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Zeerijp is a small village some 22 kilometres to the east of Groningen.
Not much to see or do in this village, except a visit to the windmill and the impressive church.
At certain days a year one can go up on the vaults.
For more info on this church go to www.virtualtourist.com/OlafS or the website mentioned below (http://archimon.bravepages.com/groningen/provgroningen.html)
Updated Apr 4, 2011
In the Dutch province of Groningen ‘wierde’ is the name for an artificial dwelling hill. These man made hills gave the people a dry shelter during high tides and floods. The ‘wierde’ of Niehove is inhabited for more than 2200 years. Its original name was Suxwort (which means ‘Zuidwierde’ – South’wierde’) and it was an island for many years. Nowadays Niehove is located in the rural part of northwest Groningen.
To be honest we had never heard of Niehove before our visit to Groningen. But we saw some aerial photo’s and did read an article about the village. So we decided to take a look at this really ‘off the beaten path’ sight.
Niehove is located in the middle of the rural countryside of Groningen, completely flat and more or less empty.
But as many villages Niehove itself has also trees and is a green island in the landscape. We just walked around through the narrow streets to the ‘top’ of the hill in the middle of this settlement with its completely round shape. The church dates from the 13th century and now houses the information centre of Niehove.
Along the road around the church lies the ‘famous’ café ‘Eisseshof’, dating back to the 17th century.
Niehove is located northwest of the city of Groningen and north of the town of Zuidhorn.
The best way to visit Niehove is by car (or bicycle). See for directions: www.viamichelin.com
Zuidhorn is accessible by train (Groningen - leeuwarden), from there you have to take a bus and taxibus to reach Niehove. See www.9292ov.nl
Updated Nov 29, 2010
Eenrum is one of the ‘wierde’ villages in this part of the province of Groningen. A ‘wierde’ is an artificial man made dwelling hill, which gave the people a shelter during high tides and floods in the past. As usual the church lies on the highest point of the ‘wierde’.
During our bike trip we could see the high tower, the landmark of Eenrum, from quite a distance. It is an old church from the 13th century with a remarkable octagonal tower. We were too late to visit the interior of the church. Around the church are three water pumps, the red one with potable water.
Windmill ‘De Lelie’ (The Lily) is another remarkable building in Eenrum. It is located close to the ‘harbour’ of Eenrum. Next to the mill is a small mustard factory/museum.
Eenrum is located 15 km’s north of Groningen.
Updated Nov 29, 2010
Of course Pieterburen is famous (at least in the Netherlands) for its Seal Centre. But the village in the northern part of Groningen has more to offer and is a pleasant village, close to the Waddenzee.
Around the church (15th century) we walked through Netherland’s oldest botanic garden: Domies Toen. In the older days it was the garden of the reverend, now an interesting garden with lot of flowers, herbs, ponds and old trees. Not quite the scenery we expected in this flat surroundings (www.domiestoen.nl). I couldn’t make pictures, because we were unlucky with quite a lot of rain during our visit.
At the eastern end of the village is a windmill - De Vier Winden (Four Winds) - from 1846, which is often used on Sundays.
The village is also starting point of the longest walking path in the Netherlands (Pieterpad), with a distance of 494 km to the Sint Pietersberg (nearby Maastricht).
It is also possible to make so called ‘mud walks’ with low tide on the bottom of the Waddenzee. And if you are interested to learn more about this area, take a look in the ‘Waddencentrum’.
Pieterburen offers some restaurants (one on a boat) and accommodations and has shops and galleries along the ‘Hoofdstraat’.
Pieterburen is located about 25 km's north of the city of Groningen.
For directions see: www.viamichelin.com
Updated Nov 29, 2010
In the Netherlands the name of the village of Pieterburen is (almost) synonymous with seals, or even better with the ‘Zeehondencrèche Pieterburen’. Nowadays this Seal Rehabilition and Research Centre is renamed ‘Zeehondencrèche Lenie ‘t Hart’, as a tribute to the founder (and perhaps with a view to a coming move to another village).
In this centre sick, weakened or injured seals are taken care of and treated till they can be brought back to the sea. Beside this the people of the SRRC do a lot of research about the common and grey seals and their environment.
In the main building we saw the exhibition about the seals and the risk these animals encounter in the nearby Waddenzee. Here we also could take a look at several baby seals, which lost their mothers. They were sleeping and so nice to see.
Outside are several pools with groups of seals, which are recovering from their illness or injuries. These mammals were playing together or just resting and were so cute, just staring at you like a dog. Now understand why we Dutchies call them ‘zeehonden’ (= seadogs).
When walking around visitors have to stay rather far away from the pools and it is not easy to shoot a nice photo. Therefore we were very lucky when one of the SRRC workers made some nice shots of them.
The information centre has a shop with lots of ‘seal souvenirs’ and you can have a drink or a snack in ‘Paviljoen Zeehondenzicht’
The Seal Centre is open every day of the year from 9 AM until 6 PM.
Admission fee is € 4,50 (November 2010) per person.
Their site offers also very good information 'how to get' to Pieterburen.
