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Visit Groningen – Old City with very Young Hearts

On your bike and take on Groningen. You might get lucky and have the wind at your back!

GRONINGEN: Dynamic, authentic and well-preserved. This is Groningen: a city bursting with young energy. Surrounded by countryside where the silence embraces you like an old friend. A city just large and just small enough for those of you  prefer to go cycling on your own. Leave the beaten track, step into a different world and enjoy Groningen to the fullest, and you might come back for more.

On the bike in Groningen
On the bike in Groningen


Seawall on the height

The Ommelanderzeedijk was not the first dyke built to protect Groningen from the sea water. Inland are the long interior dykes, of which the seawall is the highest. When on top of the dyke, you feel as though you are towering above the generally flat Groningen countryside. With the ever-changing Wadden Sea on one side, the countryside on the other, your feet on the pedals and the fresh sea breeze on your face.

One of the canals in the city
One of the canals in the city

City Guide Groningen

You may start to discover Groningen with its infinite energy, history and culture. This city is dotted with interesting places, from art in the streets and boutiques to small-scale high-quality restaurants. It has something for everyone. Visit the tourist office in the Forum or download the City Guide of Groningen

Hiking: Follow old trade routes
Hiking: Follow old trade routes

Leave the beaten track

Take a detour from the beaten path of the Pieterpad long-distance trail to see something you haven’t seen before. Take in an event that has managed to remain under the web’s radar. Enjoy the silence of a faraway place, free of any interference by mobile coverage. If you like cycling, hop on your bike and venture out to a place in Groningen few people ever visited before. You might even get lucky and have the wind at your back!

Barbara catching fish and seafood
Barbara catching fish and seafood

And serve it at restaurant Ailand.
And serve it at restaurant Ailand.

Food from the sea

Visiting Ailand fish restaurant in Lauwersoog, the design easily explains the owners, Jan and Barbara. The fishing couple takes in from the sea, such as seaweed, crabs, oysters, grey mullet, and flatfish. Fish and seafood are often prepared in surprising combinations. “Catching grey mullet is the most exciting thing to do,’ says Barbara.

There are caffees on every corner
Serving coffee on every corner

Coffee in the city

People of Groningen love coffee and you can find a coffee bar at almost every corner. Palazzo combines having coffee with shopping, ’t Feithhuis holds a workshop for future baristas on a monthly basis and Black & Bloom has raised preparing coffee to true science. Following is a list of various excellent coffee bars.

Vintage lovers will love Groningen
Vintage lovers will love Groningen

Long live Vintage

You won’t find massive produced stuff, authenticity and durability are important. Vintage lovers will love Groningen, here are shops with vintage clothing, furniture and other things.

If you love stylish, high-quality clothing, but don’t love the price tag, head to Viva! Vintage. You’ll find clothing, shoes and accessories ranging from today’s trends to classic styles and from sporty to formal. And you’re always welcome to bring in your own “clothing with experience” to find a new home in someone else’s closet. Address: Steentilstraat 25.

There is live music and concert every night.
There is live music and concert every night.

Live music in Groningen

Groningen features live music any day of the week – concerts or jam sessions at numerous locations. Buckshot has been the beating heart of live music, featuring performances each and every Sunday.

Monday at Café The Crown is the place for a Jazz Jam Session, with the house bands plays rock on Friday. Eetcafé De Smederij is the venue for jazz sessions by music students on a Tuesday night.

Jazz it: Musicians at Eetcafé De Smederij
Jazz it: Musicians at Eetcafé De Smederij

Every Saturday, Cappuvino is the place to relax with a drink, snack, and live jazzy music.
For traditional Irish music, head on to O`Ceallaigh, a pub for well-known bands and more obscure acts.
Hemingway is the place on Friday with music inspired by the Buena Vista Social Club. This is the place for modern salsa influences, so get those hips moving in Groningen.

