people of Groningen say that Groningen is Holland
because it is the most Dutch of all the Dutch regions.
It is neither loud nor calm but friendly enough
for you to want to get to know it better.
Martini Tower (Martinitoren)
The most popular tower in Groningen is the Martini
Tower but do not fooled by its name or just looking
The citizens of
Groningen call their tower d'Olle Grieze, meaning the old
grey one in the local dialect. It is considered one of the
main tourist attractions of Groningen and offers a great view
over the city and surrounding area. The front of the tower
shows three pictures above the entrance: the blind man Bernlef,
Saint Martinus and Rudolf Agricola. All three are men are
linked to the history of Groningen. According to reports the
tower has a foundation only three meters deep.
and decide it is a simply church. The Martinitoren
as the Dutch call it is the highest church tower in
the city of Groningen. It takes a lot of courage to
get to the top. The tower is located at the north-western
corner of the Grote Markt (Main Square), is part of
the Martinikerk (Martini Church) and is 97 metres
high. It is the most important Groningen monument
and has overlooked the city for over five hundred
years. This fourth highest tower of the Netherlands
can be climbed until the third gallery.
stop was the main railway station, a destination everyone
else was cycling to, but I opted to have a special
relationship with Dutch coffee and pastries at the
International food market in the city centre –
called La Place and catch up with them later. I also
enjoyed a walk along the canals, well worth it.
to occupy the house for a period of time. The term ‘artists’
is used in the broadest sense possible; it includes and is
not limited to writers, architects, academics, all artists
who display work of international quality. Artist who have
stayed at the Wall House include Javier Marchan from Spain
in 2005, Akiko Yanagimoto from Japan in 2006 and America’s
Richard Saxton in 2007. This year, the Wall House will be
hosting Bianca Casady from 7th April until 6th July.
Wall House #2
Groningen classifies the Wall House #2 as some of
the ‘must see’ cultural activities in
its region. This unique building has been hosting
a few artists-in-residence since 2005. The artist-in-residence
idea is based on the primary function of the building:
residence where artists who have a special relationship
with designed space
Groningen main railway station has more on offer besides
getting on or off a train. It is the “cathedral
of the winged wheel”’, the entrance gate
for the city as well as an extremely important monument.
When standing in the main hall, imagine yourself a
traveller from the 19th century: admire shelters for
various classes, leaded
beautifully decorated ceilings, and a very particular six
metre-high wrought iron streetlight in the centre.
Even if you do not like art, you will enjoy the Groningen
Museum. It sits beautifully in the centre of the city not
far from the main railway station. The 26.1 million euro
building was designed by Alessandro Mendini, Italian designer/architect
whose work also appears in the museum. Mendini `believes
in the use of decoration. The most impressive of the master
pieces on display were the Russian collection of legends,
folk tales and fairy tales. The impact Russian fairy tales
and legends had on painting in the 19th and early 20th Century
is clearly revealed in this exhibition.
The museum which has a shop and café opens from Tuesday
to Sunday and on public holidays from 10am to 5pm and on
Fridays it stays open until 10pm. It is closed on Christmas
day and on New Year’s Day.
Admission: Adults 10 euros, Senior citizens 9 euros, Youth
12-18 years 5 euros. School groups, pass holders and Friends
2 euros, Children up to 12 years free. From now until 23rd
November 2008, China will be the theme with the treasures
of the Terracotta Army on show until 31st August.
you do not eat anything at all in Groningen, try their
mustard soup; it is absolutely delicious. Every other
food appears to be in the form of some gourmet style
sandwich, or like any other food in Europe. The best
mustard soup I tasted was at the Abraham's Mustard
may not be wrong to think that every destination in Groningen
is some sort of museum.
plays an important part in Dutch cuisine and at Abrahams
soup is served in Dutch style a deep roll so do not be embarrassed
to eat it all up. At Abraham's you can learn a lot about
mustard making, buy some fresh mustard before sitting down
to a decent meal.
The Nienoord Castle is unique especially because of
its setting. The Castle has a restaurant that caters
for up to 515 covers but it also famous for its conference
and incentives activities. The Castle hosts conferences
for up to 600 people. Private dinners can also be
catered for up to 30 persons. It is also home to the
National Carriage Museum.
15 minutes drive from the centre of the City of Groningen.
National Carriage Museum
This is a very exciting place to visit. The Nienoord Groningen
estate house that we see today in Leek dates from 1887 and
was rebuilt on the spot where the original Groningen estate
house was located until 1850. The old estate house sadly
burned down. The National Carriage Museum is located in
the estate grounds and includes a large collection of coaches,
carriages, and horse-sleighs. You will find the largest
national collection of carriages in the world: 250 coaches
and sleighs and the accompanying paraphernalia. A greater
part of the collection is housed in the national carriage
depot and a different selection of these is on exhibition
each year. Carriages are also given on loan to museums both
at home and abroad.
Opening hours: 1 April until 31 October.
Closed on Mondays, and open from Tuesday until Friday from
10 am until 5 pm, Saturdays and Sundays from 1-5 pm, Easter
Monday and Whit Monday from 1-5 pm.
The City Centre of Groningen is buzzing with cafés,
discothèques and pubs. Pub crawling is so easy because
the pubs are very close to each other. The only downside
is that at the time of our visit (February 2008) smoking
had not banned in public places making it a bit difficult
for non-smokers to enjoy the pub scene.
places of interest include the Seal
Sanctuary which is covered separately here, and the
world’s smallest hotel.
De TheeFabriek (Tea
Factory and Museum).
The tea factory and tea museum are housed in an old church
and parsonage. This is where you learn all there is to know
about the production and different uses of tea. The tearoom
has the most extensive tea menu in the world, and there
are different kinds of tea available in the tea shop.
Opening hours: 1 April until 31 October on Tuesday until
Sunday from 10 am until 5 pm; 1 November until 31 March
on Saturdays and Sundays from 10 am until 5 pm. Closed in
How to travel to Groningen
VLM Airlines flies regularly from London City to Groningen.
There is also a bmi flight from Aberdeen to Groningen. Groningen
airport Eelde is the primary airport for the North Netherlands.
is the city where almost everyone rides a bicycle.
Cycling is so important in Groningen that it is cars
and pedestrians who have to watch themselves when
crossing the road. Bicycle parks have been provided
for in the almost every part of the city and there
is a very large one at the train station. The whole
province is full of culture.
A winter weekend
in Tallinn, Estonia