Looking at the map of the Netherlands, Groningen seems a long way from anywhere. Only a handful of travellers venture to the country’s northeast corner and very few have written about this city. Despite its location, “boring” is definitely not a word to describe this buzzy, youthful city.
Groningen’s history dates back to more than 950 years ago as a small settlement in the northern part of the Netherlands. When trade bloomed in the 13th century, it gradually became a regional power, having an influence on the surrounding lands as well as the entire Friesland. During the Golden Time, Groningen’s centre was even comparable to Amsterdam: entirely ringed by canals and filled with numerous attractive old houses, intimate squares and beautiful churches.
Just a stone’s throw away from the Central Station, the floating Groningen Museum with its post-modernist design easily captures the attention of visitors. Opened in 1884 and relocated to the current building in 1994, the museum exhibits works of local, national, and international artists, most of which are modern and abstract art.
On the city outskirt, a newly built yacht haven, where bright colour houses in Scandinavian design lined up, is poster perfect. The city also offers countless options for going out, including restaurants, cinemas, bars, and clubs. Don’t be afraid if you are the only tourist in town because gezelligheid (togetherness, cosiness or camaraderie) stands for the Dutch, and thus they might not let you even sit alone!
For me, this is an adventure full of surprises. It really came out of the blue, we travelled spontaneously without any plan or preparation. I didn’t even know what I should see beforehand, including the masterpiece in the Groningen Central Station.
So it seems that the best things in life are unexpected because there was no expectation.