What is it that makes Groningen Groningen? And why is it so great to visit the city and province? Be surprised by the different facades to the city and province with these seven highlights.
The City of Groningen
In the student city, with the youngest population of the Netherlands, you can find many a museum, gallery, theater and festival, where you can enjoy national and international talents. Sitting at cafés with views of new architecture, you can take a much-earned break from the diverse shopping possibilities. Or visit one of the courtyards, gardens or parks: nature is always close by in Groningen. On top of that, this winter, visit the exhibition Rodin Genius at Work at the Groninger Museum.
When the Lauwerszee was closed off from the Wadden Sea in 1969 the Lauwersmeer was created, which isn’t a National Park without reason. In the impressive nature reserve peculiar animals and plants live in symbiosis with the water. The dykes, drains and weirs in the area are reminders of how people lived here together with the water for centuries. The Lauwersmeer can be found at the World Heritage Site Wadden Sea and is the departure point for trips to Schiermonnikoog, where another national park can be found; a peculiar experience.
World Heritage Site Wadden Sea
The Wadden Sea is at home at the top of the list of UNESCO’s World Heritage Sites. Just after the Alps, it is the largest continuous wilderness of Central Europe and the part belonging to Groningen still the most pristine. The area is of international importance, because it is the breading ground for the North Sea and a place for resting, molting, feeding and breading for millions of (migratory) birds. Additionally, the mudflats is the perfect habitat for seals. A typical thing to do in the mudflats is mudflat walking. When the tide is low, you can walk from the mainland to the Wadden (Frisian) Islands.
Often attacked but never conquered: Restored in its former glory, the fortress Bourtange brings the past to life again. Discovering the surrounding area is also worth the effort. The region of Westerwolde is known for its variety: from forest and moors to streams and meadows.
The Groninger borgs emerged from medieval stone houses, sturdy buildings where the rich inhabitants felt safe. They were expanded to showpieces and housed the noble families. Once, about one hundred borgs could be found in the province, but many were lost. Some of the sixteen surviving borgs are now home to museums.
Estate houses in Groningen >>
Proudly towering above Groningen are beautiful, ancient churches, often in an austere Roman or Romano gothic style. A number of the churches are open for public: merely a matter of getting the keys from the neighbors.
Churches in Groningen >>
Groningen is dotted with terps: century old, artificially made dwelling mounds that secured the population from high tides for more than a thousand years. They became unnecessary when the dykes were built, some were even excavated. Where this didn’t happen, the churches still stand on the highest point of the towns.