- For other places with the same name, see Groningen (disambiguation).
Groningen is a lively university city in the Northern Netherlands. It's the capital of a province with the same name and home to about 201,000 inhabitants, making the city the largest in northern Netherlands and the seventh-largest in the Netherlands. Its large university with some 50,000 students gives the city a pleasant youthful atmosphere and plenty of things to do. Combined with the fine historic heritage, an excellent museum and good shopping opportunities, this is a prime destination in the north.
Archaeologists have found traces of habitation from the Neolithic and the later Iron Age. It is not quite clear if the area has been inhabited continuously since that time. However, it is certain that the city appeared in writing in the year 1040 as "Villa Cruoninga", apparently already a place of some significance. The city has a rich history, which can be seen clearly from the old Medieval buildings in the downtown area.
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 those years, the Martini Tower was built, which loomed over the city at (then) 127 meters 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 was later reconquered, 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 "Groningens Ontzet" or "Bommen Berend").
Unfortunately, the city did not escape the devastation of World War II. In particular, the main square, Grote Markt, was largely destroyed in April 1945, during the Battle of Groningen, which lasted several days. However, the Martinitoren, its church, the Goudkantoor, and the city hall were not substantially damaged.
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Check the 7 day forecast of Groningen at
The temperate climate is pleasant in Groningen, without extremes due to its coastal climate. Due to its location in the north of the Netherlands, during winter the average temperatures of this city are slightly lower than the average of the rest of the Netherlands. Snow and freezing temperatures are common in the winter and 30 degrees Celsius in the summer is not exceptional. Most average daytime highs in summer are around 22°C.
- Groningen Tourist Information Office, Grote Markt 29, ☎ +31 50 3139741. Mo 12-18, Tu-Fr 09:30-18, Sa 10-17, Su 12-16. The Groningen Tourist Information Office is located in the city centre, on the Grote Markt, opposite the Martini tower. The Tourist Information Office shop provides information about the city and the province. Hotel reservations can be made, and souvenirs and gift vouchers are also for sale here.
By Dutch standards, it's a fairly long way from the major destinations in the western Netherlands. But getting here is not hard. Groningen has three train stations, the central station (Station Groningen, often called 'Hoofdstation'), Groningen Europapark and Groningen Noord. All trains eventually arrive at the central station; only a few trains stop at the smaller stations. Tickets for all train journeys can be purchased at the trainstation or online at NS.nl.
There are two trains departing from Groningen Station to southern destinations like Amsterdam and Rotterdam every hour. One train terminates in The Hague and the other train terminates in Rotterdam. The train towards The Hague also calls at Amsterdam South Station and Amsterdam Schiphol Airport Station. Amsterdam Central Station can be reached with one change at Lelystad. Brussels and Paris can be reached with one change at Schiphol Airport Station. A regional line operated by Arriva runs west to Leeuwarden three times per hour. Some popular destinations include:
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There is an hourly international connection that terminates in Leer Bahnhof (Germany) (1:14). Once over the border, you can change line to reach Emden, Bremen, Hamburg, Hanover, Münster and Cologne. Note that the train to Leer is very local (and therefore slow). 3 December 2015, a ship collided against the Friesenbrücke near Weener. The bridge is completely collapsed. Therefore, the next few years, buses are used between Winschoten and Leer. The timetable of the replacement buses can be found at the Arriva website.
The main bus station is right next to the central train station. At the bus station you can find a wide range of city buses and lines to virtually all large and small destinations in the region, as well direct buses to Emmeloord, via Heerenveen and Lemmer.
Flixbus is operating three domestic intercity buslines from Groningen. Line 821 runs to Hengelo and Enschede, line 822 runs to Apeldoorn and Eindhoven and line SKI12 (only in winter) runs to Zwolle, Arnhem and Nijmegen. This buslines leave at P+R Haren (near Postillion Hotel) and opposite the central trainstation, at the other side of the road. Booking in advance is cheaper.
Groningen has a stop at the intercity busline Rotterdam - Hamburg - Copenhagen operated by Eurolines. Destinations in Belgium, France and England are reachable with one transit in Amsterdam. Destinations in Sweden with one transit in Copenhagen. Be aware that booking a domestic journey is not possible. Ecolines is operating a busline towards Warsaw and stops en route to Poland in some German cities like Bremen and Berlin.
All international buslines leave opposite the trainstation. Be aware that you need to book a day in advance to get the lowest fare.
A myriad of roads lead to and from Groningen, making the city well reachable by car. The major highways are the A7 (west-east) and the A28 coming from the south. Several fine N-roads connect the city to nearby destinations, and are the way to go further north. The most notable ones are the N360 to Appingedam and Delfzijl, and the N361 north, direction of Winsum.
Driving in the old city, particularly within the central canal ring, is not the best option. Parts of town are car-free, there are many one way roads, parking is not always easy to find, and none of it is free.
There are several Park & Ride facilities around Groningen. On this facilities you can park your car for free and take a fast en frequent bus to Downtown for a small amount. One of the biggest facilities 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 2 euro (one way) or 5 euro return for 5 people, a regular bus service takes you right to Downtown. If you come from the direction of Assen (South), the Park & Ride facility Haren is your best option. From the West, from direction Drachten, P+R Hoogkerk is on your route. If you are coming from Germany you can park at "Kardinge". Follow the road to "Eemshaven" and take the exit "Kardinge". All P+R facilities are clearly marked on the highways.
