Groningen (province)

Wierde Niehove

Groningen is the northwesternmost province in the Netherlands. It is mainly agricultural with its capital, also called Groningen, as the only big city around. Although the flat countryside may seem uneventful at first glance, there's plenty of heritage and typical scenery to discover. This area was the stage for one of the oldest human efforts in Europe to conquer the water and shape the landscape through ditches, terps and pastures. There are picturesque villages, historical mansions and ample opportunities to just enjoy the laid-back countryside life in this most northern part of the Netherlands.

Cities

Other destinations

Understand

Agriculture is one of its mainstays. In the past peat was dug. Many villages have not really grown in the last century giving them a nice charm.

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. The area is therefore regarded as the last stronghold of the communist party in the Netherlands.

Apart from agriculture there is an unsightly 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.

Talk

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

Get in

Railway system Groningen

By train

It is easiest to arrive in Groningen by train into the City of Groningen. 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 the south of the country. Regular direct services run from Amsterdam, Schiphol Airport, Rotterdam and The Hague, among other locations. From Schiphol Airport the journey typically takes 2h 15m.

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

Long distance buses to Emmeloord are also available. Also regular connections to Emmen and Assen. Publicexpress and other German bus companies offer regular direct bus connections to Oldenburg and Bremen, and daily connections to cities including Hamburg and Berlin.

By air

There is an airport about 10 km outside the city of Groningen, in Eelde. This airport is quite small, with mainly charter flights to Southern Europe, but also offer scheduled flights to London and Gdansk, amongst others. Other flight connections require a train journey; Amsterdam Schiphol Airport is the biggest and best connected airport, but Bremen is a similar distance away by train (2–3 hours) and well served by budget airlines. Train tickets for Schiphol are € 25 one-way (2015), while Bremen can be reached by bus.

By car

Get around

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, but tend to be slow and far in between. 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

Hoge der A Groningen

See the Ommelanden, the countryside north and east of the city of Groningen. Small little towns, little fishing communities, little castles ("borgen") and windmills. Good area to explore, by car or on bike.

Do

When in Groningen province why not try:

Eat

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:

Less expensive, but nice:

Drink

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 'till late. Dutch pubs, student pubs, Irish pubs, bars, coffeeshops, 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

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

Go next

This article is issued from Wikivoyage - version of the Wednesday, December 09, 2015. The text is available under the Creative Commons Attribution/Share Alike but additional terms may apply for the media files.