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Description: Open source travel guide to Wageningen, featuring up-to-date information on attractions, hotels, restaurants, nightlife, travel tips and more. Free and reliable advice written by Wikitravellers from around the globe.
Wageningen lies close to the right bank of the branch of the Rhine estuary known in the Netherlands as the Nederrijn. Excavations date a settlement at this site back to the Stone Age. The hills to the east of the town provided protection for a Bronze Age tribe from flooding of the Rhine and from enemies and the earliest record of the name (in 838AD) is from the same hilly area. The town has had a chequered history, being occupied or destroyed on several occasions. Also, in 1421 the Rhine changed course, moving further south and, in the process, having a detrimental effect on Wageningen's trade. In the 17th Century the town started tobacco cultivation and there were several cigar manufacturers. The floodplain of the Rhine to the south also had several brick factories, one of which can still be seen.
In 1876 the Dutch government decided to build the first agricultural school in Wageningen on the grounds that it was in the heart of the country and was surrounded by a wide variety of soils. Since then the town has boomed and Wageningen University is now a world-renowned Life Sciences university. Wageningen also has an important inland port.
The story goes that Wageningen was given the choice of getting a university or a train station. It chose the university, and still doesn't have a station. There is a station called Ede-Wageningen but it is close to Ede and 8km from Wageningen. The Ede-Wageningen station is about an hour from Amsterdam or from Schiphol airport. From these stations look for trains headed to Arnhem and Nijmegen. There is a train every half an hour from Amsterdam and every half an hour from Schiphol. If you miss the direct train you can take a train to Utrecht and change there. Arriving at Ede-Wageningen, take Bus No. 88 to downtown Wageningen. This stops at many of the student residences en route. By taxi the journey will cost €25.
Wageningen can be reached by car from highway A12, which passes to the north, A15, which passes to the south and can be reached by a ferry over the Rhine, and the A50, which passes to the east.
Cycling is the best mode of transport and there are several stores downtown that can provide bike rentals. For those staying longer it is possible to buy second-hand bikes. A stall in the main square on Saturdays has good bargains. New bikes range from around €200 for a Chinese-made one (looked upon contemptuously by the Dutch) to up to €1000 for a real Dutch bike. All of the main roads have separate cycling lanes. These have their own traffic signals and you are expected to obey them. At roundabouts and other junctions cyclists usually have the right of way but this cannot be guaranteed so be careful. You have to give way if there are white triangles on the track that point towards you.
Bus No.88 also takes you around most of Wageningen but it really doesn't make much sense to ride the bus here.