Groningen is served by Groningen Airport Eelde, (IATA: GRQ), Machlaan 14a Eelde, ☎ +31 50 3097070. The airport of Groningen offers daily direct flights to and from London (Flybe), two flights per week to and from Gdansk (Wizz Air), and various other scheduled flights to selected cities and holiday destinations in Greece, Portugal, Spain, Canary Islands and Turkey.
The regular busline 2 runs 2x/hour from the city center (44 minutes) and central station (37 minutes) to the airport. €5 one way, tickets at the driver. A special shuttle bus runs to and from the airport starting at the Central Station, but only around the London and Gdansk flights. This bus takes about 15 minutes and costs €3 one way, tickets at the driver.
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.
Getting from any place in Groningen to the centre will take at most 20 minutes cycling. 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. Most bikes have one lock, but it is best to use a good second lock (preferably a strong chain lock for least €30).
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 €2,00) or see the OV-chipkaart sections on the Netherlands page for other payment methods. Note that the Central Station is listed as bus stop "Hoofdstation" in and on buses and on bus stops.
- Line 2 runs from the northern train station (Station Noord) to De Punt via Korreweg, Central Station, de Wijert, Eelde and the airport (note: check the destination; terminates quite often in de Wijert).
- Line 6 runs from Hoornsemeer to the northern Station Noord via the Martini hospital, Paterswoldseweg, the Central Station, the Aa-kerk, and Vinkhuizen (note: check the destination: terminates quite often in Vinkhuizen).
- Line 7 runs from Central Station to Station Noord via Zuiderdiep, UMCG Hospital and the Korreweg.
- Line 8 runs from Hoogkerk to Corpus den Hoorn via the Westerhaven, the Central Station, and the Martini Hospital.
- Line 9 runs from the Central Station to Selwerd/Zernike via the Aa-kerk, Westerhaven, Noorderplantsoen and depending on departure time, Paddepoel and Selwerd or Paddepoel and Campus Zernike.
- Line 12 runs from Central station via Kardinge to industry terrain Driebond via Euroborg and Europapark station.
Q-Link is a group of 5 bus services which are combinations of previous regional and city bus services. These buses are air conditioned and have a WiFi connection and run from city destinations to places just outside the region. One exception for line 15 which is a student express line to Zernike.
- Line 3 runs from Lewenborg to Leek via Kardinge, Grote Markt, Zuiderdiep, Central Station and P+R Hoogkerk.
- Line 4 runs from Beijum to Roden via Kardinge, Grote Markt, Zuiderdiep, Central Station and P+R Hoogkerk.
- Line 5 runs from station Europapark to Annen via UMCG Hospital, Grote Markt, Zuiderdiep, Central Station, P+R Haren and Zuidlaren. Note that sometimes this bus terminates at P+R Haren, so make sure Zuidlaren and Annen are mentioned if you travel this way.
- Line 11 runs from the Central Station to the Zernike/Zuidhorn, via Zuiderdiep, Grote Markt, Noorderplantsoen and Paddepoel.
- Line 15 is a student express service from Central Station to college campus Zernike. It is located just north of Paddepoel and line 15 runs via Rembrandt van Rijnstraat and Paddepoel. Please do note that these buses are very crowded in the morning to Zernike, and in the afternoon back to the Central Station. Also does not run in weekends.
The city centre is both pleasant and interesting, with plenty of cultural heritage and a laid-back atmosphere. Together with the excellent Groninger Museum, it forms the main attraction for visitors.
Like many cities in The Netherlands, the centre is surrounded by a canal. Several historic canals have been "gedempt", or filled, however, and turned into streets. This is reflected in their names, and you'll likely find yourself strolling along the Gedempte Zuiderdiep. The heart of the city is formed around the two adjoining market squares, The Grote Markt (or Large Market) and the Vismarkt (or Fish Market). Standing tall on the edge of the Grote Markt is the Martini Tower, a true landmark for Groningen and one of its main attractions.
Severe battles left hundreds of buildings in ruins in 1945, but a good number or monuments remain. Strolling through the city centre you'll encounter former canal warehouses, the city hall, several churches, the former Gold Office and many other historic buildings. Over recent decades, the city has attempted to find a balance between modern architecture and historic grandeur: and with success. The latest initiative is a major renewal of the eastern side of the Grote Markt, for which the building is currently in progress and planned to be complete in 2017.
Typical Dutch architecture is Amsterdamse School, a style of architecture that arose from 1910 through about 1930 in Amsterdam. The Amsterdam School movement is part of international Expressionist architecture, sometimes linked to German Brick Expressionism. While Amsterdam has the most buildings in this style, Groningen also has some wonderful edifices. Sometimes Groningen is called the Northern capital of Amsterdamse School. Vensterschool Stadspark at Parkweg in the lovely Grunobuurt district and Bureau Gemeentewerken at Gedempte Zuiderdiep 96 are worth to walk along.
Groningen has a number of special architectural skyscrapers. The Kempkensberg is a 25-story high-rise building in the south of the city and is commonly called 'The Cruiseship' by locals. The Gasunie Building is one of the most famous buildings in Groningen and is considered to be a great example of ‘organic building’. It is situated on the edge of the Stadspark.
- Infoversum, Vrydemalaan 2. The Infoversum was the only full dome 3D theatre in The Netherlands, but unfortunately closed in 2015. But this incredible building is still worth to walk along.
