Stad in opkomst

From castle to city
After Charlemagne and Frederik Barbarossa, the German king Henry VII is without doubt the most important ruler in Nijmegen's medieval history. Hendrik's life was not too happy; he rose to power as a child, often quarreled with his father throughout his reign, and eventually died after years of imprisonment as a result of a fall from his horse. This last event appealed most to the imagination of artist Sander Dolstra, who portrayed the king on the wall entirely according to the descriptions of his contemporaries: as a tall, handsome man with blond hair and a red moustache. The flying falcons can be seen in the background; the king was a falcon hunter like his father.

The city of Nijmegen was lucky with Hendrik. In 1230 he granted Nijmegen city rights. This gave the city the same privileges as other cities in the German Empire. This also included the right to carry a double-headed eagle on the city coat of arms. This powerful symbol can be seen on the chest of the horse.

Not long after the death of Henry VII in 1242, however, the city of Nijmegen came under Gelderland rule. In 1247 Count William II of Holland was chosen as the new king of the German Empire. However, the wars and election campaign that preceded this had cost Willem a lot of money. That is why he borrowed 10,000 silver marks from Count Otto II of Guelders, a huge amount at the time. As security for the repayment of the loan, William II, as German king, gave the city of Nijmegen as collateral to the Count of Guelders. In principle, the German kings could get the city back by paying off the loan. However, this never happened, so that from 1247 Nijmegen belonged to the county of Guelders. This event is referenced with the key to the city in Otto's hand.

We don't know exactly what Otto looked like. Artist Sander Dolstra therefore chose to depict his helmet. Otto was only too happy to show that Otto was a tough knight. To the right of the helmet is a seal on which the duke was depicted on horseback.
Created on May 31, 2023
Hendrikhof 1A, 6511 JA Nijmegen, Nederland

Hunted by Maarten Hendriks. Pictures by Maarten Hendriks.

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