Groningen (city): Wikis


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—  Municipality / City  —
View from the Martini Tower


Coat of arms
Coordinates: 53°13′N 6°33′E / 53.217°N 6.55°E / 53.217; 6.55
Country Netherlands
Province Groningen
Municipality Groningen
Area (2006)
 - Total 83.69 km2 (32.3 sq mi)
 - Land 79.59 km2 (30.7 sq mi)
 - Water 4.10 km2 (1.6 sq mi)
Population (30 November 2009)
 - Total 187.623
 Density 2,324/km2 (6,019.1/sq mi)
  Source: CBS, Statline.
Time zone CET (UTC+1)
 - Summer (DST) CEST (UTC+2)
Boroughs of Groningen
Main building of the University of Groningen (2004)
The Herestraat, the main shopping street (2004)
A modern church in southern Groningen (2000)

Groningen is the capital city of the province of Groningen in the Netherlands. With a population of around 188,000, it is by far the largest city in the north of the Netherlands. Groningen is a university city, inhabited on average by about 50,000 students.



The city was founded on the northernmost point of the Hondsrug area. The oldest document referring to Groningen's existence dates from 1040. However, the city already existed long before then: the oldest archaeological traces found are believed to stem from the years 3950 BC–3720 BC, although the first major settlement in Groningen has been traced back to the 3rd century AD.

In the 13th century, when Groningen was an important trade centre, its inhabitants built a city wall to underline its authority. The city had a strong influence on the surrounding lands and made its dialect a common tongue. The most influential period of the city was the end of the 15th century, when the nearby province of Friesland was administered from Groningen. During these years, the Martini Tower was built, which loomed over the city at (then) 127 metres tall, making it the highest building in Europe at the time. The city's independence came to an end when it chose to join forces with the Spanish during the Eighty Years' War in 1594. It later switched sides, joining the Republic of the Seven United Netherlands.

In 1614, the University of Groningen was founded, initially only for religious education. In the same period the city expanded rapidly and a new city wall was built. That same city wall was tested during the Third Anglo-Dutch War in 1672, when the city was attacked fiercely by the bishop of Münster, Bernhard von Galen. The city walls resisted, an event which is celebrated with music and fireworks on 28 August (as "Gronings Ontzet" or "Bommen Berend").

The city did not escape the devastation of World War II. In particular, the main square, Grote Markt, was largely destroyed in April 1945, at the Battle of Groningen. However, the Martinitoren, its church, the Goudkantoor, and the city hall were not damaged. The battle there lasted several days.

University of Groningen

The University of Groningen (in Dutch: Rijksuniversiteit Groningen) has a rich academic tradition which dates back to 1614. After the University of Leiden, it is the oldest university located in the Netherlands. The university educated the first female student and the first astronaut in the history of the country, the first president of the European Bank and a Nobel prize winner. They share their academic roots with around 200,000 people, who were either students, teachers or researchers at the university.

Art, culture and nightlife

Although Groningen is not a very large city, it does have an important role as the main urban centre of this part of the country, particularly in the fields of music and other arts, education, and business. The large number of students living in Groningen also contributes to a diverse cultural scene for a city of its size.



The most important and most famous museum in Groningen is the Groninger Museum. With the construction of its current building, designed by Alessandro Mendini, the museum has been transformed into one of the most modern and innovative of its kind in the Netherlands. In addition, the city also has a maritime museum, a university museum, a comics museum and a tobacco museum.

Theatre and music

Groningen has its own city theatre (Stadsschouwburg), located on the Turfsingel; a big theatre and concert venue called Martini Plaza; and another major cultural venue on the Trompsingel, called the Oosterpoort. Vera is located on the Oosterstraat, Grand Theatre on the Grote Markt, and Simplon on the Boterdiep. Several cafes feature live music, a few of which specialize in jazz music, including Jazzcafe De Spiegel on the Peperstraat. The jazz music students from the Prins Claus Conservatorium have been known to hold regular jam sessions in cafes such as Peter Pan on the Voor Het Voormalige Klein Poortje and café De Smederij on the Tuinstraat 2-4. Groningen is also the host city for the Eurosonic Festival, an annual music showcase event for over a hundred bands from all over Europe.


