Jacqueline Oud - Culture

The International 4 Days Marches - Nijmegen Netherlands

De Nijmeegse 4-daagse

These boots are made for walking...

The International 4 Days Marches in Nijmegen, in the heart of the Netherlands, benefits of a walking reputation of high level. People from everywhere in the world come to join and test their limits in this far from easy march. This year’s March will take place from July 20th till July 23rd.

The distances that can be made - daily - range from 30, 40 to 50 kilometres. This is impressive! A good preparation is thus really required. However, every year there are still many people that find themselves obliged to quit due to their pain. Well, this doesn’t motivate all, but there are every year more inscriptions than there can be accepted. Though the limit of inscriptions in 2004 was put on 47.000, this limit was already reached in March. For those willing to test the march, start preparations as from now and subscribe as from December for next years’ March.
Training suggestion: subscribe for another Dutch March, the "Airborne March" in September each year.

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The famous Waal brug
Copyright Nijmeegse Viergdaagse

Some history

The March was an initiative of the Dutch association for Gymnasistics and Sports for the wellbeing of the population. The first March was organised in 1909 when all participants needed to walk a total of 140 kilometres, but could start from various places in the Netherlands. Since then, much has changed:

  • 1910: Participants can start only from 1 place and the march is open for citizens too.
  • 1913: The first woman participates in the March
  • 1925: As from this year, Nijmegen is the official starting place for the March
  • 1928: First foreign participants join the March
  • 1932: The number of military participants is outnumbered by the civilian participants for the first time.
  • 1954: More than 10.000 participants subscribe
  • 1970: For the first time the Zomerfeesten the Summer Festival, with music and events is being held at the same time.
  • 1975: The Nijmeegse March is accepted in the Guinness Book of Records for being the worlds biggest march.
  • 1988: The total number of participants passes the number of 1 million! [1]

All information regarding the organisation and march itself can be found on the official website of The International Four Days Marches Nijmegen

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March - Historical moments
Copyrights by the Nijmeegse Vierdaagse

Events around the march

As mentioned in the history, the March is accompanied by the Zomerfeesten, an event organised around the March, especially with various concerts. This event is mostly appreciated by those that are not walking and thus have all their strengths. The Zomerfeeesten have a special website with their Zomerfeesten Programm but is mostly in Dutch.
Some artists that are part of this years concerts are Frank Boeien - originally from Nijmegen, Mathilde Santing, Raymond van het Groenewoud. These are only some of the artists.

Besides the concert there is the fireworks that is the moment not to be missed! They take place on July 20th, on the riverside of the Waal, but you’d better be there in time and don’t try to park too close.

Combining the march and the events

The strengths needed to succeed the march till the finish-line are that important that most of the participants do not have the possibility to benefit from the Zomerfeesten. Fortunately, the Zomerfeesten take the whole week and for this year this means from July 17th till July 23rd.

While participating in the march is quite heavy and thus not within reach of everyone, feeling the aura of the march and profit of the events is really worth the trip. The participants appreciate the support. Besides, it’s summertime so take a holiday break and go to Nijmegen... It will be more original than going to the more known touristical places like Amsterdam or the beach.

[1These information are based on the official website of the march

[28 June 2004]

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See also

Nederlandse versie: [->art102]