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Groningen (province)

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Groningen is in the Netherlands. Groningen is the northernmost province in the Netherlands. The only large city within the province is called Groningen as well. The remainder consists of a low lying rural landscape.

Cities[edit]

  • Delfzijl - Small city with busy port and industrial area.
  • Groningen - Vibrant student city. Historical buildings and modern architecture go hand in hand.
  • Appingedam - Small medieval town in the north-east of the province. Can be reached by train from Groningen (trains leave every half hour). The town has very picturesque canals with the famous "hanging kitchens".
  • Pieterburen - The "zeehondencrèche" or seal hospital looks after sick and weak seals. Apart from being a hospital for seals it offers a small visitor's centre, guided tours and film. During the summer months a special bus connects Groningen with the seal hospital.
  • Uithuizen - Small town (can be reached by train from Groningen, hourly connection). Famous for the Menkemaborg, a small castle with labyrinth and beautiful gardens. The town also has a large museum dedicated to World War II.
  • Warffum - Charming village (can be reached by train from Groningen, hourly connection) with an open air museum.

Other destinations[edit]

  • Bourtange - An old Dutch fort. Very interesting and popular.
  • The Ommelanden - The countryside north and east of Groningen (city). Small towns, fishing communities, stately homes ("borgen") and windmills. Good area to explore, by car or on bike.
  • The Wadden Sea — a UNESCO World Heritage site along the region's coast and including the West Frisian Islands

Understand[edit]

Groningen is historically one of the poorest regions in the Netherlands. Agriculture used to be one of the mainstays, with extensive peat digging providing another source of income. Contrasting with the rural nature of the provine, the capital city, Groningen itself, is a student city, with two large hospitals, a university and multiple other higher education facilities. Many villages have grown little in the last century giving them a nice charm. If you have a few days to spare, try to explore. Buy fresh fish, eat smoked eels in Bourtange, take a stroll along a large (9 meters tall) statue of Lenin in Tjuchem, which was imported from the former GDR on a whim of an eccentric businessman. The large presence of extremely exploitative landowners in the east of Groningen during the late 19th and early 20th century left a relatively strong communist movement. This was exemplified by the appointment of a communist mayor to the town of Beerta in 1982, who led the council until it was merged into a large municipality in 1990. Apart from agriculture there is an large industrial area near the city of Delfzijl. In 1959 one of the largest natural gas fields in Europe was discovered near the village of Slochteren, leading to the continued presence of gas exploitation sites throughout the province

Talk[edit]

Locals talk a Lower-Saxon dialect called Gronings (Grunnegs). English is of course widely spoken, as well as German. Especially on markets and fairs, many buyers will be German.


Get in[edit]

By train[edit]

It is easiest to arrive in Groningen by train. Groningen city, although on the edge of the province, is a transport hub; lines running to the north of the province join the main rail network here.

Convenient services run south towards the rest of the country. Regular services run from Utrecht, Amsterdam and Schiphol, among other locations; some are direct and some require a change at Amersfoort, Utrecht or Zwolle. From Schiphol the journey is typically 2h 30m.

Note when boarding trains to Groningen that they often divide after Zwolle, with the halves having seperate destinations (Groningen and Leeuwarden. Check with the conductor or look at the destination sign on the outside of the carriage to confirm you're on the correct section for Groningen.

Trains also run from Leeuwarden in Friesland, and to Germany. Bremen can be reached in about 2 hours 40 minutes, with one change.

By bus[edit]

Long distance buses to Lelystad are also available. Also regular connections to Emmen and Assen. Publicexpress, a German bus company from Oldenburg, offers a daily direct connection to Oldenburg, Airport Bremen and Bremen Central.

By air[edit]

There is an airport about 10km outside the city of Groningen, in Eelde. This airport is international but quite small. Other flight connections require a train journey; Amsterdam Schiphol Airport is the biggest and best connected airport, but Bremen and Eindhoven are a similar distance away by train (2-3 hours) and are well served by budget airlines. Train tickets for these locations are typically 30 Euro one way as of the time of writing (Feb 2007). Public Express offers regular bus service from Groningen to Bremen Airport for 17 Euro one way (as of June 2008). This bus also stops in Oldenburg and Bremen for those who are interested in visiting these cities.

