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Nijmegen arond 1400

Nijmegen went through a turbulent period in the 14th century. The population grew, despite the plague epidemic of 1350. Nijmegen shippers carried on trade with England, and the East Sea and North Sea regions were connected to Nijmegen through the German Hanse. The cultural environment also improved greatly in Nijmegen. Money, new ideas, new contacts and the construction of churches, monasteries and convents provided work for artistic craftsmen such as metal smiths, wood carvers, sculptors and painters.

Nijmegen was the largest and most important city in the duchy of Gelre, and dominated the area between Tiel and the German city Wesel on the Rhine. The dukes of Gelre flattened the castels of the nobility around Nijmegen. They had a close bond with England and supported that country in the Hundred Years War with France.

The people of Nijmegen were remarkably entrepreneurial and had a genuine wanderlust. Willem van Gülick, Duke of Gelre and principal occupant of the Valkhof, maintained many international contacts in far-flung places such as Poland, Rome, England and Lithuania; he even travelled to Africa. It was not unusual for well-heeled young men from Nijmegen to study abroad in places such as Cologne, Heidelberg, or Leuven (Louvain) - or even farther afield in Paris, Bologna or Rome.

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