Tourist’s guide to Groningen – a student city in the Netherlands

The city of Groningen is located in the north of Holland. This is a relatively small town, but it is the largest administrative and cultural center of the Northern Netherlands. Tourists are interested in well-preserved ancient architecture and many attractions. Groningen has its own interesting features: it is called the city of students, as well as the international capital of cyclists.

City Groningen

General information

Groningen (Netherlands) was first mentioned in chronicles almost 1000 years ago. By the 13th century, it was already a large trading city with impregnable fortress walls. The city has managed to preserve its ancient architecture to this day, despite the many wars that it has survived.

Groningen historical plan, 1652

The historical center has preserved many buildings of the XV-XVII centuries, including the famous University of Groningen, founded in 1614. The university has about 200 thousand graduates, including two Nobel laureates, the first female professor in Holland, and the president of the Central European Bank. Now in Groningen every fourth resident is a university student.

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Groningen is the seventh most populated city in the Netherlands, with about 200 thousand inhabitants. It covers an area of ​​83 km², and although it is located far from the sea shore, there is no shortage of sea here. In summer, citizens and guests of Groningen can enjoy the river, canal and lake, where you can sunbathe on the beaches and go boating, kayaking and pleasure boats.

Bicycle main transport Groningen

About 60% of the vehicles on the streets of Groningen are bicycles, and the entire transport infrastructure of the city is adapted specifically to the needs of cyclists. Tourists who share the love of Groningen for this type of transport can use a bicycle rental and experience all the advantages of this method of transportation.

Air temperature in Groningen

The climate, like the whole of Holland, Groningen has a mild, with long, non-hot summers and mostly “positive” winters. You can come here all year round, each season has its advantages.

In summer, there are many different mass events, the most popular of which is the Eurosonic Music Festival, which brings together musicians and music lovers from all over Europe.

Attractions and entertainment

Groningen is a cozy city filled with the atmosphere of old Holland, where you can get the most out of it, just walking along the old streets and relaxing in shady squares in which every meter of land is lovingly routine. But not only its atmosphere and coziness is attractive to Groningen, its sights deserve no less attention.

At the Museum of the University of Groningen
University of Groningen Museum

Among the attractions there are many museums: the Groninger Museum, the North Sea, the Museum of Tobacco, Potato, Graphics, Comics, the Anthropological Museum of the University of Groningen.

Among the attractions of Groningen and interesting natural sites – numerous parks, Lake Paterswoldsemeer. Lovers of outdoor recreation can go fishing, swimming, boating, having a picnic or barbecue. You can go on an excursion to the existing windmill on the lake and take part in the process of making bread.

Groninger Museum

Opposite the Groningen railway station, on the banks of the canal, the original buildings of the Groningen Museum rise. This architectural complex was built in 1994 by an international group of famous architects. It includes three pavilions: one in the form of a low silver cylinder, the other in the form of a tall yellow parallelepiped, the third in a fantasy form, made in the style of deconstructivism. A bridge for pedestrians and cyclists was built from the museum through the canal, leading to the railway station and the city center.

Groninger Museum

Groninger Museum is a landmark that attracts not only with its unusual appearance, but also with its content. This is one of the best art museums in Holland. In its bright spacious halls you can find paintings of the old Dutch school, however, the vast majority of the exposition is works of modern art: painting, graphics, sculpture and installations by artists from many countries of the world.

Paintings at the Groninger Museum

Lovers of contemporary art will find here a lot of interesting things. But those who are indifferent to modern art should not ignore this attraction, because the Groninger Museum constantly hosts art exhibitions of various subjects.

  • Opening hours: Tuesday-Sunday –10-17, Monday – day off.
  • Ticket price – € 13.
  • Address: Museumeiland 1, 9711 ME Groningen, Netherlands.
Garden (Prinsenhof Gardens)

In the center of Groningen is another attraction characteristic of Holland, where every piece of land is highly valued and nurtured. This is the Prinsenhof Gardens – a small garden at the former bishop’s residence, which has now become one of the best hotels in the city. Members of the royal family of Holland stay at this hotel during their visits to Groningen.

Garden Prinsenhof Gardens

According to guest reviews of Groningen, the Prinsenhof Garden is a true masterpiece of garden art. He is impeccably groomed and drowns in flowers. Labyrinths from a perfectly trimmed shrub, arched tunnels twined with evergreen climbing plants, an abundance of rose bushes and flower beds with flowers that match the season – all this delights and pacifies.

Here you can relax in silence from the bustle of the city. Tables and chairs are set right on the standard trimmed green lawn. In the kiosk located here you can buy coffee or herbal tea with a popular dessert in the Netherlands – the famous apple pie with whipped cream. Often there are held creative meetings with artists of the Netherlands, poetry evenings.

Top view of the Prinsenhof Gardens

Despite the small size and exclusivity of the kindergarten, rest in it is accessible to everyone. This is a favorite place to spend time with locals and visitors alike.

