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Arnhem, Nederlands

Arnhem, also called "Gelders Haagje", is the capital of the Gelderland province, gaining its city rights on 13 July 1233 from the abbey of Prum. In the twelfth century a toll house was established by the Count of Gelre, later moved to Lobith in 1233.

Originally the capital of the Veluwe quarter, Arnhem later became the capital of province Gelderland: historically Arnhem has been the center of government and justice. In the year 1487 the city of Arnhem was granted six guild.

Ruled by France from 1672 -1674 and again for eighteen years beginning in 1795, it was finally liberated by the Prussian army in 1813.

In the beginning of the nineteenth century Arnhem and its surroundings provided a very attractive resort area for the wealthier residents of The Netherlands, its popularity enhanced by the new rail access. In 1870 the interest began to wane, provoking the city to begin organizing a variety of exhibitions and congresses: at this time they also began to purchase land to develop the beautiful parks. Through these efforts Arnhem began to attract several productive industries, and today visitors can still enjoy these wonderful attractions.

On the tenth of May, 1940, Arnhem was taken by the Prussians, the same army that freed them from France in 1813. For five long, destructive years Arnhem was the center of the fight between the allies and Germany. The city was evacuated for months while the fighting raged, with the residents returning to the ruins of the old city center. The Eusebius Church was destroyed and many houses were badly damaged. The city was rebuilt quickly however, earning the residents a fine reputation for the quality of their post-war construction. The great Eusebius Church was rebuilt in reinforced concrete, and the large tower was erected which may be seen today.

The Eusebius church

For about five centuries Arnhem's major church had been dedicated to St. Martinus. But when relics of St. Eusebius were brought into the town it was decided to build a new church at the same location. In 1452 duke Arnold of Egmond laid the first stone. In the next century and more the new building gradually replaced the, in parts still pre-Romanesque, St. Martinus. The current church is a big three-aisled cruciform church in Lower-Rhine Gothic style. Despite the long construction period it is surprisingly consistent in style. For most of it brick was used, with natural stone mainly used for the outside of the tower. Part of the outlines of the old St. Martinus have been made visible in the pavement near the choir.

The first parts that were built were the tower, the first three traves of the nave and the St. Eusebius chapel. The old church continued to be used, although ca. 1477 its tower had to make place for the remaing part of the nave and the Flamboyant south-porch (above, second picture). By that time the new tower, which in style is closely related to the towers of Tiel and Zaltbommel, was completed. In 1503 the side-aisles were lenghtened with chapels that run along the sides of the tower.

The Koepelchurch

For seven centuries this location has housed a church. In the 13th century the knights of Sint Jan constructed a small temple, at that time a Roman Catholic Church. The church had the name of John the Baptist, Sint Jan church. During the French occupation the condition of the church was so bad that it was demolished in 1817, and the Protestant community was allowed to build a new church on the same location, the Koepelchurch. From the outside the building appears octagonal, but the interior is actually round. The roof is supported by eight huge pillars. Construction was begun in 1837, at a cost of NLG 150000,-

The Sint Peters Guesthouse

The Sint Peters Guesthouse is one of the oldest buildings of Arnhem. The house dates from 1401 and was originally named "die Munte" (the coin) or "de Altmeynte", because a coin master had lived there. For almost six centuries this building has had many occupants, but today houses the men's wear retailer "The Globe".

The Sint Peters Guesthouse received its current renovations in 1380, and the building has a history of both ecclesiastical and medical functions. In 1527 the building was owned by Duke Karel van Gelre, and was used to store wine.

Around 1800 plans to renovate this building into barracks, a Roman Catholic church or a meeting hall were unsuccessful. In 1849 it was restored by the owner of the wine store. At the end of the 19th century the premises housed an antique trader, who renovated the hall into a gallery and placed a large mirror in the medieval gable. In 1932 the building was sold by auction to the 'Stichting Drie Gasthuizen' ( Three Guesthouses Foundation ), the current owners.

During the Second World War the Guesthouse fortunately was undamaged. After the last renovation the facade was rebuilt to its original state, though the great mirror has been removed.

John Frost bridge

On Sunday, 17 September 1944 the 2nd British Army had a mission to take over the bridge at Arnhem and hold it for 48 hours. A battalion under command of Lieutenant-Colonel John Frost was the only one that made it to the bridge; other battalions were kept at a distance or walked into enemy fire. Many German attempts to retake the bridge failed and the allies suffered heavy losses. Arnhem was "a bridge too far", and Christmas 1944 turned out in bloody fighting instead of the peaceful celebration at home.



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