Arnhem (Photo:DutchScenery/Shutterstock)
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Cruise Critic Editor Rating

By Cruise Critic Staff

Port of Arnhem

Located at the Rhine's intersection with the Nederrjin (or lower Rhine), Arnhem is a city in the Eastern Netherlands that is most famous for its role in World War II, particularly toward the end of the war when the Allies started to push the Germans back.

About Arnhem


Pro

Though now known as something of a shopping destination, Arnhem has a rich World War II history to explore

Con

Be cautious of vehicular and bicycle traffic when you're on foot -- pedestrians do not have the right of way

Bottom Line

A stop in Arnhem makes for a lovely day of wandering through historic sights, museums and shops


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The Battle of Arnhem, part of Operation Market Garden, was fought in September 1944 and involved three Allied infantry airborne landings aimed at taking control of three key bridges. The first two, in Nijmegen and Eindhoven, were successful. But in Arnhem it did not go according to plan, and the Allies suffered a major defeat. The 1977 movie "A Bridge Too Far" was based on the events that happened here.

If you're on a European river cruise that includes this port stop, you'll find yourself sailing under the famed bridge, since reconstructed and renamed. Near the bridge is a small information center detailing some of the key events that happened there, including moving audio testimonials from surviving soldiers and residents. Mostly destroyed during the war, Arnhem was rebuilt and most buildings in and around the city are fairly modern. A few key standouts, like the St. Eusebius and Walburgiskerk churches, still exist.

Arnhem is also a popular city for shopping. A frequent haunt of the early middle class in the Netherlands, the city had some 100 fashion boutiques as far back as the beginning of the 20th century. Today, the narrow streets in the city's center are dotted with trendy clothing and shoe shops.

Where You're Docked

Only riverboats can visit the small city of Arnhem, with all boats mooring along the Lower Rhine (or Nederrijn) between the Nelson Mandela Brug (Bridge) and the John Frost Brug (what was once the "Bridge Too Far").

There are no port facilities and no parking lot. You just walk off the boat, up the stairs and onto Rijnkade, a small street dotted with Turkish and Indian restaurants right along the water. From here you can make your way by foot further into city center. There are no buses in the immediate vicinity.

Good to Know

In Arnhem, as in the rest of the Netherlands, it is imperative that you watch out for bicyclists and cars when walking around. Pedestrians do not have the right of way in the Netherlands. This is especially true where bicyclists are concerned. They do not slow down and they can come from any direction unexpectedly, so be sure to look every which way before stepping onto a bike lane. Additionally, cars and trucks will drive on many of the narrow streets -- and even in squares -- so always keep an eye and ear open for oncoming traffic.

Currency & Best Way to Get Money

The Netherlands is part of the European community, and the euro is the official currency. For up-to-the-minute conversions, visit www.xe.com or www.oanda.com.

While credit cards are accepted in many stores, in almost all cases you need a card with a chip and pin, so cash is still the best way to pay. The best way to get money is at an ATM. There are a handful of banks in Arnhem, including two ING banks (just look for the bright orange lions on the sign) with ATMs; the larger of the two is on Willemsplein about two minutes away from the information center.

Language

Dutch is the official language of Arnhem but almost everyone speaks English. Just say hello first and you'll be greeted in English.

Shopping

World War II history buffs will want to pick up a book or two about the Battle of Arnhem.