Updated Nov 27, 2010
Fransum is one of the smallest villages we ever have seen. This ‘wierde’ (an artificial dwelling hill, which gave the people a dry shelter during high tides and floods) has just three buildings: a farmhouse, a house and a small Roman Church. It is surrounded just by meadows and agricultural grounds.
This church dates back from the beginning of the 13th century; in the 16th century the choir with its renaissance windows was added. Austerity and simplicity dominate the inside of the church. It has a pulpit made of brick and white plaster; his is unique for the Netherlands.
Old tombstones can be found on the floor.
In the last century the church has been restored a couple of times. Nowadays it is used for music performances.
I think this is one of the most quiet places where I ever found a church.
Fransum is located just north of Aduard. There is a turn off at Den Ham on road N983.
See also: www.viamichelin.com
Updated Nov 27, 2010
We approached the ‘borg’ Verhildersum as it should be, which means we used the long stately drive way, lined with lime trees. It felt if we were visiting ‘our’ 19th century rich and wealthy uncle and aunt, who were living in their ‘borg’.
A ‘borg’ is a kind of fortified mansion, surrounded by one or more moats, to defence the inhabitants from intruders. Borg Verhildersum is one of the 15 remaining ‘borgen’ in the province of Groningen from the 110 which existed in the older days. It was inhabited till 1953 when it became a museum.
Verhildersum is located in an almost perfect setting with lots of old trees, two moats around the house and gardens. The mansion itself is surrounded by beautiful gardens with some bronze statues. The main house is decorated with 19th century furniture and looking around we felt stepping back in time.
In the former coach house is a shop with items about Verhildersum, but also jams, soft drinks, apple spread made from fruit from the ‘borg’. Here is also a small museum with varying expositions.
On walking distance (along the orchard and some old cattle and horse breeds) is a Farmhouse Museum, which belongs also to the ‘borg’.
Verhildersum was an absolutely unexpected gem and one of the most beautiful sights in the Netherlands we have ever seen; a perfect combination of nature, history and culture.
For opening hours and admission fee: see website.
Directions: just east of the village of Leens in northwest Groningen; see: www.viamichelin.com
Updated Nov 25, 2010
The first thing we noticed just after entering the village of Ezinge was the local pub (‘bruine kroeg’ as we say in Dutch), Café De Brug. It is a typical Dutch pub with a billiard table and outside a big terrace for visitors. Very pleasant service and a damned good home made apple pie.
At the pub the main street of Ezinge - de Torenstraat - starts and has some shops, a small Tourist Information Centre and ‘Museum Wierdenland’. This street is climbing bit by bit to the church, located on the highest point of the ‘wierde’. A ‘wierde’ is an artificial man made dwelling hill, which gave the people of Ezinge a dry shelter during high tides and floods in the former days. The whole village was built on this largest ‘wierde’ of the province of Groningen. For a nice aerial view of Ezinge take a look at: http://www.bouwman.com/bouwman/Family5/Ezinge.html
This church is another gem in the rural countryside of Groningen. It dates back to the 13th century and has a detached tower. The interior is sober and simple, but impressive with a beautiful decorated pulpit. From the entrance of the church we had a great view of the meadows and fields and we got a very good impression of the height of the ‘wierde’.
Ezinge is located about 15 km's northwest of Groningen.
Updated Nov 25, 2010
Although the first fortress of Bourtange dates back till 1580, when Prince William of Orange ordered to build the fortress along the road from Groningen to Hannover. It played an important role in the Eighty Years' War between the ‘Netherlands and the Spanish occupiers. Later the fortress was extended till it reached its maximum size in 1742.
The fortress was dismantled in 1851and became more or less a normal rural village, but around 1960 people left, shops were closed and there was almost nothing left of the fortress. On that moment the municipality of Vlagtwedde decided to rebuild the fortress to its state of 1742.
Next to the car park is the Information Centre, which provides general information about Bourtange. We bought a map of the fortress (€ 1,50) and got also a brochure. If you are interested to visit one or more museums you have to buy your ticket in this centre.
Visitors have to walk to the village and on our way we had the first views of the impressive fortifications, moats and earthen walls. Through a wooden bridge and a gate we entered ‘the year 1742’. The village is really well restored and it is nice to walk between houses, barracks, cannons, old horse mill, to take look at the mill’s bastion or to see the ‘secreets’ (more or less open air toilets above the moats). The five museums tell more about the history, restoration and life in Bourtange.
Bourtange is also a normal village with people who have their houses here. The central square is lined with (tourist) shops and two restaurants. It is nice to sit in the shadow of old trees and having a coffee or lunch.
Fortress: every day and free of admission
March 15 - October 31, every day: 10.00 - 17.00 hours
November 1 - March 15, Saturday and Sunday: 12.00 - 17.00 hours
Admission € 5,50 (2009)
(see website for exact dates)
In the south eastern part of Groningen, nearby the Dutch-German border.
Updated Aug 10, 2010
A small manor in a breathtaking landscape.
The manor itself is just nice to have a look at yet it is situated at the Reitdiep river close to some old sluices (Aduarderzijlen), I have added a link to my page on the sluices here below.
Updated Feb 24, 2010
Martini Hotel Groningen
4 Reviews and 30 Opinions large,ish hotel warm greeting secure parking (vital for motorcycles nice bar