- Wall House. The Wall House is a building in the south of the city located on the banks of Hoornsemeer (Lake Hoorn). The building is one of the few realized designs to which the renowned American architect John Hejduk owes his fame. The building is a structure of reinforced concrete for the wall and columns, with a steel-framed corridor, wood stud walls, and a stucco exterior. Organized around a central axis of horizontal and vertical plane, its three-dimensionality allows for experiencing the spaces. Open during exhibitions each Saterday and Sunday 13-17.
As in many cities in Europe, Groningen's museums are generally closed on Mondays.
- Groninger Museum, Museumeiland 1, ☎ +31 50 366 6555. Just opposite train/bus station. Spectacular architecture. Hosts state of the art of contemporary art in the world. Named one of the five most progressive modern/contemporary art collections in the world, this museum's changing exhibitions regularly attract visitors from all over the country.
- Noordelijk Scheepvaartmuseum (Northern Maritime Museum), Brugstraat 24, ☎ +31 50 312 2202. The northern museum of water transport. Shows the history and role of transport over water until the 1970s. The museum is situated in the oldest residential building remaining in the city.
- Universiteitsmuseum (University Museum), Oude Kijk in 't Jatstraat 7A, ☎ +31 50 363 5798. A strange and wonderful little museum located just off Oude Kijk in 't Jatstraat. Temporary exhibitions, often of a technological bent, are held on the first floor; upstairs (past an elaborate stained-glass window in the stairwell) is an eclectic collection in the Victorian style, with everything from anatomical specimens and taxidermied animals to early scientific instruments.
- Het Nederlands Stripmuseum, Westerhaven 71, ☎ +31 50-3178470, e-mail: email@example.com. The Dutch cartoon museum (strip = cartoon) has opened in 2004 and shows many cartoons made by Dutch cartoonists. It's also suitable to visit with children (not least because there's a McDonalds next-door with a play area), but also because they can learn how to draw cartoons by themselves. +/- € 7.-.
- Stichting Museum Canadian Allied Forces, Ulgersmaweg 51. The Museum Canadian Allied Forces depicts the history of the liberation of the north of the Netherlands in 1945 by the Canadians, with a particular emphasis on the liberation of the city of Groningen. Only open for 4 days per month, see website for exact opening days. Free entrance.
- GRID Grafisch Museum Groningen (GR-ID, museum for realising GRaphic IDeas), Sint Jansstraat 2. 13-17, mondays closed. GR-ID is a museum about graphical industry, art and design. The museumcollection is mainly drawn from the province of Groningen and has been put together over a course of several decades. €5.
- Hortus Haren (Hortus Botanicus), Kerklaan 34, Haren. 10-17, November-February closed. Everyone with an interest in gardens, flowers and plants, should visit the Hortus Haren in Groningen. It is without a doubt one of the most impressive botanical gardens in the Netherlands. Hortus Haren was established in the 17th century and is one of the oldest botanical gardens in Holland. There are over twenty acres packed with fifteen colorful gardens. €8,50.
Most of the historic heritage can be found within the ring of canals. The most visited tourist attraction is without doubt the Martini Tower, but there is much more to see in Groningen: old canal warehouses, guesthouses, typical Dutch gabels and beautiful gardens. Probably the most characteristic streets of the city are the Hoge and Lage der A streets. This two streets run along the A canal and are known for the dozens of national heritage sites, in particular the outstanding warehouses from the Middle Ages and a 17th century brewery named 'Batavia'.
Scattered trough the city centre are several late-medieval Guest Houses (Gasthuizen). During daylight hours these picturesque courtyards can be visited for free. Be mindful that the houses themselves are not open to the public and that the people living in them enjoy their quiet and privacy. Access is through gated doorways that will be unlocked during daylight hours and locked during the evening/night. The largest and oldest one is the courtyard of the Pelstergasthuis, located in the Pelsterstraat, next to the Pelstergasthuis church. The Guest House consists of several courtyards connected through archways. In the Peperstraat, near the end on the left when viewed from the Poelestraat, is the Pepergasthuis. The Peper Guest House was founded in 1405. Part of the medieval city wall is still visible from the courtyard. At the tourist information is a city walk available along many courtyards.
The most important historic heritage not mentioned yet, is listed below:
- Aa-Kerk, Akerkhof. This beautiful medieval church with its remarkable yellow-painted tower stands tall above the neighbouring Korenbeurs. Establised between 1425 - 1492, the churches tower was repeatedly destroyed and replaced, with the current one originating in 1711 after the one before suddenly collapsed. Today, the building is no longer used for religious services but is open for visitors and regularly houses expositions.
- Academiegebouw (University of Groningen), Broerstraat 5. The Rijksuniversiteit Groningen, 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. Although it is not intended, the building is accessible for the public. The interior of the building is magnificent, especially the stained glass, the entrance hall and the murals in the Aula and Senaatskamer (Senate room).
- Gold Office (Goudkantoor), Waagplein 1 (More or less between the two market squares). This beautifully decorated building on the edge of the Grote Markt is hard to miss. Built in 1635, it originally served as the office for the city receiver. The words Date Caesari quae sunt Caesaris, Lating for render unto Caesar that which is Caesar's, still reminds of this early function of the building. Later, between 1814 and 1887, it served as a gold office in the sense that this was the place where gold and silver works were authenticated and marked as real. Today, it's a café.
