Fun things to do in Groningen

  • Martini church, Groningen
    Martini church, Groningen
    by ATLC
  • Martini church, Groningen
    Martini church, Groningen
    by ATLC
  • Martini church, Groningen
    Martini church, Groningen
    by ATLC

Most Viewed Things to Do in Groningen

  • vtveen's Profile Photo

    St. Anthony Gasthuis – one of these hidden gems

    by vtveen Updated Nov 25, 2010

    3.5 out of 5 starsHelpfulness

    Groningen still has about 30 ‘almshouses’ and they are literal and figurative hidden gems. Literal because these almshouses can be found behind a gate or door and figurative because these sites are oasis of quietness in the middle of the city life.

    During our city walk in Groningen we visited a couple, among them the St. Anthony Gasthuis. It was founded in 1517 by the city government just outside the city walls, because it was also used by plaque victims.
    Later on it became also a lunatic asylum and the citizens of Groningen paid to take a look at these poor people (just like the tourists do – without paying – nowadays).
    After being a guesthouse for elderly people the houses now can be rented by anybody.

    Behind the remarkable gate dating back to the year of 1644 is the main court, but there are two smaller ones which can be visited.

    Groningen: St. Anthony Gasthuis - entrance gate St. Anthony Gasthuis: view from the gate St. Anthony Gasthuis - houses St. Anthony Gasthuis - houses
    Related to:
    • Historical Travel
    • Architecture

    Was this review helpful?

  • Teunvanwijk's Profile Photo

    Visit National Park Eems-Dollard Wadden Sea

    by Teunvanwijk Updated Aug 9, 2007

    2.5 out of 5 starsHelpfulness

    Stay at camping site Ekenstein in the village Appingedam, from there it's very nice to do some day trips at the Groningen coast line.
    Here you can learn much about seawater, the dikes, and the pumpsystems to keep the inland dry. You can see fish traps , how to get fish from the sea in the inland ( young ales )
    Here you can do some boat trips to the islands in the Wadden Sea, we were lucky to see some seals.
    Approx. 10 km from city Delfzijl is the new under construction Harbour Eemshaven. From 2011 onwards big 300m long liquidgas boats will dock here to empty the LNG. From here it's divided over western Europe. Big power plants are working already. Bad for the environment I think.
    Groningen people are very friendly, they speak english.

    A seal in the Wadden Sea during a boat trip Caravan at camping Ekenstein in Appingedam Eems-Dollard and Wadden Sea water protection dike View across 10km Wadden Sea, powerplant Eemshaven Typical North-Netherlands, no hills, many canals
    Related to:
    • National/State Park
    • Camping
    • Cycling

    Was this review helpful?

  • vtveen's Profile Photo

    Railway Station – fantastic architecture

    by vtveen Written Jul 3, 2007

    3.5 out of 5 starsHelpfulness

    Coming from the city centre the main building of the Railway Station of Groningen is a little bit hidden behind a huge bicycle shed, part of the restored square. But once we stood in front of the building we were surprised by its beauty, although a little bit dark.

    This is the third station on this spot and was designed by architect L. Gosschalk and built between 1893 and 1896; it is a mixture between Renaissance and Jugendstil.

    We entered the main hall through the (not impressive) doors and were really amazed about the interior. This hall, lately restored in 1999, has a fantastic colourful ceiling, very nice tiled walls and leaded windows. It gives the feeling of travelling in the nineteenth century.

    When travelling by train to Groningen you really shouldn’t miss this main hall. Otherwise walk from the city centre to this railway station, which is considered to be one of the most beautiful of the Netherlands.

    Groningen: Railway Station Groningen: Railway Station Groningen: Railway Station - ceiling Groningen: Railway Station - tiled walls Groningen: Railway Station - leaded windows
    Related to:
    • Architecture

    Was this review helpful?

  • vtveen's Profile Photo

    Have a pee against a work of art ...

    by vtveen Updated Jul 3, 2007

    3.5 out of 5 starsHelpfulness

    ... it is possible in Groningen. Pub-crawlers, walkers or just ‘stadjers’ who have to go badly, can have a pee against a work of art.

