Joost Rosendaal
Joost Rosendaal

Historian Joost Rosendaal nominated for 'Nijmegen Citizen of the Year'

Every year, the Municipality of Nijmegen awards the title 'Nijmegenaar van het Jaar' (Nijmegen Person of the Year) to honour Nijmegen citizens who last year made a special achievement with impact for the entire city. This year, Dr Joost Rosendaal, historian at the Radboud Institute for Culture and History, is one of the three contenders.

As a historian and publicist, Joost Rosendaal is committed to making Nijmegen's wartime history accessible to the general public, both inside and outside the walls of the university. His skill in conveying the history of his city earned him the nomination for Nijmegen Citizen of the Year 2023. 

The nomination came as a complete surprise to Rosendaal.  "Wow, what an honour! I had not expected this at all. But it is very nice that your work has been noticed and that I can and may mean something like this for Nijmegen. It gives extra meaning to your work as a historian. In the coming weeks, some 3,500 Nijmegen citizens will vote between the three candidates, but I think the nomination alone is great," says the historian.

Nijmegen war history

With his work, Rosendaal makes the city's history accessible to ordinary Nijmegen citizens. This autumn, he was involved in the exhibition Jongeren in de Vuurlinie (‘Young people in the Line of Fire’) in the Stevenskerk and the placement of a series of columns on Plein 1944. Joost also knows how to connect the pain of war in Nijmegen with wars elsewhere: for example, the exhibition also showed the current story of Ukrainian youth. 

For the Gelderlander this autumn, Joost wrote another series on diaries of Nijmegen citizens from the war. With his texts, he sketched a unique picture of the months after the liberation of Nijmegen. He is also involved as an expert in the Brandgrenswandeling, a commemoration of the bombing of Nijmegen on 22 February 1944. In the run-up to the 80th commemoration of the bombardment and the 80th commemoration of the liberation of Nijmegen, he is involved as an expert in various projects and commemorations. Moreover, in 2023 the podcast 'Het Bombardement op Nijmegen' was published, of which Joost is one of the creators. 

As chairman of Nijmegen Blijft in Beeld, Rosendaal was also closely involved in putting together a special film with old footage of Radboud University in the past century. This was screened during the Radboud Art & Science Festival last October in honour of the university's centenary. 

Nijmegen Citizen of the Year

Like every year, every Nijmegen citizen could submit candidates for the title 'Nijmegenaar van het Jaar'. From all candidates a selection of three was made. Besides Joost Rosendaal, Lerrie Grooten (Kindness Collective) and Iris Kokosky Deforchaux (primary school De Bloemberg) were nominated. They were presented on Friday 8 December 2023 to the independent nomination committee and the digital city panel, comprising about 3,500 Nijmegen citizens. On 8 January 2024, during the New Year reception, it will be announced who is the Nijmegen Citizen of 2023.