- Martinikerkhof (Martini cemetery). The Martinikerkhof used to be a cemetery, but since 1828 it is no longer in use. The cemetery has been transformed into a beautiful square, an oasis of peace. Prominent on the Martinikerkhof is the Martini Church. On the east side of the square stands the 'Provinciehuis', the seat of the provincial government. The front of this beautiful building was built in the end of the 20th century, while the rear of the building dates back to the Middle Ages. At that time the building was used as a Latin School. The north side of the square is marked by a number of nice old houses and the Prinsenhof. At the square stands the Saint George and the Dragon Memorial (Sint Joris en de Draak Monument), the official provincial Second World War memorial. The memorial has been made in rememberance of the whole loss and suffering in the city of Groningen.
- Martini Tower (Martinitoren), Grote Markt. 12-16 (11-17 summer). One of the most famous sites in Groningen. Its name has nothing to do with the drink, by the way, but refers to Saint Martin. Though locals call the tower d' Olle Grieze which means 'the old grey one' and is related to its colour. Tickets are available in the VVV (tourist information) shop just over the road. On top of the tower, you have a wide view over the city. €3.
- Oude RKZ, Old Roman Catholic Hospital, ☎ +31 505257601. This is an old Roman Catholic hospital outside the city centre, in the South of the city, located in the former village of Helpman. The hospital itself was abandoned in 1978, after which it was squatted. Until 1986, the Oude RKZ was the largest squat in The Netherlands and possibly in the whole of Europe. In 1986 the government allowed the squat to be legalized. Nowadays it is a vibrant place where 250 people from all ages find a place to live and to share what is important. The former squat has cheap folk kitchens on Tuesdays, Thursdays, Fridays and Sundays. There are also 2 bars, a cinema, yoga and capoeira sessions and many other things. Being a motor for the Dutch alternative and artist scene, the Oude RKZ is a well known place to many people from all over Europe. If you want to eat at the folk kitchen it's best to call on the same day to reserve a meal. Meals are served at 18:30.
- Prinsenhof & Prinsentuin, Martinikerkhof 23, entrance of the public gardens at the corner of Turfsingel and Kattenhage. Just a short walk from the Grote Markt, the lovely Renaissanse gardens of the Prinsenhof can be a remarkably peaceful place to relax for a little while. It has a rose garden a herb garden and The Prinsenhof building originates in the 15th century and was originally a wealthy mansion for the city's bisshop or "stadtholder", and later was used as a military hospital. Now, a restaurant has been opened within the building. The renaissance style gardens are open for public. This garden consists of a rose garden, a herb garden and a part with berceaus. The entrance of the garden is remarkable because of a beautiful sundial on the wall above it. When the weather is nice, volunteers run a small tea house here.
- Sint Jozef Cathedral, Radesingel 4. St Joseph's Cathedral is the cathedral church of the diocese of Groningen-Leeuwarden. The Neo-Gothic church was built from 1885 to 1887 and consecrated on May 25, 1887.
- Synagogue. 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.
Parks & sculptures
- Jewish Memorial. The Jewish Memorial commemorates the more than 3000 Jewish inhabitants of Groningen who were deported and murdered during the Second World War. It is made by Eduard Waskowsky out of six hands each having their own expression. The 7th hand is missing, because Waskowsky died during the making of the memorial.
- Noorderplantsoen. Remains of the old citywalls, transformed into a public park. The earth ramparts were incorporated in the park architecture and the moats were turned into ponds. The architecture is of an English garden style, characterized by meandering paths and serpentine ponds, inspired by wild nature. On a sunny day, this is the place to relax after a hard day's work for a lot of students.
- Stadspark. The Stadspark is an approximately 140 hectare park on the southwest side of the city in the Stadsparkwijk. The park was created at the beginning of the twentieth century, designed by landscape architect Leonard Springer.
Traffic lights with rain sensors to give quicker priority to cyclists on wet days, cycling highways and bike racks everywhere. Groningen is a cycling city par excellence. The inhabitants of Groningen possess an average of 1.4 bikes per person. Groningen is sometimes called world's best City for Cycling.
Bicycles are available for rent at a number of places around town, including a facility in the Central Station. Many hotels offer bike rental to their guests as well, usually for fees of roughly €10 or less per day. Bike maps are available at the touristinformation. Use the map to explore the city and the surrounding areas or follow a signposted cycle route using the Dutch cycle junction network.
There is also a possibility to discover the city's highlights with a 2,5 hours guided bicycle tour. You have to book this tour in advance. Departure from May through October every Friday at 2.30PM and Saturday at 10.30AM.
- Take a canal cruise, Stationsweg 1012 (Opposite central station). Take a tour through the old channels of Groningen aboard the "Wonderlaand" or "Goldenraand". The boat will take you around the historical centre. €12.
- Explore the city by canoe ('t Peddeltje) (Under the 'Herebrug'). From the 1st of April until the 1st of October it's possible to hire a canoe and paddle around the centre. It's a round trip that gives you a totally different view of Groningen since you are lower than the streets and you can pass very close along the many house boats in the city. Some bridges have a secret 'roof' that can only be seen when you pass under the bridge. A tour around the centre takes about 1 – 2 hours, depending on how fit you are, how many stops you take for photo shootings, and water battles. €9-€15 / 2 hours.
