The Tourist information Bureau is next to the Martini Tower at Grote Markt 25.
Mo-Fr: 9AM - 6PM
Sa: 10AM - 5PM
Tourist Info (Dutch)
City Counsil page
Dutch Groningen multi-link page
Groningen for Groningers
You can get good food at generally cheap prices. Look for sandwich shops and follow the students for good, local dishes. The students know where to go.
Fondest memory: I love the Frites Met (fries with Mayo) in Groningen. Of course, you can get these with ketchup or even Sate, but why not try the local version. There are great places to get these. My favorite place for a quick snack after going to Discos with friend was a busy place off the of the main square close to the "Dree Zusters" (the biggest bar in Europe with lots of hidden rooms and passageways). Similar to a large vending machine, you can put change into a slot and open a small glass door to get the item you have purchased. Or, you can opt for the take-away window for a fresher snack, however, expect to wait. The college students are hungry!
This page has come to an end, but before I do I want to show you one more photo. This is the stadsschouwburg / city theatre with its striking soft pink colour. This building is located on the "Turfsingel" and dates back to 1883.
I hope you enjoyed my tour around Groningen and got a bit of an idea what this city is like. And maybe you even got inspired to visit Groningen some day :-))) There is so much more to show you though, but that's for a next time! :-)) I am already making plans for another trip back 'home' and without a doubt I will visit Groningen again. So stay tuned for more 'beautiful Groningen' on this page some time in the future :-)
Zooming in with my camera on the Provinciehuis I spotted a nice detail. On the left side of the tower you can see the coat of arms of the Province of Groningen. That this coat of arms decorates this building is not very surprising as "Provinciehuis" (freely translated to English) means "House of the Province". So literally it means that the government of the Province of Groningen is seated here.
Behind the Martinikerk / St.Martin's Church you can see the "Provinciehuis". In the photo you can actually see the newer part of this building that dates back to 1916 and is build in a neo-renaissance style. I think it is a beautiful building, especially on a sunny day like this :-)
When you turn left behind the church and just in front of the Provinciehuis you come to a lovely place. It is called the "Martini kerkhof". "Kerkhof" means graveyard in Dutch, hahaha, so this might not sound so very appealing. But nothing reminds here of a graveyard anymore; it is now a lovely enclosed area. It is so nice and quiet here in this busy heart of town. The grass field, the old trees, the old houses..... It's the perfect spot to sit on a bench underneath one of the old trees to enjoy the peace and quiet in the sun.
From the "Martini kerkhof" you have a wonderful view over the Martini church, tower and the "Provinciehuis".
Almost next to the Febo you can see a few famous pubs in Groningen. During sunny days you can sit outside on the terraces, when it is a less weather go inside and have a drink here. They are lovely old pubs and nice places to make a stop while exploring Groningen. These pubs (De drie Gezusters, Groote Griet and Kleine Griet) are also beautiful buildings to see from the outside :-)
A weird thing you might come across in The Netherlands is that people eat of the wall. There are snack machines in the major cities where you can get your fast-food out of the wall. The most famous one is the Febo.... and there is one of those on the market square of the "Grote Markt". Being back in The Netherlands for a few days I HAD to eat some of these typical Dutch and totally unhealthy snacks :-)) Hahaha, who needs a hamburger and MacD if they sell "delicious" frikadel at the Febo! LOL :-)) Okay.... you probably won't agree with me on the "delicious" part, hahaha, I guess you just have to see this snack as a 'local' thing that only the 'crazy locals' do enjoy ;-))
On top of the old "Provinciehuis" you can see this little statue. I have no clue who it is, I just thought it looked nice against the wonderful blue sky. I enjoy looking at little details and this "Provinciehuis" has lots of them! The statue however looked extra special against the blue sky, so I had to take a photo of it.
At the "Martini Kerkhof" don't forget to take a look at the left side of the Provinciehuis. You will notice that it is a bit different and much older than the rest of the building. And you are right about that! This is the oldest part of the Provinciehuis and it used to be the St. Meertensschool until 1601. It is not really known when it was built, maybe even before the "St.Martin's Church" was built. But it is certain that it dates back to the early 15th century.
When coming down again from your climb up the Martinitoren, you don't have to look far to find a place to have a coffee. Right below the tower, on the corner of the market square you can find "De Kostery". During a nice sunny day this is a wonderful place to sit down on the terrace and enjoy a bit of sunshine while sipping on your coffee, enjoy maybe some cake, sandwich or other snack. Just sit back, relax and watch life in the city pass you by.
This is not the only place to enjoy the terrace though. On the other side of the square there are many more of these places which are highly popular among the many students that live in this city.
If you want to, you can climb up the Martinitoren. It's quite a climb though! I've forgotten how many steps it was, hahaha, but I do remember feeling tired when I got up there ;-)) The view from the top is wonderful though and well worth the effort. From here you will have a great view over the "Grote Markt" / "Big Square" and the rest of the city. On a beautiful clear day you can overlook the whole city and even look at some of the surrounding areas.
The tower is open
1st April - 31st October: 11:00 - 17:00
1 November - 31st March: 12:00 - 16:00
The tower is closed on special days like the 25th December, 31th December and 1st January.
Just a photo of one of the details you can see on the church tower. This is the sundial, hahaha, no watch needed on this sunny day! You can clearly see what time it is :-)
One thing that I really love is the sounds of the carillon. It is so wonderful to hear it play and hear the sounds of the bells echo over the square of the "Grote Markt". The original carillon dates back to 1662. Nowadays the carillon consists of 4 octaves and 49 clocks. It is considered to one of the most wonderful carillons in Europe and I can believe that!
The biggest three clocks in the tower date back to 1577. The biggest one is 8000 kilos and requires 12 persons to toll this bell by hand. They used to toll these bells by hand, but in 1826 after an epidemic of the plague they stopped this tradition. But the tradition hasn't totally disappeared! Every Sunday and on special days a special group of people (Groninger Klokkenluiders Gilde / Groningen's bell tolling guild) still gather together and toll these bells by hand.
This is the Martini tower, or lovingly called "'d Olle Grieze" (The old grey one) by the locals. This tower is the symbol of the city. But I will tell you more about this tower later..... First I want to tell you a little bit about the church next to it: the "St.Martin's Church".
The St.Martin's Church is named after Martin of Tours (316-397). He was a patron of the diocese of Utrecht, a region of The Netherlands which Groningen belonged for a long time. There is a popular legend about St.Martin and that has caused even to a special day: The 11th of November "Sint Maarten" or "St.Martin's Day". It is still celebrated in this part of the country and you can read all about this tradition on the "Local Custom Tips".
The St.Martin's Church is beautiful inside and if you want you can go in and have a look. The church is open to the public every Saturday from Easter until the 11th of November from 12.00 - 17.00. During the summer months (June - half September) it is open on Tuesdays till Saturdays from 12.00 - 17.00. There are guided tours at 13.30.
Martinikerk: Martinikerkhof 3
tel.: +31 (0)50 - 311 12 77
"Martinitower", "St.Martin's Tower" or "d 'Olle Grieze", it doesn't really matter how you call it. For me this tower spells "home".... my roots, a place I love. So my page here on VT about Groningen can't be without this tower!
The tower is part of the St.Martin's Church, but it is not the first tower that stood here. The first two were destroyed by lightening and this third and current tower was completed in 1482. At that time the tower was 127 metres high and the highest in Europe. Unfortunately the top of the tower burnt down in 1577 and part of the tower collapsed reducing its height to only 69 metres. But the tower was restored again in 1627. It is now 97 metres high and the fifth tallest church tower in The Netherlands.