. The museum is open Tuesday to Friday from 10am to 5pm, and Saturday, Sunday, and holidays from 11am to 5pm (closed Jan 1, Apr 30, and Dec 25). Admission is 7€ ($11) for adults, 5€ ($8) for seniors and students, and free for children 18 and under.
Housed in a graceful 18th-century mansion just south of Gele Rijders Plein, the Historisch Museum (Historical Museum), Bovenbeekstraat 21 (tel. 026/377-5300; www.hmarnhem.nl), contains artworks, porcelain, and other objects associated with the city's history. The museum is open Tuesday to Friday from 10am to 5pm; and Saturday, Sunday, and holidays from 11am to 5pm (closed Jan 1, Apr 30, and Dec 25). Admission is 3.75€ ($6) for adults, 2.50€ ($4) for seniors and students, and free for children 18 and under.
Smooth Movers -- Arnhemers do it on trolley buses. Since this is almost the only place in the Benelux lands where such an experience is possible (Ghent, in Belgium, has a single trolley-bus line), be sure to join them. The blue, electrically powered trolley buses glide silently through the streets, justifying Arnhem's moniker of trolleybusstad (trolley-bus town). There are four lines: 1, 3, 5, and 7. A ride on line 1 from Arnhem to Oosterbeek combines that environmentally friendly trolley-bus feeling with good views of Arnhem and an interesting destination.
Boat trips from Arnhem by Rederij Eureka (tel. 0570/615-914; www.rederij-eureka.nl) depart from a quay below the John Frost Bridge and include daylong excursions on the Rhine and IJssel rivers. Some cruises cross the border into Germany, stopping at Emmerich; another visits the Dutch Hanseatic towns of Deventer, Doesburg, Zutphen, Zwolle, and Kampen. A day-long cruise that includes coffee and a lunch buffet is 35€ ($56) for adults, 25€ ($40) for children ages 4 to 11, and free for children 3 and under.
Northeast of town is Nationaal Park Veluwezoom, 46 sq. km (18 sq. miles) of pine and silver birch forest and heathland crisscrossed by riding, walking, and biking trails. The national park is an extension of the larger Hoge Veluwe National Park to the west, the two being separated by about 5km (3 miles) and the A50 expressway. The Visitor Center, Heuvenseweg 5A, Rheden (tel. 026/497-9100; www.veluwezoom.nl), is open Tuesday to Sunday (also Mon during school vacations) from 10am to 5pm. Admission is free.
Note: This information was accurate when it was published, but can change without notice. Please be sure to confirm all rates and details directly with the companies in question before planning your trip.