- Friday fun skate. Gathering from 19:45, departure at 20:00. Every Friday from mid April until mid September skaters gather in Groningen to skate together. The group is accompanied by a rolling music boombox. The tours are quite easy to ride, though total beginners might find it a bit scary to have so many others around themselves. Each week another tour is chosen. It's possible to get an sms service to know if the Friday Fun Skate takes place or not. Length: 18 - 23 km. The start and finish of the tour are always at the oval pool in the Noorderplantsoen park.
- Play Pitch&Putt, Bieskemaar 10. Pitch and putt is an amateur sport similar to golf but where the hole length is typically less than 70 metres (80 yard). The Pitch and Putt course in Groningen has 18 holes and is perfect for everyone, even young children. You do not need a golf license. €12-€16. After your little golfexperience, you should take a look at the nearby Kardingerbult: a human made hill with a nice view over the city.
Concerts & Theater
- Stadsschouwburg. The Stadsschouwburg is the main theater of Groningen. The Neo-Renaissance building dates from 1883. The theatre offers a wide range of dance, opera and cabaret.
- Martiniplaza. Martiniplaza is a modern multifunctional building. It is used as an exhibition complex, theater and sports arena.
- Vera underground pop club. Where Pearl Jam, Nirvana, Sonic Youth, the White Stripes and many others performed. Internationally Vera is probably the best-known stage for alternative music in Groningen, and it is one of the most appreciated music venues in the Netherlands.
- Simplon. Simplon is an internationally renowned venue with an impressive history, especially in punk music. Every week on Thursday te club is dedicated to local (young) talent.
- Pathé, Gedempte Zuiderdiep 78. Nice cinema in the city center. All popular movies are shown here. 9 screens, capacity: 1700 guests.
- Wolff, Boumaboulavard 53. Huge cinema (10 screens) in the Euroborg Stadium. Outside the city center, but easily reachable with Q-Link line 5 towards Europapark.
- Groninger Forum, Hereplein 73. Repertory cinema. Lots of English and French classic movies.
Festivals and events
- Every year in January: 'Eurosonic-Noorderslag', European's biggest showcase festival, Where dozens of bands from all over the world perform on various stages spread throughout the city.
- Every year on Good Friday: 'Bloemenjaarmarkt', the biggest flower market of Northern Netherlands, which attracts more than 100.000 visitors each year. Among the visitors are a lot of Germans.
- Every year on April 26: 'Koningsdag' (kingsday), a holiday celebrating the birth of King Willem-Alexander. Many events in the city, including a lot of vrijmarkten ("free markets") at which the Dutch sell their used items. The night before Kingsday is called Koningsnacht ("kingsnight"): many young people celebrate in the streets and squares throughout the night.
- Every year on May 5: 'Bevrijdingsfestival' (Liberation Festival), together with many other festivals throughout the country.
- Every year in May or June: 'Epic Vibes', a dance festival.
- Every year in August: 'Noorderzon Festival', a festival focused on music, visual arts and performance arts.
- Every two years in September/October: 'Noorderlicht' a photography festival.
- Every year in autumn: 'Jonge Harten', a nine-day theater festival that takes place in almost all theaters in Groningen. It is a festival to discover. Including a lot of young creators, visual physical theater, performance, dance, music and a captivating festival heart.
Groningen is the regional centre for shopping, and offers a wide range of large and small stores, including all the large chains in the Netherlands and a good number of small speciality shops.
With some exceptions, shops close at 6PM on Weekdays and Saturday and 5PM on Sunday. Thursday is "buying-evening", on this day a lot of shops are open until 9PM. In downtown almost all shops are open on Sundays, but not before noon. Supermarkets are generally open from 8AM to 10PM.
All streets within the central canal ring are low traffic due to restrictions - but watch out for cyclists, who don't often pay attention to pedestrian crossings. The Herestraat, the city's longest pedestrianised shopping street, runs south off the Grote Markt and contains most of the city's everyday shopping needs and 'standard' Dutch clothing stores and chains. This is where you'll find Hema, Blokker, C&A, Zara and so on. The Westerhaven, at the western edge of the centre, houses some big stores like Media Markt and Primark.
Other shopping streets extend out from the Grote Markt and the Vismarkt. This streets are often worth a look too. AKerkhof contains some (expensive) brand shops, for example Tommy Hilfiger, Hugo Boss and Marc O'Polo, but also houses some great food stores. For example 'Droppie', a store selling typical Dutch liquorice. The Zwanestraat and the Grote Kromme Elleboog contain a lot of specialty shops selling beer, herbs and spices, coffee, cooking utensils etc. Especially take a look at the Dille & Kamille shop and the gift store Truus & Bregje.
The most picturesque shopping street is called the Folkingestraat; it runs south from the Korenbeurs (the former corn exchange) 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. 'De Bourgondiër' is a specialty shop in the Folkingestraat selling local products like wine, typical Groninger sausages, mustard, cheese and candy.
The lovely Oude Kijk in 't Jatstraat has different characteristic shops including plenty of art galleries, a travel bookshop, two branches of a great coffee and tea chain, an excellent independent bakery, a particularly nice cafe, shops selling toys and games, and a few second-hand furniture and clothes shops.
Other noteworthy shopping streets in downtown are Oosterstraat, Oude Ebbingestraat and Zuiderdiep.
Outside the downtown area
- Winkelcentrum Paddepoel. Shopping Centre Paddepoel has more than 80 shops and lies a few kilometers Northwest of the city center. The mall offers a broad range of retail stores, mostly chains. Not open on sundays.