Groningen's nightlife depends largely on its student population. Its cultural scene is vibrant and remarkable for a city of its size. In particular, the Grote Markt, the Vismarkt, and the Poelestraat and Peperstraat are crowded at night, especially on Thursdays and Saturdays when some bars do not close until 7 in the morning. In 2006, Groningen was elected "de beste binnenstad" (the best city centre) of the Netherlands. There are also two red-light districts, one in Nieuwstad (a street) and one in the A-kwartier (an area). Both of them are in or near the city centre.

International relations

Twin towns - Sister cities

Groningen is twinned with the following cities:[1]

and in addition has a sister city relationship with the American state of Michigan Michigan


The city council has 39 members. The left-wing parties PvdA and GroenLinks are the largest. After the elections in 2002, they formed a coalition with CDA and VVD. Peter Rehwinkel has been the mayor since 2009. As a result of the elections of 2006, three left-wing parties (PvdA, GroenLinks and SP), decided to form a new coalition, which was appointed on April 26, 2006.


Until recently, there were two large sugar factories inside the city boundaries. The factory of the Suiker Unie was originally outside of Groningen, but it was completely swallowed by the expansion of the city. After a campaign to close the factory, it was finally shut down in 2008/2009. Before closing down, the sugar production in recent years amounted to 250,000 tonnes of beet sugar, with 250 employees (2005 figures). The only remaining sugar factory is CSM Vierverlaten in Hoogkerk, which produces 235,000 tonnes of beet sugar, with 283 employees.

Other well known companies from Groningen are Hooghoudt (a producer of alcoholic beverages, genever and beerenburg, amongst others), publishing house Wolters-Noordhoff and Theorodus Niemeyer (a coffee, tea and tobacco company).



Groningen has been called the "World Cycling City", since 57% of journeys within the city are made by bicycle.[4] The city is very much adapted to the wishes of those who want to get around without a car, as it has an extensive cycle network, good public transport, and a large pedestrianised zone in the city centre. In the Italian TV programme of investigative journalism "Report" appeared a short film,[5] considering the use of bikes in Groningen a good practice to emulate in Italy.


There are three stations in Groningen:

The main train station (served by the Nederlandse Spoorwegen and Arriva) has regular services to most of the major cities in the Netherlands.

Direct destinations are:


The A28 motorway connects the city of Groningen to Utrecht (via Zwolle and Amersfoort). The A7 motorway connects Groningen to Friesland and Amsterdam (South-West) and Winschoten and the direction of Bremen in the East.


Qbuzz run several city buses and urban buses. The main routes are:

  • 3: Lewenborg-city centre-main station-Vinkhuizen
  • 6: Beijum-city centre-main station-Hoornsemeer
  • 11: Zernike-city centre-main station
  • 33/39/133: Groningen-Surhuisterveen
  • 50/51: Groningen-Assen
  • 61: Groningen-Bedum-Uithuizen
  • 82 Groningen-Roden

There are also direct buses between Groningen (train station) and Bremen (airport) in Germany, run by Public Express.

In the near future, there are plans to build a tram route connecting the central station, the city centre and the university complex (Zernike).


Groningen Airport Eelde is located 10 km south of the centre of Groningen, with scheduled and holiday charter services to European destinations.


Groningen has a moderate temperate climate, with relative warm summers and cool winters. Weather is influenced by the North Sea to the north-west and its prevailing north-western winds and gales. Winter temperatures are cool: on average above freezing, although frosts are not uncommon during spells of easterly winds blowing in from the inner European continent, i. e. Germany, Russia and even Siberia. Night-time tempuratures of −10 °C (14 °F) or lower are not uncommon during cold winter periods. The lowest temperature ever recorded is −26.8 °C (−16.2 °F) on February 16, 1956. Snow occasionally falls, but rarely stays long due to warmer daytime temperatures. Summers are somewhat warm and humid. Temperatures of 30 °C (86 °F) or higher occur, but most average daytime high's are around 21–24 °C (
  - Invalid output type
{4}="def", in {{Convert|21|to(-)|24|def|...}}. ). Very rainy periods are common, especially in spring and summer. Average annual precipitation is about 900 mm.