By car[edit]

  • Groningen has the least busy roads of the Netherlands. Only at rush-hour (Monday - Friday from 07.00 to 09.00 and from 16.00 to 18.00) there can be a few small traffic-jams but nothing serious.
  • Outside the city of Groningen, there will not be too much traffic on the road.
  • Parking a car on Saturday in the city of Groningen can be difficult although. Park your car at a "Transferium" and travel by bus to the city for a small fee.
  • Almost every town has a petrol-station where you can buy petrol, diesel and LPG.
  • Car rental is available in Groningen and at the airport through Avis, Herz and Europcar.
  • Road maps are available at the ANWB shop in the Oosterstraat, Groningen. As a member of American Automobile Association, you can get discount at the ANWB shop.

Get around[edit]

Best way to get around the province is by car or bike. As the province is quite spread out, take a car if you have not much time to spare. Buses and trains also cross the countryside. By train, bikes can be taken during off-peak hours for a € 5,- day ticket. Folding bikes can be taken without payment. Trains all originate in Groningen City and offer regular connections to Delfzijl, Roodeschool and Winschoten. Some buses in the country side require prior reservation ("bel bus"). Another option is the so called "treintaxi", a cab that operates as a mini-bus and connects trainstations with private addresses (even in nearby villages) for just a few euro.

See[edit][add listing]

  • "Groningen station", the attractive historical main station for the city.
  • "Groninger Museum", just to the north from "Groningen Station. Beautiful architecture combined with seasonal expositions.
  • "Woldjerspoor", a partly remaining railway from the '20's. It has beautiful stations (such like Station Kolham, Station Slochteren, Station Engelbert etc.) along the track, which are still remaining.

Do[edit][add listing]

When in Groningen province why not try:

  • Wadlopen (walking across the tidal mudflat of the Waddenzee during low tide). It is a great way to experience the Waddenzee an area of great natural beauty full of sea birds and some seals. For more experienced "wadlopers" there are even trips to the island of Schiermonnikoog.
  • Take a bath or spend a day in the sauna at the Spa of Nieuweschans.
  • Go for a tour along the old fortified houses called "borgen" at Slochteren (Freylemaborg), Leek (Nienoord), Leens (Verhildersum) and Uithuizen (Menkemaborg).
  • Go sailing or swimming at Leek at the "Leekstermeer" or Paterswolde at the "Paterswoldse Meer".
  • Try the Groningen City walk, a guided tour through the inner city of Groningen. Lots of interesting buildings (like the Prinsenhof) and stories.
  • Take the stairs at the Martini Toren. Climb to the top of the tower and enjoy the view.

Eat[edit][add listing]

Go and get to eat some fresh fish, for instance in Noordpolderzijl or Termunterzijl. Or get yourself a pancake in Eenrum.

There are a lot of fine restaurants scattered across the province:

  • Leens - Verhildersum (expensive, but high quality food, only made from regional products, 1 star Michelin rating)
  • Delfzijl - De Kakebrug
  • Aduard - Onder de Linden (expensive, but very good, 1 star Michelin rating)
  • Muller - Groningen (1 star Michelin rating)
  • Haren - Villa Sasso, Mediterranean cuisine.
  • Tekinev - Turkish Fine cuisine

Less expensive, but nice:

  • Groningen - Chinese restaurant Ni Hao. Very good Chinese cuisine
  • Middelstum - De Valk
  • Eenrum - Abrahams mosterdmakerij
  • Fish restaurants in Delfzijl, Termunterzijl and Lauwersoog. Fresh caught fish from the sea on your plate.
  • Lots and lots of places to eat in the city of Groningen.Turkish , Thai, Mexican, Subways, Chinese, Italian, Spanish, Mongolean, Japanese, French, German, Dutch. Whatever you want to eat, there is a place for it.

Drink[edit][add listing]

Groningen is famous for its nightlife. Nowhere in the Netherlands will the pubs stay open longer. Especially at the area to the southeast of the "Grote Markt", like the Poelestraat, the Oosterstraat en the Peperstraat, there are a lot of pubs that stay open until late. Dutch pubs, student pubs, Irish pubs, bars, coffee shops, you name it, Groningen has it.

Try café Hooghoudt at the south border of the "Grote Markt". Hooghoudt is a local liquor brand (it produces vodka and traditional Dutch liquors like "Jenever") and the café acts as a barrelhouse.

Stay safe[edit]

In whole, Groningen is a safe place to stay. There are only a few basic rules to follow:

  • Lock your car and don't leave your CD player, laptop or navigation equipment in your car.
  • Double lock your rental bike; the Netherlands are famous for their bikes, but also bicycle theft.
  • Hard drugs are illegal in the Netherlands, but possession of a small portion of soft drugs (marijuana) for personal use is allowed.
  • Groningen city centre is observed by CCTV cameras (with noise-sensitive warning equipment). If you are the victim or the witness of a criminal act, the police will normally arrive in a few minutes.

Get out[edit]

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