    Along the ‘Kleine der A’ an artistic urinal has been designed by the famous Dutch architect Rem Koolhaas. This ‘building’ is made of milk glass, which is decorated with photos of Erwin Olaf.

    Of course I couldn’t resist this opportunity ...

    Was this review helpful?

  • vtveen's Profile Photo

    Pepergasthuis – one of the almshouses

    by vtveen Written Jul 3, 2007

    3.5 out of 5 starsHelpfulness

    Although not as well known as other Dutch cities, Groningen has about 30 so called almshouses. Formerly poor, ill or elderly people were living in these houses. Nowadays they are oasis of quietness in the middle of the hustle and bustle of the city centre and very often hidden behind a gate and walls.

    The ‘Pepergasthuis’ is one of the oldest almshouses in Groningen and was founded in the year of 1405. In the beginning it was a real guesthouse for pilgrims visiting a relic of John the Baptist, which was kept in the ‘Martinikerk’. In 1482 a chapel was added to the guesthouse; this is still in use for services on Sunday.

    After the reformation (1594) the building got a change of use and elderly citizens of Groningen (so called ‘stadjers’) could buy a place in the guesthouse and got housing and nursing till they died. Nowadays there are just rented houses and it is rather popular to live in one of these ‘modern almshouses’.

    When we entered the ‘Pepergasthuis’ (or officially ‘Geertruidsgasthuis’) it was just if we stepped into a different world: so quiet, so serene. And we could imagine why people like to live here.

    Groningen: Pepergasthuis - courtyard Pepergasthuis - houses Pepergasthuis - quiet and serene Pepergasthuis- houses Pepergasthuis - really old
    Related to:
    • Architecture
    • Historical Travel

    Was this review helpful?

  • vtveen's Profile Photo

    Aletta Jacobs, a special Dutch woman

    by vtveen Written Jul 3, 2007

    3.5 out of 5 starsHelpfulness

    Coming from the ‘Academiegebouw’ just around the corner (turn to the right) you will find ‘De Harmonie’. In front of this former association building stands the statue/bust of Aletta Jacobs.

    Aletta Jacobs was a very special Dutch woman, born in 1854: she was the first woman at the H.B.S. (a kind of Dutch High School), the first woman to study at the university (of Groningen), the first lady doctor in the Netherlands and the first woman who took her doctoral degree in 1879.

    The ‘Harmonie’ nowadays is also part of the university of Groningen.

    Groningen: bust of Aletta Jacobs Bust of Aletta Jacobs in front of the Harmonie
    Related to:
    • Arts and Culture

    Was this review helpful?

  • vtveen's Profile Photo

    Academiegebouw of the University

    by vtveen Updated Jul 2, 2007

    3.5 out of 5 starsHelpfulness

    Groningen has a famous university and with about 22.500 students it is a real ‘student city’. Unlike many other universities the buildings are dispersed from the historic city centre to the outskirts.

    The main building of the University of Groningen - the Academiegebouw (Academic Building) - however can be found in the city centre. In its attractive auditorium official ceremonies take place: orations, defences of doctoral theses and the inauguration of the new academic year.
    The present building was inaugurated in 1909 and is still on the same site as the first university of Groningen, which dates back to 1614 and was founded in the buildings of a monastery.

    Just opposite the beautiful Academiegebouw is the more or less ‘ugly’ modern library of the university. With these two important buildings (and some others nearby) you can imagine the coming and going of students. And being in the Netherlands and in a historical city centre most of them use a bike. I think we have never seen so many bikes together as in front of the Academiegebouw.

    It is possible to take a look inside of the ‘Academiegebouw’ with its beautiful auditorium.
    Better first contact the university (communicatie@rug.nl) or ask the caretaker service in the building.

    Groningen: Academiegebouw Groningen: Academiegebouw Academiegebouw - bikes everywhere Academiegebouw - students having a break
    Related to:
    • Architecture

    Was this review helpful?