Avg high °C
Avg low °C

Football stadium

The football (soccer) stadium of FC Groningen is called Euroborg. Opened in January 2006, the stadium has 22,600 seats. There are plans to expand the stadium to a capacity of 35- or 40,000. The former football stadium of FC Groningen is the Oosterpark Stadion (12,500 seats).

Born in Groningen


  • The city is nationally known as the "Metropolis of the North" and as "Martinistad" referring to the Martini Tower.
  • The city is known as "Stad" in the local dialect, which simply translates as City, because Groningen is the only large city in the province of Groningen.
  • Until 2007, in the autumns months, the sugar factory produced a distinct sweet smell that could be detected from most parts of the city. In early 2008, the sugar factory Suiker Unie closed its doors.
  • After playing a show here supporting The Waterboys, Irish musician Mic Christopher slipped and consequently died from head injuries.
  • Between 19 and 24 December 2009 Groningen hosted Serious Request Glass House, a project by Dutch radio station 3FM in which they collect money for projects of the Red Cross.

See also


  1. ^ "Groningen - Partner Cities". © 2008 Gemeente Groningen, Kreupelstraat 1,9712 HW Groningen. Retrieved 2008-12-08. 
  2. ^ "Twin Towns - Graz Online - English Version". Retrieved 2010-01-05. 
  3. ^ "Kaliningrad - Partner Cities". © 2000-2006 Kaliningrad City Hall. Retrieved 2008-12-08. 
  4. ^ "global ideas bank". 2007-10-15. Retrieved 2009-07-14. 
  5. ^ "". 2007-10-15.,,RaiTre-Report%5E23%5E37292,00.html. Retrieved 2009-05-05. 
  6. ^ "World Weather Information Service - Amsterdam (Schiphol)". 2006-10-05. Retrieved 2009-05-05. 

External links

Groningen is the name of several places:

Other uses

See also

  • Groningen Grizzlies, the Groningen ice hockey club
  • Gröningen, a town in Saxony-Anhalt, Germany
  • Groeningen (North Brabant), the Netherlands, village

Travel guide

Up to date as of January 14, 2010
(Redirected to Groningen article)

From Wikitravel

For other places with the same name, see Groningen (disambiguation).

Groningen[1] is a city in The Netherlands with 185.000 inhabitants and is the capital of Groningen. Groningen city was founded around 1100 A.D. and has a rich history, which can clearly be seen from the old medieval buildings in the down town area. The city is a university town with a high student population, and has had a university since 1614.

Get in

By train

Groningen has three train stations, the central station (Station Groningen), Groningen Europapark and Groningen Noord. All trains eventually arrive at the central station; only a few trains stop at the smaller stations. There are direct trains from Schiphol airport, Utrecht and Rotterdam to Groningen (2-2.5 hours) and Amsterdam Centraal can be reached with one change. There is an international connection that terminates in Leer Bahnhof (Germany) and runs every 2 hours. Once over the border, you can change line to reach Bremen, Hamburg and Hannover.

By bus

The main bus station is right next to the central train station.

There is a direct buslink to Bremen (€19, one-way) and Oldenburg [2].

Also the direct bus to Lelystad, via Herenveen, Lemmer and Emmeloord leaves there.

By car

Driving in the old city, particularly within the central canal ring, is not the best option; parking is not always easy to find, and none of it is free.

There are several Park & Ride facilities; once of the biggest is on Sontweg, to the east of the city and near IKEA. It is clearly marked when driving on the ring road. Parking there is free, and for a euro a regular bus service takes you right to (and from) the Grote Markt, the heart of the city.

Get around

Like most cities in the Netherlands, Groningen's historic city center is surrounded by a canal, the diepenring. Most of the sights are within this area, and the Central Station is 50m outside it.

Within the diepenring, traffic is very restricted; Groningen's centre is designed to be as traffic-free as possible, and it is very difficult to drive and park within this area. Even resident parking permits are strictly rationed. However, the central area is compact and can be easily crossed on foot or with a bicycle.

