Tuesday, July 19, 2016

"4Daagsefeesten" Nijmegen: A Guide.

Every year people in Nijmegen are living up to the 3rd week of July, when the "Four Days Marches" (Vierdaagse) take place. This huge international walking event includes four days during which thousands of participants walk 40-50 kilometers a day, going in four different directions in Nijmegen and its surroundings. 

What's truely great about this annual walk of the world, is everything that comes along with it: although the marches start on a Tuesday (today!), from the Saturday before until the last day of the marches, there's a huge feast going on in town - like literally HUGE. This feast, now called the Four Days Marches feasts, but before the summer feasts (and that's what it's still called by sometimes), literally takes over the entire city center: there is a stage on every single square and in every single park, there are food trucks in the streets and merchandise and other stalls scattered over the city, there are carnival rides, there are flags and light bulbs and decoration, and every bar has expand its territory outdoors, by putting an outdoor bar or a terrace at their entrances. During the day you can chill and in the evening bands and musicians play music at all the stages until midnight, after which after-parties take place in all regular bars plus ticketed parties in clubs and music venues.

There's a reason they call this week the "party of the year", and Nijmegen likes to be called the "summer capital of Holland"....Thing is, it's kinda true ;-) This week is actually the best one of the year to many Nijmegen inhabitants, but to some people from other towns in Holland as well, and even to people from countries all over the world. All sane people in Nijmegen make sure they don't plan their holiday during this week, because if you're not in town you know you'll miss out!

So you can imagine there is an incredible amount of events going on during this week, and sometimes it's kinda hard to make out what all you can do. That's why I'm putting up this little guide here, focusing on the most important question during this week: WHERE IS THE PARTY AT? Although it's pretty much everywhere, it's kinda nice to know what the possibilities are so you get to pick where you're gonna be at. So this guide will inform you on where the party is at this week during all evenings & nights - I'll spend another post on all hotspots where you can chill during day time.

If you're not from here, and quite unfamiliar with the city center, here's a ground map. There's something going on at pretty much every place that has a red square - but the map does not mention everything, and still other marked spots that are mentioned are not actually worth mentioning if you want to know where to go :-)

Here are some things that you should not even bother:

  • Nr 30: St Stevens' Church. There are shows every night this week, and even though they should be fun, most shows sell out months before the day...so there's no point in visiting the church if you didn't get hold on any tickets. I've seen people abseiling from the top of the church today, so I guess that's something you could be doing at the church besides attending a show, although I don't know any details.
  • Nr 1: in this streets there are a lot of bars that mostly attract people half a century of age, not some place you'd want to be at right now. This does not apply to all bars though, Café de Plak seemed fun when I passed by and I think they do have parties every night as well. At any other time of the year we sometimes come at the Irish Pub The Shamrock, but we usually avoid it in this week. Furthermore, my favorite restaurant, Greek Dionysos, is in this street and is absolutely recommendable. 
  • Nr 1, 5, 6, 31, 47: other cafes and stuff that I wouldn't bother.
  • Nr 44: this is the St Anna street, during the 4Daagse called by "Via Gladiola", and this is the place where the walkers finish at the last day of the Four Days Marches. So on Friday this is where it will be packed with people who like to watch the walkers gladly pass the finish line and receive gladiolas, which are flowers typically received by 4Daagse walkers who finish. When it's not Friday yet, there's literally nothing going on here.
  • Nr 3: it's a library.
  • Nr 46: it's a chapel.
  • Nr 48: it's where you can park your car - no party up here!

Now more importantly: where should you go? I'll mention a few.

Valkhof Festival Nr 32-38
Valkhof Festival takes place in the Valkhof park, and there are multiple stages, like Arc, Boog, and Club Voerweg. I know the latter has a lot of different types of music like hiphop, dubstep, techno, and more, so it's a good place if you like to dance / have a party. There's a timetable available here. The picture below is taking at Valkhof festival during the day, when a band was playing music on a super small stage in the park, in front of some people sitting at tables having bbq food which they have there, too.

Credible Nr 7
You know Credible, that awesome hotel and restaurant in Nijmegen? well, they also have a small stage in the street outside, where bands play music (pictures below) in the late afternoon and evening. If you like unknown bands and a great ambiance, this is where you should go. 

Koningsplein Nr 17
Here at the "King's Square", the party starts early and goes on late. Even in the late afternoon, a huge crowd is standing here, singing along with the cover songs the band is playing (pictures below). Even though there are a lot of parents-aged persons, it's fun for pre-parents-aged people as well. 
The first time I went to the summer feasts in 6th grade, my mom took me and we went here, and I had so much fun, so at the beginning this square was to me what defined the summer feasts (and it may be again when I'm forty-something).