  • vtveen's Profile Photo

    Der Aa-kerk - with the yellow coloured tower

    by vtveen Written Jul 1, 2007

    3.5 out of 5 starsHelpfulness

    This church is together with the ‘Martinikerk’ the second medieval church in Groningen. Although its tower with 76 metres isn’t as high as the ‘Martinitoren’ it can be seen almost from every place in town. Especially through the remarkable yellow colours of the octagonal wooden uppermost part of the tower.
    The church is located close to the ‘Drentsche AA’ – part of the city canals – and the ‘Vismarkt’ (Fish Market). On market day’s booths of flowers vendors are put down more or less against the walls of the church.

    Der Aa-kerk isn’t used for services since a couple of years. It is now owned by a foundation and they rent the building for all kind of (cultural) activities. Therefore the church can only be visited during expositions, special occasions or with a guided tour by appointment (info@aakerk.nl) The tower can not be visited at all.

    The first little Roman chapel on this spot was already built in 13th century and was enlarged in the 15th century to a Gothic cross basilica. The church was dedicated to the Virgin Mary and St Nicholas, patron saint of sailors and traders; located close to the harbour and the River Aa quite logical.
    The first four centuries the church was Roman Catholic, but after the Reformation in the Netherlands it changed into a Protestant church. But in the seventies of the last century the church was closed for services and after a radically restoration the church is owned by a foundation.

    Groningen: Der Aa-kerk Der Aa-kerk: close to the market Der Aa-kerk: octagonal yellow coloured tower
    Related to:
    • Architecture
    • Historical Travel

    Was this review helpful?

  • vtveen's Profile Photo

    Goudkantoor – Gold office

    by vtveen Written Jul 1, 2007

    3.5 out of 5 starsHelpfulness

    Just behind the Town Hall on the Grote Markt is a complex of modern buildings with shops, offices and homes. In the middle of this modern part of the city stands the ‘Goudkantoor’ (Gold Office); a café restaurant with a nice terrace for a drink, lunch of dinner. If you visit, don’t stay on the terrace, but take also a look inside the building with its walls, which are decorated with original 17th century motifs.

    It is quite a remarkable historical building between all these modern glass, brick and concrete buildings. There are some nice (old) pictures of the ‘Goudkantoor’ on their Dutch website (you have to click on ‘Historie’).

    The ‘Goudkantoor’was built in 1635 and then was named ‘Collectehuis’. It was the tax office for Groningen and surrounding area (the so called Ommelanden). Between 1814 and 1887 silver and gold pieces were tested and got a mark. Later it became various functions: maritime museum, tourist information centre and information centre of the city.

    Groningen: 'Goudkantoor'

    Was this review helpful?

  • vtveen's Profile Photo

    Grote Markt

    by vtveen Written Jul 1, 2007

    3.5 out of 5 starsHelpfulness

    The ‘Grote Markt’ (Big Market) is the main square and natural city centre of Groningen. It was one of the most beautiful squares in the Netherlands, but at the end of World War II during the liberation of the town a lot of the surrounding historical buildings were destroyed.

    To be honest nowadays it is quite a sorry sight. The buildings don’t fit to each other; next to the impressive old Martinitoren are meaningless modern buildings with shops and commercial offices (including the Tourist Information Centre), one side of the square does have its original historical buildings (most of them are restaurants and pubs) and on the west side is the town hall, a neo classical building from 1810.

    The ‘Grote Markt’ is still an important market, where vendors have their market stalls and sell their goods four days a week: Tuesday, Thursday, Friday and Saturday. People like these markets and you will see a lot of ‘Stadjers’ (that is how inhabitants of Groningen call themselves) buying food, flowers, clothing and much more.

    Groningen: Grote Markt with town hall

    Was this review helpful?

  • vtveen's Profile Photo

    Martinikerkhof – the former graveyard of the city

    by vtveen Written Jun 30, 2007

    3.5 out of 5 starsHelpfulness

    The 'Martinikerkhof' is situated just behind the 'Martinikerk'. ‘Kerkhof’ means graveyard and indeed this was the place were the inhabitants of Groningen buried their deceased’s. It was used as graveyard till 1837. In the 20th century it was a car park, but nowadays a nice small peaceful city park, just a stone’s throw away from the hustle and bustle of the city.