Further out, Groningen has a loosely connected ring road, consisting of several N-roads forming a rather square ring shape around the centre. The city sprawls somewhat and crosses this ring in places, but most of the population live within this area.

By bike

Getting from any place in Groningen to the centre will take at most 20 minutes by bike. This makes the bike a fast, cheap and easy way to travel in Groningen. Don't get scared by the overwhelming amount of bicycles. The city houses tens of thousands of students, whose primary means of transportation is the bike. Be advised though; bicycle theft is pretty high so use a good lock.

Bicycles are available for rent at a number of places around town, including a facility in the Central Station.

By bus

If you haven't got a bike the bus is the best option for distances you don't want to walk. All buses run through (or end on) Central station. Most buses have a stop at the Grote Markt. The major bus lines are listed below. Tickets are available by the driver (during off-peak periods you can buy a Eurokaartje, cost €1.50) or see the strippenkaart section on the Netherlands page for more information on how to pay for the bus.

  • Line 3 runs from Vinkhuizen to Lewenborg via Kraneweg, Westerhaven, the Aa-Kerk, the Central Station, the Grote Markt and Kardinge
  • Line 6 runs from Hoornsemeer to Beijum via the Martini hospital, Paterswoldseweg, the Central Station, the Grote Markt and Kardinge
  • Line 11 runs from Central Station to Zernike via Grote Markt, the northern train station (Station Noord) and Paddepoel
  • Line 15 runs from the Central Station to Zernike via the Aa-Kerk and the Noorderplantsoen.
  • Line 20 runs from the Central Station to Europapark (and Stadium Euroborg, the Groningen FC soccer stadium)
Martini church
Martini church

Like most cities in The Netherlands, Groningen's city center is surrounded by a canal.

  • The Groninger Museum[3]. Just opposite train/bus station. Spectacular architecture. Hosts state of the art of contemporary art in the world. One of the five most progressive modern/contemporary art collections in the world.
  • Het Noordelijk Scheepvaartmuseum [4]. The northern museum of water transport. Shows the history and role of transport over water until the 1970's
  • Synagogue. [5] The synagogue was built after the oriental design of the New Synagogue in Berlin. Shortly after WWII the Jewish community was forced to sell the synagogue since only a mere 7% of the entire Jewish community of Groningen survived the war. In 1981 the building was renovated and rehabilitated.
  • The Tabaksmuseum [6] Tobacco museum, 'roommate' of the scheepvaartmuseum. Collections moderately interesting, but housed in very beautiful, old, authentic warehouses.
  • The Aa-kerk[7] Beautiful church built in the middle ages.
  • The Rijksuniversiteit Groningen [8], the University of Groningen, is the second-oldest university in the Netherlands and one of three State Universities of the Netherlands. It was established in 1614. While the university has its share of modern buildings, both in and out of town, the Academiegebouw is an old and attractive building with a tower and worth strolling past.
  • The Grote Markt (great market) and the Vismarkt (fish market) are two large market squares in the center of the city.
St. Anthony's Guest house garden
St. Anthony's Guest house garden
  • Take a guided bike tour [9]: the best way to discover Groningen.
  • Climb the Martini tower [10] for a nice view over the city. Tickets are available in the VVV (tourist information) shop just over the road.
  • Take a canal cruise [11] [12]around the historical center.
  • Walk in het Noorderplantsoen [13] on a sunny day, this is the place to relax after a hard day's work for a lot of students.
  • Visit the Noorderzon open-air theatrefestival [14] in the second half of August, art, comedy, dance and theatre in the Noorderplantsoen.
  • See a band at Vera underground pop club [15], where Pearl Jam, Nirvana, Sonic Youth, the White Stripes and many others performed.
  • Visit the annual Eurosonic [16] and/or Noorderslag [17] festivals, where dozens of bands from all over the world perform on various stages spread throughout the city.
  • Take a free bus-ride on the National Day of Architecture organised on Saturday around 21st of June by GRAS-platfrom. Buses leave from Stadsschouwburg on Turfsingel from 11AM. on. Buses will take you to some highlights of newest architecture.
  • The city's pedestrian street runs off of the Grote Markt and contains most of the city's everyday shopping needs. Other shopping streets extend out from the Grote Markt and the Vismarkt. All streets within the central canal ring are low traffic due to restrictions.
  • The most picturesque shopping street is called the Folkingestraat; it runs south from the corn exchange (Korenbeurs) at the end of the Vismarkt towards the museum bridge and the Central Station. It has a lot of little shops full of firsthand and secondhand little gifts, intercultural foods and great books.


