Welcome to Groningen
The largest urban centre in the northern Netherlands, Groningen
is an ancient city with a young heart, thanks to its large student
population. Old and new blend well in this city, which dates from
the third century, but had to be largely reconstructed after
bombing in World War II. Its status as a major Dutch educational
centre has imbued Groningen with a vibrant arts scene, lively
nightlife and a wealth of fascinating museums covering various
topics from science to comics, and even tobacco.
Through the centre of town runs the Herestraat, a wide
pedestrian avenue packed with big-name stores. Radiating out from
the main street are narrow roads lined with small shops selling
local goods and crafts, interspersed with bars, cafes and
The city's landmark building is the Martini Tower, adjoining a
church on the main square (the Grote Markt), which can be climbed
to afford a spectacular view across the city. Its most notable
building, however, is the city theatre (the Stadsschouwburg), a
pink Renaissance concoction with a unique ornate interior, which is
as worth seeing as the productions which take place on its stage.
You can also visit a number of medieval almshouses, which still
function today as homes for seniors and the poor.
Art pervades the city, even in the train station with its
magnificent stained glass windows; but not to be missed for
art-lovers is the renowned Groningen Museum opposite the station,
which houses a permanent collection of 17th-century works
Adoration of the Magi), Hague School paintings,
ceramics, as well as works by Groningen's expressionist De Ploeg
Groningen is a pretty city, with a number of parks and gardens
to relax in on beautiful days. The Renaissance-style Prinsenhof
Garden, open from April to October, has lovely topiaries that have
been sculpted for over 250 years.
With plenty to do and see, and easily accessible by air or
train, Groningen has become a firm favourite with visitors seeking
to stray beyond the traditional Dutch tourist destinations.
Information & Facts
Dutch is the official language. English is widely spoken.
Fries (as well as Dutch) is spoken by the people of Friesland
Single European currency, or Euro (EUR), is the official
currency of the Netherlands, and is divided into 100 cents. Major
credit cards and travellers cheques are widely accepted. To avoid
additional charges take travellers cheques in Euros, Pounds
Sterling or US Dollars. Foreign currency or travellers cheques can
be changed at banks, post offices or bureaux de change (usually
indicated by the letters GWK). Banks are closed on weekends but
bureaux de change are open. ATMs are widely distributed and most
are open 24 hours a day.