- Sontplein. Southwest of downtown lies Sontplein. This square is home to some big stores like Media Markt, sports chain Telstar and Ikea.
A typical 'Groninger' specialty is Groninger worst, a sausage made from raw minced pork which is then air dried. You can buy this sausage in every supermarket and butchery. When visiting a snackbar, you should try a eierbal. The eierbal is a ball-shaped croquette, filled with veal and a whole egg. The eierbal is seen as the Groninger variant of the Dutch croquette.
The Netherlands is known for her Cheese. Groningen has some typical Dutch cheese stores:
- Kaashandel van der Ley, Oosterstraat 61. Tu-Fr 09-18, Sa 09-17. Van der Ley is one of the best cheese stores in the world. Look for local organic varieties, such as green pesto cheese or farmers crumblecheese (boerenbrokkelkaas).
- Groninger Kaasboetiek, Astraat 5. Mo 13-18, Tu-Sa 09:30-18.
|This page uses the following price ranges for a typical meal for one, including soft drink:|
The Netherlands is not known for its cuisine, as it is simple and straightforward. A conventional Dutch meal consists of meat, potatoes and some type of vegetable on the side. The country's food culture is best described as rustic.
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, Akerkhof 22, ☎ +31 50 3182226. Three 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.
- FEBO, Vismarkt 1 (On the corner of the Vismarkt), ☎ +31 50 3133102. Opening hours vary; min. 1PM - midnight (Sun.), max. 11:30AM - 7AM (Sat.). In case of emergency! If you've left it too late before heading out for food and the restaurants have closed their kitchens, you can get all your deep-fried nutritional needs met at the FEBO automat. €1.50 - €2.70.
- Land van Kokanje, Oude Boteringestraat 9, ☎ +31 50 3180622. 11:00–01:00. For big and great lunch-salads (less than €10) and nice hamburgers.
- 't Pannekoekschip, Schuitendiep 1017 (It's a masted sailing ship moored on the inner side of the Schuitendiep canal - you can't miss it), ☎ +31 50 3120045. 12:00-21:00 Mon-Sun. Unashamedly touristy, the Pannekoekschip ("pancake ship") is an old sailing ship that's been turned into a pancake restaurant, serving huge and delicious Dutch pancakes. €8.50 - €13 for a savoury or sweet pancake.
- Boccaccio, Steentilstraat 38, ☎ +31 50 3112126. 17:00-22:00. Tuscan cuisine. Great food and atmosphere. Weekly specials offer an excellent and reasonably priced 3 or 4 course menu. Make a reservation if you plan to eat after 18:00 as it can get busy. €38:50, 4 course menu.
- Eetcafé De Balk, E. Thomassen à Thuessinklaan 7, ☎ +31 50 2809439. Got a prize for "Best Eatery" of Groningen.
- Eetcafé 't Koetshuys, Blekerstraat 22-24, ☎ +31 50 310511. 17:00-21:30. 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 dish of the day to €16 for the house specialty, Moroccan style marinated tenderloin. Main courses come with fries, a salad and depending on your dish, warm veggies.
- 't Feithhuis, Martinikerkhof 10, ☎ +31 50 3135335. 10:30-22:30. 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.
- Fuji-Tei, Poelestraat 39-41 (200m down Poelestraat from the Grote Markt), ☎ +31 50 3189696. 14:00-23:00 Mon-Sun. Respectable, tasty Japanese and Korean food. The all-you-can-eat deals are excellent value for money. Fuji-Tei is somewhat cheaper than its sister restaurant Fujiyama, a teppanyaki restaurant on the corner of the Grote Markt - though if you want showmanship with your dinner, Fujiyama is the place to go.
- Humphrey's, Vismarkt 42. Simple, but nice restaurant. Nationwide restaurant chain. Average price 3 courses à la carte €18.
- De Kleine Moghul, Nieuwe Boteringestraat 62. This tatty-looking small Indian restaurant has an all-Indian staff, you can only pay cash and there is no English menu. The food is stunningly good, well worth a visit.
- Mr. Mofongo's, Oude Boteringestraat 26, ☎ +31 50 3144266. 11:00-22:00. Fusion-style restaurant with very good dishes for a reasonable price. May get crowded in the summer and during midterms and endterms since the University's library is around the corner. Also a nice place to have drink later at night.
- Ugly Duck, Zwanestraat 28. Main courses including bowl of salad, baked potatoes, vegetables from €10.50. Really good!
- V.o.f. Lambik, Grote Kruisstraat 73, ☎ +31 50 3144360. This small restaurant serves one meat or fish dish and one vegetarian dish and both dishes change every day. It is located next to the Noorderplantsoen, which makes it a good spot in the summer.
- De Zevende Hemel (Seventh Heaven), Zuiderkerkstraat 7 (North of the centre, near the Nieuwe Kerk.), ☎ +31 50 3145141. Excellent food and wine but quite pricey; a good place to go treat yourself.
- Brussels Lof, A-kerkstraat 24, ☎ +31 50 3127603. Great fish and vegetarian dishes. Famous for the cheese fondue.
- Louis XV, Oude kijk in 't Jatstraat 47. Louis XV is a French-international bourgondisch restaurant. The restaurant includes a wine bar with continuous wine tasting.
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.
The biggest nightlife area in Groningen is the Poelestraat area, located southwest of the Grote Markt. Here you'll find a lot of clubs and bars. The busiest nights are Thursday to Friday (studentnight) and Saturday to Sunday.