    Close to the Martinitoren is the war memorial of the city; ‘Sint Joris met de Draak. The park is surrounded by some nice old buildings like the House of Province and the Prinsenhof, which was the residence of the Frisian Stadtholders in the middle ages.

    Next to the Prinsenhof is the Gardepoort. This gate is the oldest (from 1639) and one of the few remaining gates of the city and leaded the guards to the former stables.

    Groningen: Martinikerkhof (with Martini Tower) Groningen: Martinikerkhof - Gardepoort
    Related to:
    • Architecture
    • Historical Travel

    Was this review helpful?

  • Emile72's Profile Photo

    University of Groningen

    by Emile72 Written Apr 7, 2005

    The old buildings of the university of Groningen are located right behind the Groote Markt (2 minute walk max) and it is worthwhile to check out the nice buildings when you are in Groningen. See picture.

    University
    Related to:
    • Arts and Culture

    Was this review helpful?

  • Emile72's Profile Photo

    Calory burning and a great view

    by Emile72 Written Apr 7, 2005

    2.5 out of 5 starsHelpfulness

    When I was a student in Groningen, some of my law classes were held in the Martini church. Now I go to the Martini tower in order to enjoy the views of the city. I would recommend going to the top of the tower on a sunny day. No elevator, so you have to suffer a bit and climb the stairs. But it is definately worth it.

    Opening times:
    1 april - 1 november: 11.00 - 17.00
    1 november tot 1 april: 12.00 - 16.00

    Entrance fees:
    Adults: Euro 2,80
    Kids 0-12 : Euro 1,80

    Martini Tower
    Related to:
    • Arts and Culture

    Was this review helpful?

  • Sprucebeer's Profile Photo

    Grote Markt

    by Sprucebeer Written Jan 30, 2005

    2.5 out of 5 starsHelpfulness

    Like every town, Groningen has it's main square, the Grote Markt. There you will find the tourist information office, vendors on the market square, restaurants and pubs. You will also find the Stadhuis (Town Hall), the Waagstraat complex and of course the towering Martinitoren and its adjacent Church.

    Stadhuis - Groningen
    Related to:
    • Family Travel
    • Historical Travel
    • Budget Travel

    Was this review helpful?

  • dromero's Profile Photo

    Queen's Day

    by dromero Written Aug 27, 2004

    Queen's day was in April in 2004. It was a HUGE party in groningen's city square. A lot of beer, concert's and what seemed like a girl/guy ratio of 4:1 (in favor of the guys). I "heard" it's because of the women's colleges around the area. Anyway, Drei Swesters (3 sisters) is an awesome club with what seems like 2 million different clubs inside itself- Deffinately a good time... unless there's a fire (the place is so big it's even hard to find your way out of).

    P.S. Wear orange on queen's day

    Was this review helpful?

Groningen Hotels

See all 27 Hotels in Groningen

Latest Groningen Hotel Reviews

Hampshire Hotel - Groningen
Great (4.0 out of 5.0) 1 Review
Hotel Schimmelpenninck Huys
1 Review
Best Western Hotel Stadskanaal
Great (4.0 out of 5.0) 1 Review
Simplon Youthhotel
Great (4.0 out of 5.0) 4 Reviews
Martini Hotel
Excellent (4.5 out of 5.0) 2 Reviews
Hotel De Doelen
1 Review
NH Groningen
Very Good (3.5 out of 5.0) 2 Reviews
NH Hotel De Ville
Best (5.0 out of 5.0) 1 Review
Eden Cityhotel
Good (3.0 out of 5.0) 2 Reviews
Hampshire Hotel - Plaza Groningen
Good (3.0 out of 5.0) 1 Review

Instant Answers: Groningen

Get an instant answer from local experts and frequent travelers

34 travelers online now

Comments

Groningen Things to Do

Travel tips and advice posted by real travelers and Groningen locals.
Map of Groningen