Now that most international students have arrived, arranged a good living situation and started their studies, it is time for the more specialised tips. Vox took to the streets to ask locals to spill the beans about easy living- their advice. It has led to this list of top secret life hacks for living in Nijmegen.
#1 Your bike might not be stolen
Ever gotten that sickening feeling when you step outside, only to find that your beloved two-wheeler is missing? If so, you aren’t alone. Bike theft is the most common crime in Nijmegen. However, many people are unaware that if a bike comes up missing, it might not be stolen. In fact, in most instances, bikes are impounded by the city for being illegally parked. You can use the city search engine to find if your ride has ended up in their custody- every bike gets a mugshot and is assigned a filing number. Always check first before you give up your bike for gone.
#2 If your bike was stolen, you can get another one very cheap:
If you find yourself in the unfortunate situation where your bike does not end up on the AFAC website, it might indeed be resting in the hands of a sneak thief. The silver lining in this cloud is that you can go to the city impound (the same place you would go if you found your bike on the AFAC website) and you are eligible to buy a bike for around 10 euros from their unclaimed section. Since so many people figure their bikes are stolen and never check if they are in custody, the city has a huge surplus of unclaimed bikes that they will gladly sell. Be sure to bring a police report with you, to prove the legitimacy of the theft.
#3 You can see free movies, lectures, and cultural events:
Although many foreigners might be unaware, Nijmegen hosts a wide range of events which are free to students. ‘Radboud Reflects’ is one of the best sources for gratis cultural enrichment. The organization hosts a number of lectures, movies, readings, festivals, and events which students can attend free of charge. You can visit their website to see their upcoming agenda.
#4 You can travel anywhere in the Netherlands for 7 euros:
Many foreigners might not realize that they can travel anywhere in the Netherlands for only 7 euros by using group tickets. Simply join the ‘Group Ticket Nijmegen’ facebook group and see if any groups have already formed for the day you plan to travel. Once 10 people have been gathered, you are ready to buy the tickets and get the discount. It is important to know that the ticket is valid for an outgoing and return trip on a single day, must be printed, and travelers must all be leaving from or arriving to the same destination.
#5 You can get free stuff with Albert Heijn stamps:
Those of you trying to tackle the Dutch language might have already memorised your grocery store spiel. You might know ‘Hebt u een bonuskaart?‘ (Do you have a bonus card?) or ‘Wilt u de bon?‘ ( Do you want a receipt?), but might be a bit thrown off when the cashier starts talking about ‘zegels‘. Zegels are stamps given to customers at Albert Heijn as part of their rewards program, where customers are able to redeem stamps for AH’s latest promotion (it’s currently a visit to a hotel).
#6 You can make money by participating in science experiments:
Although some internationals might not be eligible to work in the Netherlands, as a student of Radboud you are able to participate in research studies which are paid in euros, study points, or Iris cheques. Iris cheques are vouchers that can be redeemed at a number of store like Hema or Xenos, so they are as good as cash. You can sign up for paid studies here.
#7 Get your money back on recyclables:
You might not realize that whenever you buy a plastic bottle or beer, you pay a deposit on it in addition to the price. To redeem that deposit for store credit, simply bring the empty bottle back to a store and insert it into the recycling machine. For items like soda, it is important you return it to the place you bought it from, but for most beers, deposit redemption can be made at any grocery store.
#8 You can find anything online with Marktplaats:
If you’re used to buying items online, you might have been a little annoyed to find out that your favorite online website doesn’t ship items outside of your home country. Or, if they do, it is ridiculously expensive. Local Dutch people have recommended Marktplaats, where you can buy anything from cars to vintage CD’s. Even local services are published on Marktplaats, also known as the craigslist of the Netherlands.
#9 There are loads of ways to meet new people:
Some internationals who have faced difficulties of meeting new people in the Netherlands simply may not have been barking up the right tree. Nijmegen hosts several initiatives for getting people to mingle, including local Language Exchanges, Expat meet ups, Couchsurfing meetings, vegan group dinners, political clubs – you can even join the Church of the Flying Spaghetti Monster, which has a base right here in Nijmegen. Facebook is a great way to find events to help stimulate your social life. A quick search of the aforementioned groups will be sure to provide some great opportunities for meeting new contacts.
#10 Nijmegen offers a LOT of outdoor activities:
One thing you might have noticed about the Netherlands is what a green country it is. Locals encourage you to make use of Nijmegen’s natural gems by getting out into the wild every now and then. In summer, you can enjoy waterskiing, wakeboarding, and other fun aquatic activities at Berendock, at Nijmegen’s local lake. You can also enjoy a weekend of camping at Recreatiepak Wighenerhorst in the outskirts of the city amidst the beautiful forest. Alongside the Waal also rests a beautiful nature reserve, fully stocked with wild horses and rare birds. It is a great place to take a hike in warmer weather, as it sits just to the right of the city center.