- De Pintelier, Kleine Kromme Elleboog 9. open daily from 3PM, closing at 2AM Sun - Thurs and at 3AM Fri and Sat.. Traditional Belgian pub serving more than 80 kinds of beer and whisk(e)y.
- Cafe de Koffer, Nieuwe Blekerstraat 1. Open daily from 4PM to 3AM.. Another "speciaalbier" pub. Lots of bottled beers, as well as a few on tap. Most are Belgian or Dutch, but there are also a few American and British beers on the menu - a real rarity around here.
- Der Witz, Grote Markt 47. A 'Brown Café' located on the Grote Markt in a very small building. Serving many kinds of beer.
- De Spieghel, Peperstraat 11. 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. Guests who are at the bar downstairs may even choose the upcoming music from the jukebox.
- Het Kasteel, Peperstraat 25. A compact international student hangout on Peperstraat. Sells Jäger and other shots for €1 and 13-beer 'zwaards' ('a sword') for €10.
- Huis de Beurs, A-Kerkhof Zuid Zijde 4. On the southwestern corner of Vismarkt. Has made a come-back and is very trendy now. Live piano music in the evening. The first Dutch socialist party was founded here.
- De Drie Gezusters (Three Sisters), Grote Markt 39. On the Grote Markt. Possibly the largest bar in the Netherlands as well as in Europe. Many bars connected in a mazelike fashion; has several façades on the Grote Markt that look like separate bars, but don't let that deceive you.
- De Kostery, Martinikerkhof 2. In a corner of the Grote Markt, next to the Martinitoren. Family style. Nice terrace in summertime.
- O'Cealleighs, Gedempte Kattendiep 13. An Irish pub on Gedempte Kattendiep. Small pub, but good atmosphere; the place people go to play a bit of Irish folk of an evening.
- 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.
- Kokomo Beachclub, Gelkingestraat 1 (Corner of the Grote Markt). One of the biggest clubs in Groningen. On Thursday's it's packed with students (10 beers for €10). Plays great dance music in weekends and serves fine cocktails.
The Netherlands is renowned for its liberal drug policy. Coffeeshops (in English, but written as one word; not to be confused with coffeehouses or cafes) are allowed to sell cannabis and hash for personal use (not more than 5 grams). While technically still illegal, mostly to comply with international treaties, personal use of (soft) drugs is regulated by the Ministry of Justice under an official policy of gedogen; literally this means to accept or tolerate, legally it is a doctrine of non-prosecution on the basis that action taken would be so highly irregular as to constitute selective prosecution.
Many coffeeshops offer a 'smoking lounge' where soft drugs may be used. Also note that despite the confusion on the subject, the country-wide smoking ban applies only to tobacco. However, since the Dutch commonly smoke tobacco mixed with their marijuana or hash, many coffeeshops, especially those unaccustomed to tourists, may require all smoking to be done in a separated smoking section or outdoors
Groningen has a few excellent coffeeshops, where you can buy and smoke cannabis products at a reasonable price. Note that alcohol is not served in any of the coffeeshops.
- Café Dees, Papengang 3, ☎ +31 50 313 2410. A cozy café with a nice selection of weed located in a small alley right next to the bar street Peperstraat. Inside a pool table, computers for surfing and big TV screens. Upstairs there's a bar called de Zolder ("the Attic") where you can smoke. There are reggae concerts on Tuesday nights.
- Metamorphose, Oude Boteringestraat 53, ☎ +31 50 314 4460. Nice and little alternative shop, with mostly biological stuff. They serve a large variety of fresh tea.
- Oasis, Meeuwerderweg 60. Only open till 7PM and not on Sundays. Good marijuana, but is quite expensive. Nice café area makes up for it. Also a couple of tables outside during the summer time.
- De Vliegende Hollander, Gedempte Zuiderdiep 63. Great stuff on Zuiderdiep opposite the Pathé cinema. Inside there's a smoking room but no real hangout space.
- De Medley, Gedempte Zuiderdiep 64. A good pick up coffee shop. Can't smoke inside or stay there but it's quite cheap. Joints for €3,00, also many kinds of hash (like Maroc and Afghan) for about €5-€6 & weed/wiet: powerplant, sneeuwwitje (snow white), Afgaan (Afghan) 6, 10 or 20 euros.
Red Light Districts
Prostitution in the Netherlands has been legal since 1988 if the prostitute consents. Window prostitution in Groningen takes place in the Nieuwstad area. This street is packed with over 100 windows. A common price is €50 per 15 minutes.
|This guide uses the following price ranges for a standard double room:|
|Mid-range||€50 to €100|
As it is a fairly popular city trip destination among the Dutch, Groningen has plenty of choices for places to stay. There are no real top-end hotels however, so if you're out for luxury, you'll have to resort to some of the better mid-range places. Still, there are several very nice, historic hotels as well as a range of semi-modern and modern mid-range options. Travellers minding their budgets will find that accommodation here is relatively cheap.
- Camping Stadspark, Campinglaan 6, ☎ +31 50 5251624. Open from March to October, this camping ground is in the Stadspark, a large, wooded park just outside the ring road. If you're carrying a tent, this can be a nice budget alternative. € 18 for a spot, 2 people and showers.
- Simplon Youth Hotel (Simplon Jongerenhotel), Boterdiep 73, ☎ +31 50 3135221. This youth hostel has been around for a long time and remains a popular budget puck. Bunk-beds starting at €13,50. Rooms for up to 6 people are available, too.
