This picture of me is taken on Sint Maarten, which is on the 11th of November. You can compare it a bit with Halloween and "trick or treat", but without the costumes. It is an event for the children. Late in the afternoon, just before it gets dark, the children go from door to door with a chinese lantern in their hands, singing special Sint Maarten songs :
♫♫ Sint Maarten, Sint Maarten,
De koeien hebben staarten,
De meisjes hebben rokjes aan,
en daar komt Sint Martinus aan. ♫♫
Hahaha, sorry for that, some childhood memories of the songs we used to sing. I couldn't resist putting the lyrics on this page :-)
And after singing this little song you get candy! Isn't that great! Hahaha, I always loved getting candy! And you can see that clearly in this picture :-) My eyes are sparkling :-))
Sint Maarten is not know throughout the whole country and sadly to say it seems to be disappearing, but here in Groningen the tradition still seems to live on.
Groningen is the youngest city in the Netherlands, with over half the population under the age of 35. It is a popular city for students -- also for students from Germany, especially for those from nearby areas of northern Germany who don’t find it so difficult to learn the Dutch language.
Having so many students makes Groningen a lively town, but also causes stresses and strains on the housing market. Often four or five students will get together and rent a large apartment, but recently the city has started limiting this practice, because they claim the traditional tenants are being crowded out of their flats and the landlords are charging too much money.
Students feel they are being forced out of their apartments with the promise that they can live in new student dorms – which, however, have not been built yet.
Some students have been threatening to leave Groningen and study elsewhere, for instance in Antwerp, Belgium. Antwerp is also a lively student town and speaks the same language (more or less) as in the Netherlands.
Update: Another reason for Dutch students transferring to Antwerp is that a university education in Belgium is even less expensive than in the Netherlands. Dutch students have to pay basic fees of nearly €1,800 to study in the Netherlands. In Belgium fees are €600. As of September 2012, there are 917 Dutch students registered at the University of Antwerp, up from 658 a year earlier.
Next: Hampshire Hotel
This sculpture near the roundabout at Hereplein shows one of the main duties of parents in Groningen: teaching their offspring how to ride bicycles.
(Not that the kids seem to have much trouble with this.)
Nearby there is an up-market children’s daycare center (second photo) which I liked because of the crown and the Dutch word Kindertagverblif.
OK, Kinder means children, as in German. Tag means day, also as in German. But verblif? It must be related to the German word verbleiben, meaning to stay. So this is a place where children stay during the daytime, logically enough, but the funny word verblif makes it sound like some sort of very jolly and magical place. (Which perhaps it is.)
Next: Students in Groningen
People from Groningen are proud of their heritage. They have their own dialect, flag and even anthem.
The city flag is a flag with three horizontal stripes: white-green-white. It is used on the official city holiday: august 28th.
What is august 28th? It is the day that the city was freed in 1672. The bishop of Munster, Bernhard van Galen, was forced to end the siege of the city after six weeks. The city was shot and had bad damages by the bombs of the bishop. The bishop was named Bommen Berend (bombing berend), and the festival to commemorate this day is stil called Bommen Berend by the locals.
Every year on the 28th of august there is a huge party ending with fireworks. The carnival is in the city the entire week.
When in groningen you can't miss the bicycles. Groningen is a university city. as students do not have much money, most of them travel by bike. The entire city centre is open for bicycles and on foot only.
In 2002 it was announced bicycle city of the Netherlands.
In Groningen a bicycle is 30% faster then a car. In the city are 24 guarded bicycle stands.
Every year on the 28th of August they celebrate "Gronings Ontzet" in the city. And they are big celebrations, noticeable in the whole city. There is lots and lots to do, but my favourite is the fireworks at the end of the celebrations. Every 28th of August they give a magnificent show, something you shouldn't miss when you are in town.
"Gronings ontzet" is as a reminder of the liberation from "Bommen Berend", Bishop of Munster, in 1672.
Each year at August 28th the citizens of Groningen celebrate 'Groningens Ontzet' (Liberation of Groningen). It is as a reminder of the liberation in 1672 by Carl Rabenhaupt from the surpression under Bernard van Galen, bisshop of Munster.On the photograph the famous painting by Otto Eerelman who painted it in 1920. On it you see the 'paardenkeuring' (horse-show).After all the festivities as dragon boat races, rope pulling, lots of live music, special children programs.At night, after dark, traditionally a great show of fireworks.Go to the site of the festivities 'Feest in Stad' (party in town) . Only available in Dutch though.
May 11th --> start of the Giro in Groningen.
Great atmosphere and lots of people watching.
First, soldiers glided down the Martini tower carrying flags of the organising parties and the flags of the countries represented by the cyclists.
Lots of Italian carabinieri (police) and press.
The color of the Giro is pink, so most people wore something pink.
Eventho there was little sun, the temp was not too bad.
On August 28th the streets are even more lively than usual and around almost every corner there s something going on or something worth to have a look at.
I spotted these 3 guys wearing jacket, most likely they had to organise part of the festivities.
The girls here are large and a bit weird. The most of them -I am sorry to say- are not very nice. A bit nasty...Howcome I don't know...Service is often no good in this town. Waitresses never hurry up, they take it very slow :(
On the pictures: girls that are NOT from Groningen hehe (no offence). Wanna see more about my friends and me, the fast citygirls? Go and take a look in my TRAVELLOGUE then. Hurry up! Lol! ;)
Never make fun of the horse in front of the station! This is the 'peerd van ome Loeks' and the stadjers (as Groningen's inhabitants are called) are very proud of it.
It is named after a jockey, Lucas (Loeks), whose horse died in 1910. The word 'peerd' is local dialect for horse.
Concerts, ballet, opera and other artistic performances, expositions too, visit theater 'd'Oosterpoort' and find out what's happening.
9724 DA Groningen
tel. 050 - 368 01 11
The other major theater is the 'Stadsschouwburg'. If you go there, pay special attention to the ceiling. When the theater was restored in 1983 the freshly (in more than one way) painted ceiling caused a great deal of controversy.
Tel. 050 - 312 56 45
GRONINGEN IS A CITY WITH MANY FACES.For the Dutch, Groningen is in the first place a student-city, but a rich history has also provided the city with historical buildings, courtyards and ofcourse 'Uncle Loek's Horse'. Modern architecture can also be found, and Groningen's sporty side reflects in the fact that it has been chosen 'world's best bicycling city.
Almshouses / quadrangles in Groningen.
Of all the old Dutch towns, Amsterdam, Leiden and Groningen possess the greatest number of almshouses. Due to these islands of tranquillity, the inner city of Groningen has remained a pleasant residential area. It is possible to make a walking tour past the Groningen Gasthuizen ( Almshouses ).