De Nijmeegse stadswallen in 1875  De vestingstad Nijmegen had ca

Nijmegen city walls in 1875

The fortified town of Nijmegen around 1875 had approximately 23,000 inhabitants and about 2,400 buildings. Thus, it was overcrowded. What life was like in the Nijmegen lower city at that time is described in the following striking account:
'Almost nowhere will you find such an accumulation of families in such a small area, and therefore such a disgusting dirtiness as here. Because of the structure of open gutters, which is already so damaging for the high city and for the sloping streets, the air is ruined especially here, where all the dirt of the upper city is collected. All the time, contagious gasses rise up from those stinking puddles, around which and sometimes on top of which are closely packed houses, many of which hardly deserve that name. And in that atmosphere, complete families live their sick lives and brotherly share their dwelling with dogs, pigs and dung heaps.'
No wonder then that the inhabitants of 19th century Nijmegen felt more and more confined within the fortifications and wished to demolish the city walls to expand the city.
On March 11, 1874, news reached Nijmegen that the Dutch Lower House had approved the design for a new Fortress Law, which, among other things, included the abolition of Nijmegen's status as fortified town. Only fort Krayenhoff and the forts near Lent would be preserved. This news was exuberantly celebrated in Nijmegen. Because of many arguments about who should pay for the demolition, it took another two years before the demolition of the city walls was started.
Luckily, everything was photographed before the beginning of the demolition. Photographer G. Korfmacher complied an album and offered it to the province of Gelderland and the city Nijmegen. These and other photographs are the starting point of our survey of the city walls. Parts of this project have previously been published in our book 'Archiefbeelden Nijmegen'. For a good view of this section, a screen resolution of 1024x768 is necessary.

1 Belvédère 2 Hunnerpoort 3 Keuperstoren 4 St. Joosttoren 5 onbekend
6 Hertogpoort 7 Ziekerpoort 8 Oranjebastion 9 Molenpoort 10 Nassaubastion
11 St. Jacobstoren 12 Roomsevoet 13 Kruittoren 14 Hezelpoort 15 Hubertustoren
16 Boddelpoort 17 St. Stevenspoort 18 St. Antoniuspoort 19 Meypoort 20 St. Jacobspoort
21 Kraanpoort 22 Besienderspoort 23 Veerpoort 24 Stratemakerstoren 25 Lappentoren

On our page of pictures and engravings you will find more pictures of old city gates and other things.

Special thanks go to Foppe van Gruijthujsen and Hans Giesbertz. All pictures used come from public archives, among others the municipal archives of Nijmegen.

(Recurring phrases in Dutch names of gates and towers: Poort = Gate; Toren = Tower)

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