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Flights Nice Groningen

Destination the Netherlands: why not head to Groningen?

Even if it is not the most popular destination in the Netherlands, Groningen, a harmonious combination of history and modernity, is well worth visiting for a few days. Located in the extreme northeast of the country, it is both the youngest and the most popular city for cyclists in the Netherlands. Also elected the country’s “best city-centre”, Groningen promises to make your stay both varied and lively!

A city and province of astonishing cultural wealth

During your holidays in Groningen, do not forget to admire the magnificent Art Deco style hall in the central train station and, when leaving, lift your head to look at its impressive Gothic façade. You will find plenty to look at! Just in front of the train station stands the Groninger Museum, a must-see during your stay. Featuring the works of various well-known architects, including Philippe Starck, this museum brings together collections whose diversity and eclecticism reflect the architectural multitude of buildings. A delight from the outside, just as it is on the inside. To reach the historic centre, enjoy a boat ride or bike ride along the canals, the best way to mingle with the local population!

Inside this circle of canals, there is a multitude of sights to discover. The beautiful bell towers of the Aa-Kerk and Martinikerk churches, the oldest in the city. Or even the Groningen synagogue, one of the very few still open in the country. All around Grote Markt, the city’s main square, admire the exceptional façades that surround it, including that of the Stadhuis (Town Hall). And close by, do not miss the famous urinal, a piece of urban furniture well worth the detour! More poetic and just as artistic, the Prinsentuin, Renaissance style garden dating back to 1626, offers a very pleasant walk.
With regards to shopping, you will not be disappointed. The streets of Folkingestraat and Herestraat are lined with charming shops and famous “brown cafes”, for a well-deserved break.

If you have the opportunity, do not hesitate to venture into the surrounding villages, more particularly at the edge of the Wadden Sea.
The fortified village of Bourtange takes you back in time. In Bedum, you will find the tower that leans the most in Europe. Yes, it leans more than the Tower of Pisa! Lauwersmeer National Park offers you the chance to go hiking on foot or by bike as well as numerous water-based activities. Lastly, the thermal Island of Borkum welcomes you for a day of relaxation and well-being.

Top 10 must-sees in Groningen

  • Groninger Museum: Designed by architect Alessandro Mendini, this breathtaking museum offers a variety of styles and collections that will delight all visitors. Fashion, photography, design objects, paintings, porcelain collection and the works of the “De Ploeg” movement, but also of course the amazing spectacle offered by all the pavilions make it a must-see.
  • Martinitoren: It is the steeple of the Martinikerk, Groningen’s oldest church. From the 15th century, it is the highest point (97m) and is the symbol of the city. The most courageous will be able to climb the 251 steps.
  • Groningen Synagogue: This Neo-Moorish style building dating back to 1906 is a remnant of the city’s Jewish past.
  • Grote Markt: The city’s main square is lined with remarkable buildings, including the Stadhuis (Town Hall), which dates back to 1810. Whilst sitting in one of the cafes, on the south side, take time to admire the façades.
  • Urinal: Architect Rem Koolhaas collaborated with the subversive photographer Erwin Olaf to create an astonishing piece of artwork.
  • Prinsentuin: Behind the Prinsenhof, a chic hotel that was the former residence of general governor Willem-Frederik van Nassau-Dietz, this Renaissance style garden from 1626 is composed of a rose garden and a herb garden, amongst others, and two covered walkways.
  • Walfridus Church in Bedum: The tower of this 12th century church, according to a surveyor’s calculations, leans more than the Tower of Pisa.
  • Lauwersmeer National Park: A magnificent area of 6,000 hectares of forests, prairies and other fields of orchids, with countless species of birds flying over, such as the White-Tailed Eagle. Go walking, bike riding...or sailing!
  • Bourtange: Ancient times come to life in this fortress located to the east of Groningen, where restoration has returned it to its former glory. Visiting the small town, primarily known for its fortifications in the shape of a star, will take you back in time.
  • Thermal Island of Borkum: Located in the open sea, this island offers air that is pollen-free, but full of iodine, and is therefore very good for your health. Treatments using natural mud, thalassotherapy, etc., many well-being activities are offered in a beautiful setting.

Traditional dishes that are always up to date with every delicious taste

In the traditional “brown cafes”, whose name derives from the wood used to decorate the inside as well as the walls that are yellow due to tobacco, you can discover many Dutch specialities.
Erwtensoep, a thick soup made from split peas, stamppot, a puree of potatoes and vegetables served with a sausage or meat, and eierbal, a hard-boiled egg covered in mashed potato and minced meat which is coated in breadcrumbs and deep-fried; these are all nourishing and hearty dishes!  But there are also all the fish specialities, including salted herring, which is very popular, without counting the cheeses which give the Netherlands its reputation, such as: gouda, maasdam, edam, etc. And for a sugary snack, enjoy Stroopwafels, which are delicious caramel waffles.

Events calendar
January:
  • EuroSonic Festival : every year, the second week of January adopts a pop music atmosphere. More than 250 international concerts are organised on the city-centre’s podiums, where confirmed young talents and groups take turns to play.
  • Noorderslag : this one-day festival is geared towards talented Dutch musicians and the announcement of the Dutch Pop Award. It is both a meeting place for pop lovers, programmers, pop music journalists and all other professionals in the music industry.
August:
  • Noorderzon : the culmination of the cultural summer in Groningen is called Noorderzon: 10 days of theatre, music, dance, visual arts, multimedia, circus and other activities. The festival takes place in Noorderplantsoen Park, on the city’s ancient ramparts, and brings together more than 125,000 people each year.
October-November:
  • Noorderlicht : organised each year based on a different theme, this international photography festival offers an exhibition in the Aa-Kerk church, in the historic centre of the city.

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