Crossing the River Waal

From tree trunk to bridge

The river Waal was once a small tributary to the Rhine and has since grown into the widest river in the Netherlands. Over time, the course of the river changed, which in turn necessitated finding new ways to cross it. How did people cross it before there were bridges?

The active hands-on exhibition De Waal Over (Crossing the River Waal) shows you how this was achieved on a journey through time. By crossing the river in different ways yourself, you learn about the inventive solutions devised over the centuries for getting to the other side, and the consequences these crossings had for Nijmegen.


De Bastei

Term: 25 november 2023
Year: 2023
Location: De Bastei, Nijmegen

Making your crossing

The visitor is challenged to make the crossing in four hands-on exhibits. Experience the current by attempting to cross the river in a tree-trunk canoe, build a pontoon, haul the anchor from the chain ferry and feel the stability of the arched bridge.

Illuminating animations

A projected animation is shown at each exhibit, which explains the technology behind the each method of crossing the river.

A meandering river

A large meandering river on the floor flows from the past to the present, and shows how it is continuously growing in size.

The Ever-Changing Waal

Extensive research into the course of the Waal over the centuries is translated into insightful animated films, in which the changing flow of the river is visualised for each period.