As Hielke lived in Arnhem and has many friends there, we often visit Arnhem. Arnhem is an underrated city, which is unfair as it has a lively art and design scene and new restaurants and concepts pop up very often. The Artez design school has a good influence on the city; there are many creative young people living in Arnhem who often explore creative initiatives and the city benefits of that. In this blog I will give an introduction into Arnhem and will indicate some must visit sights!
My favorite piece of art in the Netherlands. The “Feestaardvarken” was donated by Burgers Zoo to the city of Arnhem and it is located on a prominent location next to the library. It is a super interactive artwork, as you can also climb it. There has been some talk that the Feestaardvarken might be relocated, so visit it while you can! From the top of the library you get amazing views of the artwork, laying there in the middle of the city.
When we recently visited Arnhem we discovered the Eusebius Experience. The Eusebius is the main church of Arnhem and since a few years it is commercially exploited, meaning a lot of events and even parties are being held here. Currently the Eusebius features the Eusebius Experience, the Experience features two glass balconies from which you can see all over Arnhem, which I think is the main draw to go to the Eusebius Experience. The balconies are located at an altitude of 60 meters and because the floor is transparant they are not suitable for people that are afraid of heights. Besides these amazing balconies you also learn a lot about the construction and reconstruction of the Eusebius and the influence of the WWII on the church. The exhibition also featured a very well done animation of WWII. Entrance tickets cost € 9 and include entrance to the church itself. We were unlucky as the church was closed due to an event. The Eusebius Experience is open during the day, almost every day. Check opening hours here. I found the Eusebius Experience interesting for kids as well, so this is definitely a kid-friendly activity.
Sonsbeek Park is situated on a hill overlooking the city and is the perfect place to have a picknick. If you don’t have time to prepare a picknick you can also visit “The Stadsvilla Sonsbeek” in the middle of the park for lunch. At the base of the park you will find the Watermuseum, which is a good spot to visit with kids.
The library of Arnhem is an interestedly designed building and worth a short visit to visit the rooftop, for views of the Feestaardvarken and Arnhem. It also has a cozy restaurant and a beautiful staircase.
As Arnhem is a middle-sized city you can also do some shopping in the city. The shops are mainly located in the historical city center, which looks pretty good, you won’t find too many ugly modern buildings in this area. Outside of the city center, near Sonsbeek Park, you will find the Fashion Quarter (Modekwartier), which is a creative area in Arnhem, where you will find independent stores, combined with workplaces. Because Arnhem has fashion students at ArtEZ (Viktor&Rolf met each other there) and a fashion scene you can find many original stores in Arnhem. I personally find the Bakkerstraat one of the prettiest shopping streets in Arnhem, while I try to stay away from the main shopping street.
The Spijkerkwartier is my favorite neighborhood of Arnhem.. I am a bit biased because Hielke used to live here, but the Parkstraat is the most beautiful street of Arnhem. Most of the buildings in this neighborhood must be preserved in the historical state, making this the perfect neighborhood for wandering around. It is a residential area, but as it is located close to the city center, it features many good restaurants, which I will include in the restaurant recommendations section. When it is wisteria or cherry blossom season, you will find the oldest plants with the most flowers in The Spijkerkwartier!
Technically this is not a recommendation by me, but by friends who have visited the Open-air museum. In the Open-air museum you will find lots of historic, typically Dutch buildings and it also offers you many activities. Apparently, it is a really fun day for couples or families. It is still on my list of things to do! For more information check out: https://www.openluchtmuseum.nl.
Technically the Veluwe is not in Arnhem, but Arnhem is the perfect base to explore this nature reserve. When buying your entrance ticket for the park you can also rent the famous white bikes to explore the park and to get to the Kröller-Muller museum, which is one of my favorite museums in the Netherlands, featuring works by amazing painters such as Mondriaan and Van Gogh. It has a lovely sculpture garden as well. When you visit at the end of summer the moors are in full bloom, making the Veluwe even more pretty! Hielke and I love the Veluwe so much that we did a photoshoot for our wedding invitations at the Veluwe at the end of summer and also got married at the Veluwe!
Restaurants & bars
Foodhall: The foodhall at the Rijnkade was opened last year and of course we had to bring a visit. Even though I think the momentum for foodhalls is disappearing, I like a foodhall for its versatility in food. I found the foodhall in Arnhem at the fancy side, it definitely had some nice design details such as the statement bar, but it is also possible to visit with kids.
Blauwe hoek: This is a traditional Turkish restaurant that serves enormous portions of tasty food at a reasonable price. The meat has just the right amount of spice, but they have delicious vegetarian options as well. In spring, you will also find the most beautiful wisteria of Arnhem here, the picture below was taken just after the wisteria hysteria.
Cafe Vrijdag: Cafe Vrijdag is a nice local hangout if you want to grab a beer at any moment of the day. It is a super low key bar, that also serves some simple meals. Hielke and I frequented this bar when we were just dating 😉
Eetatelier: Eetatelier definitely isn’t the most trendy or fancy restaurant, but it serves delicious organic food. They only have a small menu, but they always have vegetarian options as well.
Stan & Co: Stan & Co is a trendy restaurant, which has some sister restaurants as well. It is always quite busy here and it has a nice scene and attentive waiters. The menu is very trendy as well, expect gyozas and bao buns and some originals, slightly overpriced, but you do get to have dinner in a good atmosphere.
SoundTrek/Sound & Soul: This is a no-nonsense foodbar, which serves original meals for a fair price. It is located opposite the Blauwe Hoek, at a particularly lovely spot in Arnhem.