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The biggest city in the North of The Netherlands is a real student city, home to the University of Groningen (Rijksuniversiteit Groningen) and to the Hanze University of Applied Sciences. The number of students in the city is just shy of 55,000, making up a third of the entire population. Once you get off the bus, you should definitely get a bike – why? Because Groningen has the clearest air of all the cities in The Netherlands and also has the most amount of bikes! It’s also easier to cruise around the tiny streets and teeny canals on wheels - You can feel like a real local. This student city is full of life, especially once the academic year starts off. The streets fill up with enthusiastic locals as well as internationals, who study during the day but hit the city at night. Our bus travelers definitely won’t be disappointed when looking for a good night out in this Dutch city, but the ones seeking some relaxation can also enjoy their visit, for instance by visiting Groningen’s most well-known park, the ’Noorderplantsoen’, or the even bigger ’Stadspark’.
Groningen is sometimes referred to as ’Martinistad’, referring to its famous ’Martinitoren’. It is the highest church tower in the city, which is always open to visitors – this is definitely the place to take a good panoramic picture! After you experience the wonderful view, head back to sea level, walk by the canals and take a look at the typical Dutch boat houses. If you like pancakes – and let’s face it, who doesn’t -, then you should pay a visit to the Pancake Ship ('t Pannekoekschip) that serves all different types of sweet and salty treats. You can also find a festival in Groningen at various times of the year. Just to mention the two biggest, the Eurosonic Noorderslag is a music festival and conference venue held every January, while the Noorderzon Performing Arts Festival is organized every August.
The city of Groningen offers numerous cultural as well as culinary experiences for its visitors. Weekly flea markets, food-truck festivals, hype pop-up stores, small cafés, and fancy restaurants can all be found in this city. The ’Groninger Museum’ is interesting for multiple reasons: it exhibits contemporary and modern artefacts and installations in a building that is actually regarded as a piece of art itself. The museum consists of three sections. It was built at the end of the 19th century and experts said it couldn’t be built after seeing the initial design – but somehow it still worked out, it was only very ahead of its time! This Northern city offers a lot of finely tuned live music as well. Groningen’s club ’Vera’ is a major pop-culture hub, where many world famous bands have played, such as U2, Nirvana, or The White Stripes. Whether staying on the streets, in a museum or a club, the open Dutch culture and hospitality will warm your heart!
Any worthwhile student city has a proper nightlife and so does Groningen! You can start your night at the ’Drie Gezusters’, one of the city’s most popular places. The spectacular interior design with high ceilings and vintage furniture gives you a classy atmosphere for dinner, while other parts of the building hold a typical Dutch character - perfect for having a beer. Afterwards, you should walk down Poelestraat, the real nightlife street of Groningen. Here you will find pubs, bars, casinos, restaurants, live jazz concerts or even pool tables. The club ’Warhol’ plays indie and pop records, while in ’Shooters’ many different shots await you. In case you happen to be a fan of cocktails, ’Mr. Mofongo’s’ is the perfect place – try out their home-brewed gin, it is exceptional! The Dutch are very famous for their great taste in electronic music, so keeping an eye on the line-up of ’Paradigm’ is also worth a shot.
The Dutch celebrate King’s Day on 27th April every year – which really is the royal Willem Alexander’s birthday. On this day the whole country wears orange, sings, drinks, and is just happy to be Dutch. Groningen goes bananas on this day of the year as well, so try to time your bus trip for the end of April! Also, did you know that the second biggest improv comedy group of The Netherlands is based in Groningen? ’Stranger things have happened’ tours the country every summer, but during the year you can also easily catch one of their shows either in the ’Silo’ or Monday evenings in the Irish pub ’O'Ceallaighs’.
Groningen is actually only 40 kms away from the sea. If you decide to take a daytrip to take a look at the cold waves of the North Sea, visit the seal sanctuary (’Zeehondencrèche Pieterburen’) or one of the many islands. Distance isn’t really an issue should you decide to go to the South of the country, so taking a bus to Amsterdam, Rotterdam, or The Hague will also only take you a couple of hours. These Dutch cities really have their own style, offering special sights for their visitors. Otherwise flixing over to Hamburg, Brussels or Cologne is also possible in less than a day!
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