Faberplein Nr 9
Even though I have not been at Faberplein very often, I know, as I've heard, some people think it's the best spot around, as they have experienced some of their best nights here. At Faberplein, named after one of the bars surrounding the square, there's music from late in the afternoon until midnight, and it can get pretty crowded...usually in a good way.

Hennes Latin Stage Nr 13
Even though that I'm really into salsa music, I'd like to mention this stage here to show the diversity the 4Daagsefeesten have. All types of genres are represented, from band music to techno to salsa. That's not all - besides many types of music, there is a diversity in activities as well - activities for all ages, from ballroom dancing for the elderly (or anyone from any age who's interested in that) to a lot of activities for kids. This all shows that the Four Days Marches is an event for all people...Not all events are for everyone, but everyone will have an event they like.

This street is the main night life street of the city, and during the Four Days Marches there's a stage put outside in front of all the bars, so that when the music at the stage stops around midnight, everyone can just turn 180 degrees and walk straight into a bar to dance until early in the morning. The bars usually get really crowded, even though they ask high admission fees compared to regular days. This is why I prefer ticketed parties in clubs that are less crowded, and somewhat better compared to the regular bars that throw parties that appear like a party they throw at any regular night, except for the high price you paid. At the outdoor stage there is usually a performance some well-known Dutch musician, so that makes this place extra crowded sometimes.

Matrixx Nr 20+21 & 22
The Matrixx may be the biggest event during this week. There are multiple stages: two at the Hunnerpark (XX at the Park), one at the Waalkade (XX aan de Kade). This is where you could find me and my friends a lot in the past few years, as there are a lot of famous DJs performing and we were into house music a lot during that time. "Going to the 4Daagse" at night used to imply "Going to the Matrixx At The Park" in those days. Now I've learned there's more besides the Matrixx. It's an enjoyable place if you really want to party and dance and all that, but when I walked there yesterday I felt quite old, as I passed many teenagers standing at front, so I had to awkwardly walk to the back and crawl back between the people of my own age - I wondered when I got so old. I still like it there, but so do many underaged kids and people who like to get into a fight, so that kinda sucks. 

Museumplein Nr 25
Stage that I do not come often, but it looks fun with all the lamps hanging above the crowd (picture above).

Plein 1944 Nr 27
This stage is usually the home of many bands during the 4Daagse, so it pretty much depends on which band is performing if it's fun.

If you want to see the entire program of the 4Daagse, go check out their website: www.vierdaagsefeesten.nl. You can see the program of all places, or filter on day or location, and even create your own personal program (which comes in very handy, since it'll only show all events you're interested in, and filter out everything else).

Since music at the stages outside stops around midnight / 00:30, there are plenty of after-parties where you could go to. As I've mentioned, there are the regular bars at the Molenstraat where you could go, but they ask high fees compared to regular days, even though not offering anything more. Luckily there are plenty of (ticketed) parties at other bars and clubs that I'll quickly describe here.

Doornroosje Nr 50
Every year at music venue Doornroosje, they have this thing called "Doornroosje en de 7 feesten", which means they have a different party every night and it's always a great success. This year I went to this one hiphop / r&b party called Chocolade and I'll go to Planet Rose on Thursday as well (techno).

Merleyn Nr 51
This small club can get extremely hot but also extremely fun :-) They have a different party every night, with every night a different genre, like dance, deephouse, indie, house, disco, hiphop and r&b.

Subcultuur Subwalk Nr 18
Subcultuur Subwalk takes place at the Lindenberg, and is mostly a techno party.

Waalhalla Off the map, follow red arrow
Waalhalla is home of different event organisations during the 4Daagse, like FISSA (dubstep), The Morning After (hiphop / r&b), Nachtcollege (techno), and more.

Brebl Off the map, follow red arrow
During their 4Daagse event "Another World, Another Week" there are different areas with different genres of music, like drum 'n bass, electro, trance, reggea, dubstep, and more.

Ti Ta Techno
Techno party in Café Van Buren at Molenstraat.

Boat parties
During the week there are several parties on an actual boat that will sail over the Waal river during the party (late afternoon / evening), like Drift Op De Boot (techno), which I will attend this upcoming Friday :-)

In next post I'll catch you up on all the hotspots you should visit during the 4Daagse this week! Thanks for reading.

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