Visit Holland - The Netherlands

Wageningen

Wageningen is a municipality and a historic town in the central Netherlands, in the province of Gelderland. It is famous for Wageningen University, which specializes in life sciences.

The city has 37,414 inhabitants (as of 1 January 2010), of which many thousands are students.

Location
Wageningen is situated on the north bank of the Lower Rhine, ("Nederrijn" in Dutch) and at the border between the Gelderse valley and the Veluwe, of which the southwest hill is called the Wageningse berg. Wageningen can be reached by car from highways A12, A15 and A50, and from the Ede-Wageningen railway station via a 15-minute bus drive to the Wageningen central terminal.

History
The oldest known settlements in the Wageningen area were located north of today's town center. They were mentioned as early as 828. During the early Middle Ages a small church was built on the hill east of the town. Several wood farms have been found near the top of the hill. In the twelfth century people settled at what is currently the Bergstraat. Close to Hotel de Wereld a stone floor has been found dating back to this period. After the construction of a dike to protect the city from the acidic water from the moors that then occupied the Gelderse Vallei (the current Hoogstraat), the oldest part of the present city was built to the south. The parts of the city north of the Hoogstraat were built later. Wageningen received city rights in 1263.[3] The city was protected by a city wall and a moat, and in 1526 a castle was built. The castle was dismantled during the 18th century, but the foundations of three of the towers and part of the wall remain visible today.

The people, city, and institutions of Wageningen suffered greatly during World War II. Yet, the town is famous for its role at the end of the war. The central part of Wageningen was destroyed by artillery fire soon after the German invasion of the country in May 1940. Wageningen was the site of the surrender of German General Johannes Blaskowitz to Canadian General Charles Foulkes on May 5, 1945, officially ending the war in the Netherlands. The generals negotiated the terms of surrender in the Hotel de Wereld, near the center of the city. Now, each year on the 5th of May, Liberation Day in the Netherlands, Wageningen hosts a large festival to celebrate the liberation. On this occasion, veteran soldiers parade through the city and are honored for their service, and around 120,000 people visit the pop-podia around the city.

Education & research
In 1918 the town acquired its first institution of higher education, the Landbouwhogeschool Nederland (Netherlands Agricultural College), which was based on the previous agricultural college founded in 1876, and which later became Wageningen University.[6] This initiated the development from a small historical town into a modern technological community, a process which still continues today.

Wageningen University and Research Centre (WUR), including associated institutes, now employs about 7400 people.

Today, Wageningen is also the central city in Food Valley, the Dutch food & nutrition cluster concentrated around WUR and comprising many institutes, companies and state-of-the-art facilities in the food & nutrition field. Food Valley is regarded as the largest food & nutrition Research & Development cluster in the world. One such firm, Keygene, a biotechnology company in Wageningen developed AFLP in the early 1990s and collaborated with Beijing Genomics Institute to sequence the entire genome of Brassica napus.

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