Sights of the City of Groningen, Netherlands

The moment you want to write about the 10 most beautiful, best and most interesting sights in Groningen, we quickly realize that it is mainly the city itself that forms a highlight. There are more than enough hotspots, monuments, buildings and museums in Groningen that can be listed in a top 10 sights. However, it is mainly the liveliness that makes Groningen so special. And this is mainly caused by the large number of students who live here. Thanks to a university and a university of applied sciences, Groningen has more than 60,000 students, more than half of whom live in Groningen. This ensures many young people in the streets, parks and restaurants. You will also notice that there are a lot of bicycles in the city. These two-wheelers are frequently used. Therefore, be careful when you move on foot or by car in the center of Groningen.

According to hyperrestaurant, the city has a fairly long history. In the Middle Ages, Groningen grew quite quickly into an important trading city and the University of Groningen has been active since the year 1614. The Second World War had a major impact on the appearance of the historic city center. A part of the authentic city center was then destroyed. What is striking nowadays when you go through Groningen is that much younger and more modern buildings have taken their place. In recent years in particular, the municipality has seen more and more room for playful modern architecture. This can be clearly seen in the city center, for example, in the Forum and the Groningen Museum.

Our advice for a visit to Groningen: experience the city and don’t focus too much on the sights. You can use the top 10 sights of Groningen as inspiration, but don’t make this list mandatory for your city trip to this exciting city.

Top 10 sights of the city of Groningen

#1. Martini tower

The medieval Martinitoren is the highest tower in the city of Groningen. It has a total height of no less than 96.8 meters. This makes d’Olle Grieze, as the ‘stadjers’ call it, one of the highest towers in the Netherlands. The tower was built as part of the Martinikerk. It had two predecessors: a 30 meter high tower in the thirteenth century and a 45 meter high one in the fifteenth century. A fire has destroyed this wooden tower. The Martinitoren that you can still see in Groningen today was built between 1469 and 1554. The Gothic architectural style is clearly recognizable.

If you buy an entrance ticket and climb the almost 300 steps, you can enjoy a beautiful view of Groningen. For the best view of the Martini Tower itself, head to the roof of the nearby Forum.

#2. Forum Groningen

Since the year 2019, the city of Groningen has had a special building in the center: Forum Groningen. This strikingly designed building is primarily a meeting place for both residents and tourists. The building designed by the NL Architects architectural firm has succeeded in this aim. Walk into the Forum Groningen at random and there is always activity. Because this mainly happens in silence (the Forum Groningen is a popular study and reference place for students), you hardly notice that the building is so well visited. For tourists, the building itself, the exhibition rooms and the roof terrace are especially worthwhile. From the open roof terrace you have a breathtaking view over the city of Groningen.

#3. Large market

The Grote Markt is the main square of Groningen. Here is the stately town hall, you can enjoy the available catering (including terraces) and the aforementioned Martinitoren. There is a market on the Grote Markt three times a week: on Tuesdays, Fridays and Saturdays. The most popular catering business on the Grote Markt is De Drie Gezusters. Very popular among students and thanks to the heated terrace also very lively in the winter months. The town hall is built in a Dutch classicist style. The elevated colonnaded entrance provides an impressive design that has not lost any of its charisma over the years.

#4. Groninger Museum

With no fewer than two hundred thousand visitors a year, the Groninger Museum is one of the top attractions of the city and the province of Groningen. Especially since the move to a new building in 1994, the museum has been a popular attraction within the city. The postmodernist designed museum is already a sight to see from an architectural point of view. And then you haven’t visited the museum itself yet! The collection of the Groninger Museum can be called extremely diverse. Here you will find archaeological finds, visual arts, fashion, porcelain and art by De Ploeg.

#5. High of A

The Hoge der A is a street within the city of Groningen, just like the Lage der A. Both streets are located on both sides of the A. The Hoge der A is seen as one of the most picturesque streets in Groningen. There are many monumental buildings here that recall the time when plenty of port activities took place here. The A is actually the Drentse Aa, but the ‘stadjers’ have called it the A for centuries. Several times a year the Hoge der A is the stage for all kinds of events. The rest of the time it is a street that you should definitely take with you when you explore Groningen on foot or by bike.

#6. fish market

A city like Groningen traditionally has several interesting squares, where all kinds of things have been happening for centuries. The Vismarkt is one such place. People have been coming here to get fish since the fifteenth century. You didn’t think that name was just made up, did you? And today it still is. During the day there is a mobile fish stall where you can still get fresh fish. The difference with the past is that the supply of fish and shellfish is not limited to local fishing. Nowadays you can buy everything at the Vismarkt three times a week, when the normal commodity market is held.

The Korenbeurs is located on the western side of the Vismarkt. This imposing building has a neoclassical facade. This attracts extra attention to himself. The design is based on the Groningen master builder JG van Beusekom. The Korenbeurs was built from 1862 to 1865.

#7. courtyards

In Groningen there are a number of courtyards: residential communities that are usually situated around a communal courtyard. These types of courtyards often originated from charity and are intended for single people. Nowadays you see more often that couples are also allowed to live in the courtyards. In Groningen you can visit various courtyards, as long as you do not violate the privacy of the residents and maintain the peace. Because that is an important characteristic of the courtyards: they form wonderful oases of peace where you can escape the often hectic life in the city.

#8. Prince’s Garden

If you are talking about oases of peace in Groningen, then the Prinsentuin should definitely be mentioned. This walled garden is located behind hotel Prinsenhof. Don’t be put off by the walls: you can visit the Prinsentuin for free during the day. Enjoy the tranquility that this garden exudes. Read a book or have a pleasant cup of tea or a refreshing cool drink served in the summer. If you sit here you will understand why stadtholder Willem Frederik and his wife Albertine Agnes were so fond of this beautiful spot in Groningen. The garden is no longer exactly the same, but the atmosphere is.

#9. Northern Maritime Museum

In a city such as Groningen, centrally located in the province, you will not easily think of shipping. Until you realize that the city used to have a good connection to the Wadden Sea. This expired when the Lauwerszee was closed in 1969. Groningen used to be a city where shipping and shipbuilding formed important pillars of the city’s economy. It is not for nothing that a museum is located here that tells the maritime history of Groningen. In addition to the permanent collection, the Northern Maritime MuseumAlso space for temporary exhibitions. For example, we enjoyed a selection of ship portraits made by painters from ‘De Ploeg’.

#10. University Museum

The University Museum is a museum that manages the collection of the University of Groningen. The collection can certainly be called diverse. For example, the collection of seeds, flowers and plant prints of the former Botanical Museum is now housed here, there is a fairly broad ethnological collection and you can view instruments used in experimental psychology.

To complete the special character of the University Museum, a room has been set up that is dedicated to the Dutch physician, feminist and pacifist Aletta Henriƫtte Jacobs. Several personal items belonging to this remarkable woman in her time are on display. The University of Groningen awards the Aletta Jacobs Prize every other year. This prize is intended for women with an academic education who play a pioneering role in the field of emancipation and who set an example for other women. A number of well-known politicians have received this prize, including Neelie Kroes, Els Borst and Khadija Arib.

City of Groningen, Netherlands

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