Thursday, April 14, 2011

A Bridge Too Far

If you've heard of Nijmegen prior to reading this blog, it's probably because you've seen the movie A Bridge Too Far. When the Allies cross the Waal, a substantial portion of the film takes place on the Ooijpolder, right next to Nijmegen's Waalbrug. Yes, that bridge was there in World War II (okay, maybe not the exact same bridge--as I recall Nijmegen was bombed pretty extensively towards the end of the war, so parts of it, if not the whole thing, have been rebuilt since then). And yes, it looked as out-of-place then as it does now.

It's always strange to watch places you know pop up on screen. When I saw Ocean's Twelve (yes, I'm a bit tardy when it comes to watching movies) and watched Amsterdam roll by, it felt a bit like playing punch-buggy on a long car trip. If Cold Case is on, I'm always watching for the bits of "real" Philly that get inserted into the scenes. Lately, Karel has been taken like a virginal bride by the show Masterchef, which takes place in London. Admittedly, I don't know London nearly half as well as I know Philly, but we walked around quite a lot and it's always fun to point out places we've been to. Seeing places you've been to opens up a slice of your life to the rest of the world, even if the others watching it don't realize it. It feels like a connection in some cases--and a betrayal in others, in the sense that some places feel like they belong to you, in some way.

Ultimately, it boils down to the people you know--they are the ones who make a place feel like home. It's why, I think, I feel more at home in Maastricht than I do in Nijmegen. Hopefully that will change soon. I can't be wandering around forever.


  1. I saw them filming Oceans 12 at Haarlem train station one week while I was trying to get to work.

    I could not believe that when the movie came out they said Haarlem train station was Amsterdam train station. Sure it is a nicer looking station but come on.

  2. Eh, Americans think Holland = Netherlands = Amsterdam. I think you could've filmed it on Terschelling and they'd still think it was Amsterdam :-)

  3. I live in Arnhem for a few years and was encouraged to read the Bridge Too Far book by locals - its an amazing story and, as you say, very local. Arnhem was the last of the Bridges and the city is still ringed with memorials to the battle faught there. Very sad; very much a part of the city's fabric. And, as you say, there are lots of expat metaphors to lay alongside it.