Details/Information for Canadian Forces (CF) Operation NIJMEGEN

CF Overseas Operations have most often operated within the construct of an international mandate. As such, the International Information is presented first in order to provide the context of the Canadian Operation (displayed second). Eventually, all rotations associated with the particular Canadian operation will also be displayed.

July 19, 2000; Nijmegen, the Netherlands
Photo By: Sgt. Dennis J. Mah

The DCDS/CFSU Team parades through downtown
Nijmegen amidst a festival atmosphere with
crowds lining the streets cheering
and applauding the thousands of marchers
in the 84th annual Nijmegen March.

International Information

International Operation Name: Nijmegen Marches

International Mission Name: Nijmegen Marches

Mandating Organization: Government of Canada

Region Name: Europe

Location: Netherlands

Mission Date: 15 July 1952 - Present

Mission Mandate: To participate in the four day fitness marches in the Netherlands.

Mission/Operation Notes:

In the autumn of 1904, sergeants of the Dutch 6th Infantry Regiment formed a football (soccer) team. Other soldiers caught the sporting bug, which spread to civilians, and on 3 April 1908 the Dutch Physical Education Association (NbvLO) was formed. In July 1907, Lieutenant C. Viehoff had proposed a series of marches over four days covering 150 kilometres. In 1909, the NbvLO designed 15 such 150 kms courses (now 160 kms) and on 1 September 1909 the first 306 soldiers and 10 civilians set out. In 1910, the Association designed only one course, from Arnhem through Doesburg and Zutphen to Apeldoorn. In 1925, Nijmegen became the official start point for the four-day marches.

In 1928, Amsterdam hosted the Olympic Games. The march organizer, Jonkheer W. Schorer invited delegations from France, Germany, Norway and the United Kingdom to participate. The march gained in popularity through the 1930s, with increasing number of persons and international contingents. After the Second World War, a fund-raising drive and the efforts of volunteers allowed Nijmegen to again host a march in 1946. Starting with 4,011 people in 1946, the march now regularly draws over 35,000 people, but has been capped at 47,000.

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Canadian Forces (CF) Information (NIJMEGEN)

CF Mission/Operation Notes:

Canadian participation in the Nijmegen marches has been given the name Operation NIJMEGEN. The Canadian Forces have been marching since 1952 when members of the 27th Infantry Brigade in Germany participated. The CF now regularly sends a contingent of 200 men and women. During the march the Canadian military participants stop at the Groesbeek Commonwealth War Cemetery, where they stage a ceremony to pay respect to the 2,331 soldiers and airmen who are interred there.