The centre of Groningen has many nice little cafes or restaurants where you can eat. Groningen is a real university city, so there are plenty of cafe-restaurants where you can eat for about €10.

  • Eeterie De Globe, A-Kerkhof 22, 3 different main courses each day (one meat, one fish, one veg.) for €6.50 or €7.50 per course. Many customers eat here several times per week.
  • Ugly Duck, Zwanestraat 28, [18]. Main courses including bowl of salad, baked potatoes, vegetables from €1050. Really good!
  • Land van Kokanje on Oude Boteringestraat for big and great lunch-salads (less than €10).
  • Humphrey's, Vismarkt 42, [19]. avg. price 3 courses à la carte €18.
  • Spring's, Grote Markt 30/33, [20]. avg. price 3 courses à la carte €15.
  • De Balk, Thomassen Thuessinklaan 7. Got a prize for "Best Eetcafe".
  • Vroom & Dreesmann department store , Grote Markt 21, has a cafeteria "La Place" on the top floor with an outdoor terrace.
  • De Zevende Hemel (Seventh Heaven), Zuiderkerkstraat 7 (north of the centre, near the Nieuwe Kerk). Excellent food and wine but quite pricey; a good place to go treat yourself.  edit
  • Eetcafé 't Koetshuys, Blekerstraat 22-24, +31(0)50 310511, [21]. 17:00 till 21:30. A nice little restaurant at only 5 minutes away from the Fishmarket (vismarkt). Great food, for a nice price. Prices vary from €9.50 for the special of the day to €15 for the house specialty, Moroccan style marinated tenderloin. Main courses come with fries, a salad and depending on your dish, warm veggies.  edit
  • 't Feithhuis, Martinikerkhof 10, +31(0)50-313-5335, [22]. 10.30AM-10.30PM. Close to the Martini tower and Grote Markt, this cafe-restaurant is sited in a historic building, and serves excellent locally sourced food. Dinner around €40 per head including drinks.  edit
De Drie Gezusters
De Drie Gezusters

Groningen's reputation as university town is borne out in its nightlife, which is comprehensive, with numerous options for drinking and clubbing. There are also several places to play pool/billiards. Most bars have the standard Dutch beers, but more and more international, especially Belgian, beers are beginning to have a presence. Bars in the down town area do not have fixed closing hours. Theoretically they can stay open for 24 hours a day, which a few bars do.

