Commanderie van Sint Jan

After every journey, De Pelgrim comes back home to a very special place: Saint-John's Commanderie in Nijmegen. In 1196, more than 800 years ago, a pilgrim house was built on this site. It served as a hospital for pilgrims, who prepared for or returned from a pilgrimage. It soon became a monastery as well, tended to by the Order of Saint John, a knight's order which was devoted to protecting pilgrims. They were led by a commandeur.

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Over the centuries, things started going downhill for the Order of Saint John in the Commanderie. After the Reformation, the building switched owners a couple of times: Spanish soldiers, the Protestant church, and even a butcher were among its owners during that period. After the last commandeur passed away, the city of Nijmegen assumed control over the building and a school was installed in it. An invasion by the French changed all this, and for a long time the building was used as an army barracks. After the French departed, the building served as a church for a short period - not for the Order of Saint John, but for the protestants who had fled from France.

In 1944, Nijmegen was struck by an Allied bombardment and the old pilgrim house was badly damaged. In order to prevent it from being completely demolished, Mr. J. Th. van Weel, purchased the building and put a wine bar in it, which became a very popular venue. For a short time after that, a fraternity had its clubhouse in it, and subsequently the municipality of Nijmegen owned it for a while. It served as a museum until 1998, after which the museum moved to Kelfkensbos, where it is nowadays known as Het Valkhof. And now we're back at the beginning: the site is once more a pilgrim house. De Pelgrim has returned, and he means to stay!

" The freedom the cooks receive makes our menu playful and surprising. We don't want a certain cuisine or region to dominate our menu. The dishes on the menu are just a little different than what you'd find elsewhere. People want to eat something remarkable, something special. You eat something, but you can't put your finger on how it's made exactly. And if you try it at home, you just can't do it. That's the added value of going out to eat. "

Remco, Independent chef

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