- Apollo Hotel, Laan van de Vrijheid 91, ☎ +31 50 7630070. Opened in 2015 in the La Liberté high-rise building, nice views. From €80 for a double.
- Bud Gett Hostel, Rademarkt 3-3a, ☎ +31 50 5886558. This modern hostel is situated half way between the railway station and the city centre. Its decoration is inspired by a Dutch painter Piet Mondrian and beds are made when you arrive. Dorm beds from €25, private doubles from €55.
- Hampshire City Hotel, Gedempte Kattendiep 25, ☎ +31 50 3175510. This large hotel has simple but modern rooms and a nice rooftop terrace. Located in the city centre it can be a little bit noisy at times, but overall this place gives good value for money. Rooms come in different types, with the more expensive ones being quite a bit more spacious. The staff is helpful and there are facilities like a sauna and Turkish steam bath. The hotel rents out bikes for €5. From €60 for a double.
- Hotel Corps De Garde, Oude Boteringestraat 74, ☎ +31 50 3175510. This charming, historic hotel is housed in a monumental 1634 building. Although equipped with all the modern day facilities you'd expect, it manages to retain its historic atmosphere, making it one of the finest places to stay in town. The only downside is that there's no space for an elevator, but the staff is very helpful, the breakfast very good and the lounge quite inviting. It has bikes for rent but note that car parking in the direct surroundings can be expensive. From €99 for a double.
- Hotel de Doelen, Grote Markt, ☎ +31 50 3127041. This hotel is an all time favourite due to its nice location right at the foot of the Martini tower, facing the Grote Markt. This place has been receiving visitors for some 200 years and the decorations clearly intend to maintain the characteristic feel, but all modern facilities are in place. The lounge is pleasant and the staff friendly. The only downsides are the steep stairs to the entrance and -as with many places in the city centre - you'll have to park your car in one of the public garages.
- Martini Hotel, Gedempte Zuiderdiep 8, ☎ +31 50 3175510. This is an old hotel, and guests have been accommodated in this building since 1871. It's a bit dated and the rooms are small and simple, but the location is good (in the city centre), there's a nice bar downstairs and the prices are quite reasonable too. It has triple rooms, if you're a party of three. Private parking is available but costs €12.50 and should be reserved in advance, as it is sometimes full. From €64,50 for a double.
- NH Hotel De Ville, Oude Boteringestraat 43, ☎ +31 50 3181222, e-mail: firstname.lastname@example.org. This four-star hotel in the city centre is stylishly decorated with a historic touch and offers more facilities than most hotels in town. Some of the rooms are a bit outdated but the staff is friendly and will park your bike in the nearby public garage, although the parking fees are fairly high. From €87 for a double.
- Stee in Stad, Boterdiep 111, ☎ +31 50 3175510. This is a fairly special hotel; three houses have been transformed into a hotel. In each house there are three rooms. Every room has a different theme. Its staffed by people who otherwise have few chances on the labour market and often have been on income support for a long time. At the hotel the can (re)experience what it's like to have a job and acquire the job skills. However, this place is more than a social business initiative. It's also a pleasant hotel at 5 minute walk from the old centre. Several rooms have shared bathrooms. Singles/soubles from €50/69.
- University Hotel, Kleine Kromme Elleboog 7-b, ☎ +31 50 3113424. This nice little hotel is situated at a cosy square with bars all around, close to the university and right in the centre. It is in fact part of the university and offers short but also long stay accommodation. Rooms are nicely decorated in a modern fashion, the staff is friendly and there's free tea and coffee in the lounge. Breakfast is a bit limited and there aren't too many facilities beyond what you'd expect from any hotel, but in terms of price and quality - this is a really good deal. Singles/doubles from €62,50 /€79,50.
- Prinsenhof, Martinikerkhof 23, ☎ +31 50 3176550. Prinsenhof Groningen is located right in the middle of Groningen city center, only meters from the Martini Tower. As soon as the monumental gate is passed, the city’s bustle is left behind. Offering a grand café, a hotel and an à-la-carte restaurant. From €149 for a double, Royal Suite €399.
In case of medical emergency, Groningen is well-served by a wide variety of hospitals and other medical facilities. The University Medical Center Groningen (UMCG) is the main hospital. It is one of the largest hospitals in the World, offering supraregional tertiary care to the northern part of the Netherlands. The medical center employs almost 17,000 people and numbers almost 1400 beds. The Martini Hospital is the second hospital, located in the south of the city.
- The small town of Appingedam with her medieval town centre is well worth exploring. Note the "hanging kitchens" this town is known for.
- The star fort of Bourtange is another good choice and is less than an hour away by car.
- Explore the historical region Middag-Humsterland by car or bicycle. The region is one of the oldest cultural landscapes of Western Europe and known for the villages built on wierdes (artificial hills) to shelter themselves and their stock from the high tide.
- Visit the seal rescue centre in Pieterburen.
- Catch a bus to Lauwersoog, only to hop on a ferry to the island Schiermonnikoog. This small island is a popular day- or weekendtrip destination.
- Take the train to Uithuizen and visit the Menkemaborg, a particular kind of castle and one of the oldest and best kept examples of its kind in the region.
|Routes through Groningen|
|Amsterdam ← Drachten ←||S N||→ END|
|Utrecht ← Assen ←||S N||→ END|