Practise your Dutch? Go to Groningen! – My top things to do in Groningen
After the positive reactions to my blog about things to do in the Netherlands, I’ve started a blog series about cities and places. In one of my earlier blogs I talked about Rotterdam.
Today I want tell you about the language of and the things you can do in Groningen.
This is not just from my own experience. During the summer school, I’m surprised to find that students often give me great advice for things to do in my own country.
About the city. Groningen is definitely the biggest city in the North of the Netherlands. It is a university city so students are much in evidence. There are more than 60,000 of them and almost 35,000 of them live in the city. A large proportion are international students.
Last year there were so many new students, the city had to build a tent camp to house them all!
Because the students who live in Groningen stay there for the weekend, there are lots of activities, festivals and fun things to do. In other student cities like Utrecht or Tilburg a lot of students, especially first years, go back to their home towns on Friday.
Apart from that, Groningen is a city with a rich history which you can learn about in the old part of the city.
So what are the things to do in Groningen?
- Martini toren
When in Groningen, you must visit the Martini tower. It is the one landmark you can’t miss if you visit Groningen. If you are in good shape, it’s definitely worth the climb because you can see the whole city from the top of the tower. This tower is the second tallest in the Netherlands after the Dom tower in Utrecht.
The Prinsentuin (also called the Prinsenhoftuin) is a garden in the centre of Groningen. It is located behind the Prinsenhof, a building dating from the 11th century. The weather in the Netherlands can be pretty terrible, with wind and rain. But when it’s nice, walking through the garden can be very enjoyable.
If you are into music, and everything that has to do with it, Eurosonic is the place to be.
- Eurosonic / Noorderslag
Eurosonic Noorderslag (The European Music Conference and Showcase Festival) is a music festival. It is not only a showcase festival where you can listen to new bands, it is also the centre for European pop music with conferences every day. Eurosonic Noorderslag takes place every year for four days in January.
It is considered one of the most important festivals in the music industry. Each year about 300 performances take place and 150 panels are organized.
- Visit one of the ‘markten’
The centre of Groningen is known for having some fine squares, for example the Grote Markt and the Vismarkt (fish market). If there is a market, and there often is during the week, then then you could call them ‘gezellige’ squares. They are mainly food markets but people come here just to walk around.
If you are into the arts, Groningen has one of the best museums in the Netherlands.
- Groninger museum
The Groninger Museum is one main attractions of Groningen with more than 200,000 visitors per year. The museum is well-known for its exceptional and colourful building and because of its diverse exhibitions.
And don’t forget to talk Gronings!
So remember it is Grunn (and not Groningen) and when you’re asked how you’re doing, you respond with ‘T kon minder’.
Bart de Pau
online Dutch teacher & founder of the Dutch Summer School & Dutch Winter School