  • De Pintelier, traditional Belgian pub serving a plethora of kinds of beer. Located at the Kleine Kromme Elleboog 9.
  • Der Witz, a German pub located on the Grote Markt in a very small building. Serving many kinds of beer.
  • De Spieghel, jazz pub in the Peperstraat with free and usually good live performances at most evenings starting around eleven o'clock. From Sunday until Wednesday performances are on the second level, which is a smaller, cosier bar and it gives you a more intimate performance. From Thursday until Saturday all performances are downstairs, which is a larger bar with a stage and the performances tend to be bigger (larger band). Relaxed atmosphere any evening.
  • D'Ouwe Brandweer, on Zuiderdiep opposite Pathe-cinema.
  • Huis de Beurs, on corner of Vismarkt. Has made a come-back and is very trendy now. Live piano music in the evening. The first Dutch socialst party was founded here.
  • Cafe Atlantis, on O.K. i.h. Jatstraat opposite Faculty of Law. Dark, narrow place, mainly men, for playing chess and other games. Drinks very cheap.
  • De Prinsentuin In summertime there is a nice terrace in a rose garden.
  • De Drie Gezusters, (Three Sisters). On the Grote Markt, [23]. Perhaps the largest bar in the Netherlands, used to be THE place. Many bars connected in a mazelike fashion; has several facades on the Grote Markt that look like separate bars, but don't let that deceive you. Lousy coffee!!
  • De Kosterij, in a corner of the Grote Markt, next to the Martinitoren, [24]. Family style. Nice terrace in summertime.
  • Paard van Troje (Trojan Horse). Kleine Kromme Elleboog 5. Small pub with Belgian beers. Popular with the local history students.
  • Wolthoorn & Co. Turftorenstraat 6. Voted best pub in the Netherlands for several years.
  • Het Feithhuis, next to the Martini Tower, [25]. "Liberal" atmosphere. A good place to have lunch.
  • El Rubio, in Zwanestraat. Owner "Joop" only likes male gay guests.
  • Newscafe, on Tussen de Markten. Nice terrace in the summer, good coffee, quite trendy.
  • Vera, self-proclaimed club for the international pop underground and indeed there are good concerts and parties, check out their site [26]. Nirvana played here before they were big, still the pride of Groningen. Local high school crowd doesn't bother to turn up until 3 AM for parties at Saturday nights. Entrance €1/month.
  • Simplon, a bit outside the center at the Boterdiep, this ex-squad is now a podium for sometimes alternative concerts. Again, check their website [27] for what's happening.
  • O'Cealleighs, an irish pub on Kattendiep. Small pub, but good atmosphere; the place people go to play a bit of Irish folk of an evening.
  • De Zolder (The Attic), Papengang 3A. Cosy stoner hang-out up a flight of stairs with reggae music and pool table.
  • De Kar (The Cart), Peperstraat 15. Bar with mirrored dancefloor. Great place to have a beer and dance to cool alternative tunes. Tends to be either empty or completely crowded.
  • Shadrak Peperstraat 19.
  • The Palace, Gelkingestraat (Corner of the Grote Markt), [28]. One of the biggest clubs in Groningen. On Thursday's it's packed with students (beers just for €1). Plays great dance music in weekends.  edit


Groningen also has a few excellent coffeeshops, where you can buy and smoke cannabis products at a reasonable price.

  • The Glory, just off Zuiderdiep at the end of the Steentilstraat, is popular with lots of foreign students, and close to all major busstops on the Zuiderdiep.
  • Dees, Donkergang, [29]. Above which is a cool bar, de Zolder (where you can smoke).
  • Metamophose, Oude Boteringestraat. Nice and little alternative shop, with mostly biological stuff. They serve a large variety of fresh tea.
  • Driemaster, [30], Nieuweweg. Has the same owner as Dees,
  • Dr. Anders, Gelkingestraat.
  • Upper 10, Steentilstraat. you can get very nice stuff here!
  • Oasis, on Meeuwwerderweg (only open till 7PM and not on Sundays) - which has good marijuana but is quite expensive.
  • de Vliegende Hollander,Great stuff on Zuiderdiep opposite the Pathé cinema, [31]. Alcohol is not served in any of the coffeeshops.
  • Da Medley, (on Zuiderdiep next to Pathé cinema just opposite to vliegende hollander). A good cheap coffee shop, where at least Dutch & arabic are spoken by the staff. I managed with english too just enough to get what I needed. This is just a pick up coffee shop.. can´t smoke inside or stay there but it´s quite cheap. Joints for €2,50 also many kinds of hash (maroc, afgan..)for about €4-€5 & weed/wiet (schneewitje..) for a reasonable price also some better quality stuff*  edit
  • The Clown another coffee shop.. didn´t have a very good first least the customers were some local Hooligans and rude Germans inside.. The weed was alright even though not the best in town in my opinion'
  • Camping Stadspark. A camping ground in the Stadspark, a large, wooded park just outside the ring road.  edit
  • Hotel de Doelen, Grote Markt.  edit
  • NH Hotel De Ville****, Oude Boteringestraat 43, +31 (0)50 3181222 (, fax: +31 (0)50 3181777), [32]. Expensive.  edit
  • Simplon Youth Hotel, Boterdiep, [33]. Bunk-beds.  edit
  • Het Hoendiephuis Verry cheap, only 4.50,- for a bed,shower and breakfast. for more info call; 050-3187775
This is a usable article. It has information for getting in as well as some complete entries for restaurants and hotels. An adventurous person could use this article, but please plunge forward and help it grow!


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