Nijmegen is a large city in the southeast of the Netherlands, population 170,000 (city proper, January 2015). It's the largest city in Gelderland, and in the Arnhem-Nijmegen metropolitan area (pop. 725,000). Nijmegen is well-known for its left-wing politics, its prominent Old Town, and its large student population.
Despite a long and turbulent history, spanning over 2000 years, the historic center of Nijmegen is relatively compact. It was not before the late 19th century when the city walls and fortifications (parts of which have been preserved in parks) were allowed to be dismantled, and for the first time in about 400 years the city could expand. This 19th century expansion (now a protected area) is a comprehensively designed, relatively vast urban area, which lies as a belt around the old town. It was specifically planned as an attractive place to live, with parks, broad streets and an impressive boulevard just outside the trajectory of the former city walls. In stark contrast, by then the old town was still cramped and densily populated. After the building of the iconical bridge spanning the river Waal in 1936, specifically the Lower Town got into economic decline in favor of the higher part of the centre.