Colourful houses in Reitdiephaven

Groningen: An Unexpected Journey

Tiếng Việt

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.

Groningen Canal Ring

Groningen Museum

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.

Groningen Museum
Inside the Groningen Museum

Reitdiephaven

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!

Reitdiephaven
Sunset at Reitdiephaven

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.

Eli Khamarov

Groningen Central Station
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56 thoughts on “Groningen: An Unexpected Journey”

  1. That looks so cute! I’ll try to check it out when I’m in the Netherlands in a week 😀

    1. Thank you! I have heard that they have the light festival or light show along the canal ring during Christmas season Maybe you can check that out too 🙂

  2. Jolene – Sydney, Australia – Jolene is a banker by trade, a writer at heart, and is a contributor to Thought Catalog. You are welcome to peek into her adventures and reflections on films and life at "SoMuchToTellYou", her ultimate love affair with words.
    Jolene says:

    The station ceiling does seem awfully ornate!! Everywhere in Europe is like a canal city
    I also like how you translate things for your Vietnamese audience, that’s very considerate and I’m sure they fully appreciate your efforts!

    1. Thank you for your kind words! Actually, I got the needs of translation from my parents. They and some friends of them want to read more about the place rather than just looking at the photos. At first, I tried Google translate but it was totally incomprehensible 🙂

      1. Jolene – Sydney, Australia – Jolene is a banker by trade, a writer at heart, and is a contributor to Thought Catalog. You are welcome to peek into her adventures and reflections on films and life at "SoMuchToTellYou", her ultimate love affair with words.
        Jolene says:

        That’s really sweet! I’m terrible, the last thing on my mind when travelling is catering to the needs of my parents Agree about Google translate. At least it keeps both your English and mother tongue sharp!

  3. That seriously a travel hidden gem like no other. I often wondered why a certain gets to be so popular, when it times the popularity are not warranted, and those less-popular don’t get the praise they deserved. Ow well, at least you don’t get to wrestle with the crowds. 🙂

    1. That’s true. I think people prefer to follow mainstream rather than to explore by themselves. Like the snow village you shot, an incredible place but I guess very few know about its existence. But it is good for us, we don’t have to wait like 20 minutes to make a photo 🙂

  4. Those brightly colored, simply designed dockside houses are calling to me…to step out the front door, coffee in hand, right into your boat.

    I think I’ll day dream on that a bit.

    1. Unlike Amsterdam, it has only one big canal ring 🙂 And the streets are cleaner and does not have the odor of marijuana.

  5. Reitdiephaven is just beautiful! And the time of the day when you captured the photos of the area looks perfect with the winter sun shining on the colorful houses.

  6. Tanja – HI!I'm Tanja. I blog about my travels around Europe and my love for London. I'm a chocoholic who enjoys reading and planning new trips all the time. I've got two kids.
    Tanja says:

    It looks wonderful! happy 2017!

  7. PedroL – storytelling the world through travels & books http://www.worldwidepedrol.com http://instagram.com/worldwidepedrol
    pedrol says:

    woooowww!!! such lovely photos, amazing post! thanks for sharing! PedroL

  8. Roberta Pimentel – Norway – Thank you for stopping I appreciate your visit!I hope I can affects you with some good vibes and inspirations that can make your day even better! Cheers!
    Roberta Pimentel says:

    Amazing pictures! <3

  9. Frances Roxas – Naga City, Camarines Sur, Philippines – My name is Frances Roxas, a certified Bicolana - born and bred. I have a degree in Journalism but I did not pursue a career in writing since life offered me instead jobs in government service. I settled with what felt comfortable and secure instead of reaching for a higher goal that might have taken me on a completely different path. Eventually, I plan to write more and find more avenues to showcase my love for writing and for self expression. Every life is a journey and I believe that there is always an opportunity and the time to do what we love and what makes us happy.
    mybicolblog says:

    Wow, those bright colored houses are amazing! Such happy colors. Good job taking such amazing photos

      1. Siba_Photography – India – It's a Signature of My Creativity..... Emotions embedded with words and soaked with my Photography hope will definitely create an Life long Impression on You.
        Siba says:

  10. justbluedutch – Bavaria, Germany – Expat- lifestyle Blogger from the land of Lederhosen & Dirndls { based in Bavaria,Germany} A self-taught Aquarelle & Mixed Media visual artist.
    justbluedutch says:

    I didn’t know that this place exists in NL! I should show this post to my husband so we can visit this place next time we visit Holland. Your photos are so enticing, I love particularly the colorful houses. I mistaken the first photo as Amsterdam :-)))
    Great post once again Len!Thanks for the inspiration.

  11. Really enjoyed both the writing and the pictures.

  12. vinneve – I believe in this quote "Life is a JOURNEY, travel it well." Wherever we may end up so long as there is LOVE we will be happy!
    vinneve says:

    Hi it’s been awhile since I have been to your blog and glad I did tonight. Beautiful photos and I can’t remember where you lived when you started this blog?

  13. The photographs live up to the tag of unexpected beauty. They capture the colour, the traditional and the quirky architecture so well . Loved the post!

  14. Kelly MacKay – After a successful 13 years career as a professional female jockey. I now teach fitness to our Canadian Forces soldiers' at Canadian Forces Base Gage town, In Oromocto, New Brunswick. I love what I do. In my off time, I enjoy travel sometimes to exotic places ( recently to Kenya) most often within in my local province. I also enjoy photography both landscape and wildlife. I participate in camping hiking cycling, and I love to go off the regular tourist trail. I have an interest in, art, history, geology, natural history, bird watching. I love to read and write. I enjoy cooking Vegan meals.
    Kelly MacKay says:

    Great looking place

  15. Arundhati Basu – New Jersey, US – The great affair in my life is to travel. I count myself immensely fortunate that my partner shares this passion. We are a team that likes to spend time planning and plotting out places to go. Destination check, flights check, accommodation check, cheesy grins check. Off we go.
    Dippy Dotty Girl says:

    What a startling contrast Reitdiephaven makes to the rest of the historic architecture! 🙂

    1. Who said minimalism only contains neutral colours 😉 This place somehow reminds me of Burano. But it’s smaller in term of scale and the houses have a different style.

      1. Arundhati Basu – New Jersey, US – The great affair in my life is to travel. I count myself immensely fortunate that my partner shares this passion. We are a team that likes to spend time planning and plotting out places to go. Destination check, flights check, accommodation check, cheesy grins check. Off we go.
        Dippy Dotty Girl says:

        Oh it does. Though Burano still possibly reigns (in my books). 😉

  16. Bama – Jakarta, Indonesia – Based in Jakarta, always curious about the world, always fascinated by ancient temples, easily pleased by food.
    Bama says:

    Indeed, not that many tourists go to Groningen. I myself only became slightly interested in this Dutch city after one of my ex-coworkers told me how much she loved it for it was where she spent her college years.

  17. pattimoed – USA – digital nomad, writer, instructional designer, photographer, eLearning specialist, editor
    pattimoed says:

    Hi, Len. I’ve spent a bit of time in the Netherlands, but I’ve never traveled to G. You make a very convincing argument to go there!

  18. Love the way the sunlight shines on the colourful houses. Beautifully captured, Len. 🙂

    1. I was lucky with the weather. A few minutes ago, the sky was full of cloud 😛 The houses are pretty eye-catching, especially the orange one.

    1. You definitely should! It’s just 2 hours by bus from Amsterdam. By train is even faster. Thanks for visiting 🙂

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