Fifteen 'Waalpaintings' to illustrate Nijmegen’s rich history

Date of news: 15 October 2020

On 16 October, scaffolding will be erected against the Holland Casino in Nijmegen, marking the official start of the project Waalpaintings. From this date onwards, the artists of Studio Hartebeest will begin working on a mural of the Byzantine empress Theophanu, who lived at the Valkhof in the tenth century. The project is an initiative by historians Erika Manders and Dennis Jussen from the Radboud Institute for Culture & History at Radboud University.

The painting of Theophanu and her son Otto III, who was born near Nijmegen in 980, will appear on the side of the Holland Casino building near the Veerpoorttrappen in October or November. Over the next few years, a total of fifteen murals depicting the history of Nijmegen will be painted at locations of relevance to the subject. All murals will be painted by artists with an affinity for Nijmegen.

Studio-Hartebeest-aan-het-werkStudio Hartebeest working on the design of the mural depicting Theophanu.

Picture book of Nijmegen history

“Our goal with this project is to brighten up the city with murals that reveal the history of Nijmegen to both locals and tourists alike. We want to create a kind of picture book of Nijmegen history,” explains Dennis Jussen, one of the initiators. “The project starts with the Romans and ends with the squatters’ riots in the 1980s,” adds Erika Manders.

The fifteen subjects were selected based on the Concise History of Nijmegen, which makes the project a representative collection of historical events. “When making our selection, we also looked at the representation of women in our city’s history, hence the first painting of Theophanu.”

Studio Hartebeest expects to take three weeks to complete the painting. Two Waalpaintings completed earlier by other artists were also included because they align nicely with the project’s goal. The first is a mural at Plein 1944 depicting the 1944 bombings and the second is a mural at the Kelfkensbos of Julius Civilis, the leader of the Batavian rebellion against the Romans.

FragmentA fragment of the mural of Theophanu that will be realised.


The mural of Theophanu was made possible with the help of the Brediusstichting. The initiators are seeking additional funding for the remaining Waalpaintings. “We plan to launch a crowdfunding campaign soon,” explains Jussen. “We hope to finish all fifteen Waalpaintings in the next three years,” adds Manders.

The mural of Theophanu is being painted by Studio Hartebeest and is being funded by the Brediusstichting. The project is supported by Radboud University and the Municipality of Nijmegen.

More information? Contact

  • Erika Manders,
  • Dennis Jussen,
  • Science Communication Radboud University, 024 361 6000,
  • For more information, visit the project website, (in Dutch)