Art in the City

This is the unexpected art scene. Groningen does not exhibit art at prominent places. Instead, you will find many works of art in places you’d never expect. And although one is more easily distinguished than the other, some are only visible at certain times. Be sure to remain vigilant and keep on the lookout for more unexpected art.​

Sculpture in a car park house
Sculpture in a car park house

Ten Museums

Visitors can explore at least ten museums. These include the only comic Dutch museum and the International Wooden Shoes Museum. The museum boasts the largest collection of wooden footwear in the world. Museum Vosbergen hosts a display of 800 musical instruments.

Ice-walking: The canals are frozen in the winter
Ice-walking: The canals are frozen in the winter

University of Groningen

The University of Groningen (RUG) is a public research university with more than 30,000 students. Founded in 1614, the university is one of the most traditional and prestigious in the Netherlands. The University´s impressive list of former students includes four Nobel Prize winners, the president of the European Central Bank and a Secretary General of NATO.
The University Museum has been a science museum since 1934 in the academic heart of the student city of Groningen.

Up with the Kids

Kids want adventure and Groningen is one giant adventure for children. Think about a muddy path under your bare feet, a zoo that allows more than just observing, and an expedition in a monastery where you can see what life used to be. Then Ter Apel Monastery Museums the place to visit. You can put on a habit and have your picture taken as a monk.

Step up in Martinitoren tower for a view
Step up in Martinitoren tower for a view

View of Groningen

In the last 500 years, the Martinitoren tower has endured fire and lightning, and has nearly collapsed. Wars have been won and lost on its steps, but the tower has stood firm and, at 97 metres, as the highest building. Climb the tower to experience some history and a stunning view. No lift but a large number of steps will take you to the top.

The Wadden Sea and five islands
The Wadden Sea and five islands

 Land by the Dyke

 The coast of the Wadden Sea has plenty to see and do. Explore the unexpected beauty of the salt marshes and polders. Walk on the seabed when the Dutch Wadden are standing clear of water at low tide and see how seals on the sandbanks wait for fresh food to arrive. Take in thousands of migratory birds searching on the mud flats.

Hiking trails

Walk though green salt marshes, past red brick villages and stroll through the vast coastal area and centuries of architecture. Enjoy the fresh country air, or go for a trek that takes you back in time and tells the stories of the past. Follow the posts of towpaths and old trade routes.

FC Groningen

They are green and white and play home games at Euroborg, the football stadium in Groningen. The first team plays in the top-division in the Netherlands with a capacity of 22,525 seats at home.

Why they Love Groningen

Groningers proudly declare: “There´s nothing that tops Groningen”. Mostly true, as this city sits slightly above sea level, unlike the rest of the country. Most of the Netherlands remains mysteriously firmly under the ocean. This boost helps the population to take life less seriously. Or it could be the cycling, or the endless supply of fresh air that makes Groningers particularly slower-paced. They know when to stop and smell the tulips.

Have a good night

You can chose to spend your night in deluxe hotels, budget hotel, from tent to a country estate. Or a night on a ship, in a warehouse or among works of art. Or sign up for the only room in the smallest hotel in the world.

Coffee lovers in Groningen
Coffee lovers in Groningen

Fun Facts about Groningen

Groningen Airport Eelde is an international airport located 20 minutes by car from the airport to the city centre.
Population; 200,000 lives in the area.

Officially considered the Number 1 cycling city in Europe, and one of the least polluted cities in the world.
Train station: This historic building first opened in 1866. Voted “The most beautiful train station in the Netherlands.”
Groningen has cute canals and styled boathouses. The canals are smaller than what you will see in Amsterdam.
Old City, Young Heart. Groningen has a very young population, with the age set at 36 years, the city buzzed with optimism, smart innovation and futuristic ideas.

Said about people in the Netherlands: «The Dutch are not the most romantic people in the world».

Pictures by: Stella Dekker


Gudmund Lindbaek
Gudmund Lindbaek
Journalist founded King Goya online travel magazine. Meeting people for engaging stories. I´m off to uncover the best strategies for long life living. This is part of my venture “Around the World in 80 Lanes” – about travel, run sprint, staying fit! I just want a tiny slice of adventures to feel alive, and then excited to return home.


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