  • Opening hours: Saturday-Sunday – 10-18.
  • Free admission.
  • Address: Prinsenhof, Groningen, Netherlands.
Martini Tower

One of the interesting sights of Groningen recommended for visiting all guests of the Netherlands is Martinitoren. This tower is the bell tower of St. Martin’s Cathedral, located in the center of the market square. Her spire rises to a height of 97 m and is the highest in the city. The record height, together with the frequent storms and thunderstorms characteristic of these places, played a cruel joke with the Martini Tower – during its existence, it became the target of lightning and fire three times.

Martinitoren Tower

The original version of the thirty-meter-tall tower was erected from tufa in the 13th century, but soon after a lightning strike the building burned down. After a hundred and a half years, Martinitoren was rebuilt, increasing its height by 15 m, but it did not stand long, becoming a victim of lightning.

After 30 years, the Martin Tower was rebuilt, but after a hundred and a few years, the building was again damaged by fire. The culprits of the fire were residents who celebrated the liberation of the city from the Spaniards. Decorating the walls of the tower with joys for joys, they involuntarily caused a fire, and the upper part of the building burned down.

View from the Martinitoren tower

Only after 100 years, in the XVII century, the attraction was restored in the form that has survived to this day. At the base, the building has only 3 meters, a stone staircase inside leads to a height of 60 m, from where a magnificent panorama of the city opens. Like the Italian Leaning Tower of Pisa, Martinitoren has a slope. The deviation from the vertical is 60 cm.

Bells in the Martinitoren Tower

Going up, you can see the frescoes on the walls, preserved from the XVI century, as well as 62 unique old bells. Above the entrance door to the sights are portraits of three great people of the Netherlands who lived at different times in Groningen – St. Martinus, poet Burnlef and the medieval humanist Rudolf Agricola.

  • Opening hours: from May to October 11-17, from November to April 12-16.
  • Ticket price: € 3.
  • Address: Martinikerkhof 1, 9712 JG Groningen, Netherlands.
Aa Church (Der Aa-kerk)

In the center of Groningen, surrounded by old streets with numerous cafes and souvenir shops, is one of the oldest sights of Holland – Aa Church. It attracts attention from afar with its spiky clock tower.

Church Der Aa-kerk

The church got its name from the river Aa, near which it was built. Initially, it was a chapel in honor of Our Lady and the patron saint of fishermen St. Nicholas. In the middle of the XIII century, it became one of the two central religious buildings of the city, uniting parishioners around itself.

Exhibition in the church Der Aa-kerk

Due to the destruction associated with wars, the events of the Reformation and the natural elements, the church of Aa has repeatedly changed its appearance. Towards the end of the 15th century, Der Aa-kerk acquired the look in which this attraction exists now – a brick building in the Gothic style with lancet windows and a tall turret.

Aa Church often hosts exhibitions, concerts, and other events during which it opens to the public. An old acting organ has been preserved from the interior.

Attraction address: Akerkhof 2, 9711 JB Groningen, Netherlands.


3 * hotel Hotel Schimmelpenninck Huys
Hotel Schimmelpenninck Huys

There are usually no problems with living in Groningen, but if you want to save money, it is better to book accommodation in advance in the summer. The cost of living depends on the area of ​​the hotel and the season.

The price for a double room in summer at the hotel is 3 * – from € 75 / day, 4 * – from € 80-100 / day. Apartments in the suburbs can be found from € 75 / day for 4 people, in the city – at about the price of a hotel room – € 80-100 / day for two.

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Dinner at Brasserie Groen Restaurant
Brasserie groen

In Groningen, catering facilities are available in sufficient quantities, with different cuisines and price levels.

  • The cheapest thing will cost lunch at a fast food restaurant – € 14-15 for two.
  • In an inexpensive restaurant, a couple’s lunch will cost € 30.
  • The mid-range restaurant is around € 55.

How to get to Groningen from Amsterdam

Amsterdam Central Station
Amsterdam train station

There is a train connection between Amsterdam and Groningen.

Trains to Groningen depart from Amsterdam Central Station. You can get to Groningen either by direct train, which runs once a day, or with a change at the Almere Centrum station, trains to which follow at intervals of 0.5-1 hours. Travel time by direct train is 2h7min, through Almere Centrum — 2h29min. Tickets cost € 25-30.

Bus from Sloterdijk Station

A bus ride will cost less – € 7-10. Once a day, bus number 44 leaves from the Amsterdam bus station. And about 10 times a day there goes route 075 from the Amsterdam Sloterdijk stop, which can be reached from Amsterdam, Dam by tram 14, line 14. The travel time to Groningen is from 2h.10min to 2h.30min.

You can find out the current fares and purchase a ticket at

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Prices on the page are for May 2018.

The city of Groningen is worth visiting at least once, and with its beauty and unique atmosphere it will be remembered forever, causing a desire to come here again.

Video: Aerial view of the city and the University of Groningen.

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