© All Rights Reserved Herr Bert
Groningen is the capital city of the Dutch province of the same name. It is mainly known for its great student life, a big part of the population is made up by students, taking place around the big market square called "Grote Markt" and the "Vismarkt". On the Grote Markt you also find the most famous landmark of the Groningen, the Martinitoren. The center is dutch in the way that there are canals.
The 500-year-old Martini Tower is the main landmark in the city. It used to be possible to climb it but this has been suspended after a few suicides took place lately.
Although smaller than those in Amsterdam and Utrecht, Groningen has some canals and a one hour boat trip is something you should consider to see the historical buildings from a different perspective.
Groningen also has a good share of museums, the Groninger Museum being of the most impressive ones. It is just across the trainstation and the building just can't be missed, with striking architecture by Italian architect Mendini. The main trainstation is worth seeing itself as well by the way, with its 19th century architecture it is one of the most beautiful trainstation in the country.
Other museums include
In the second weekend on January, there is one of the biggest music conventions of Europe coming to Groningen. The days of the business people are filled with seminars at the Oosterpoort, but on thursday and friday evening there is music in a lot of cafés in the centere of Groningen. If you want to watch a couple of the upcoming European bands before they become big, this is the place to be. On saturday there is Noorderslag an evening at the Oosterpoort with only dutch bands. Tickets for both events are limited.
© All Rights Reserved Herr Bert
In 2013, the Dutch throne was passed on to King Willem-Alexander and what used to be Koninginnedag (Queen's Day) will from 2014 become Koningsdag (King's Day). The date will be changed to the 27th of April, which is the king's birthday. In 2014 however it will be on the 26th of April because the 27th falls on a Sunday. On this day the streets of almost every sizable town in the country come alive with activity.
Groningen weather is typical of what you get in the Netherlands: mild winters with rare snow, and reasonably warm summers. Generally though, both summer and winter are just a bit colder compared to places more to the south in the Netherlands, meaning temperatures around 20 °C during the day and around zero during the winter.
|Avg Max||4.4 °C||5 °C||8.6 °C||12.2 °C||17 °C||19.4 °C||21.4 °C||21.9 °C||18.2 °C||13.5 °C||8.4 °C||5.5 °C|
|Avg Min||-0.8 °C||-0.8 °C||1.2 °C||2.7 °C||6.5 °C||9.1 °C||11.3 °C||11.1 °C||8.8 °C||5.6 °C||2.5 °C||0.5 °C|
|Rainfall||69 mm||44.9 mm||61.3 mm||44.1 mm||57.5 mm||72.6 mm||73 mm||56.6 mm||71.8 mm||69.8 mm||78.1 mm||75 mm|
Groningen has international and domestic flights leaving from Groningen Airport Eelde, about 10 kilometres from the city centre. Destinations include Aberdeen, Antalya, Corfu, Dalaman, Faro, Heraklion, Kos, Las Palmas de Gran Canaria, Malaga, Palma de Mallorca, Rhodes and Tenerife.
Although Groningen is the northern most city in the country, train connections are fast and frequent with travelling times about 2 hours from both Utrecht and Amsterdam. Check the National Railways website for details.
From Groningen the national highway A28 runs south to Utrecht. Also the A7 is an important highway running from Bremen in Germany all the way to Amsterdam through the northern provinces of the Netherlands, crossing the famous Afsluitdijk, built to prevent floodings from the sea. If is a short route from the province of Friesland to North Holland, passing by Groningen.
Groningen is not the best city to drive around in with your car. Parkingspaces are limited and prices are pretty high. There is however the option to park your car at a so-called transferium. These are places where you can park your car, and continue to the innercity by public transport. There is one at Kardinge (N46), but also a little bit further away from the city in Haren (south along the A28), Hoogkerk (along the A7) and at Zernike there are transferiums.
There are several city buses connecting all neighbourhoods, all of them start at the Central Station. Qbuzz is the main operator for these buses.
If you stay in the centre of Groningen, it is easy enough to find your way on foot. As it is not a huge city, this is not a place where you will have blisters on your feet from walking.
As in many Dutch towns and cities Groningen is a perfect city for using a bicycle. The only pieces that go uphill are the bridges.
A lot of the restaurants can be found in the inner city, and most of them are located at or near the Grote Markt and the Vismarkt.
For most travellers the wagamama restaurants are well-known for providing good food for a reasonable price. Groningen has one at the Vismarkt.
Just like the restaurants, most bars and cafés can be found around the Grote Markt and the Vismarkt.
|Hampshire Hotel Plaza Groningen||Laan Corpus den Hoorn 300||Hotel||-|
|Hotel de Doelen||Grote Markt 36||Hotel||-|
|Budgett Hostels||Rademarkt 3-3a||Hostel||78|
|Hostel Pension Tivoli||GedempteZuiderdiep 67||Hostel||-|
Internet cafés are not as widespread as you would expect, but you can easily find one in the popular cities. Most hostels, hotels and camp sites have several computers, so you can keep connected with folk at home. Here is a list of internet cafés that could come in handy for travellers. Otherwise, most libraries have lots of computers and prices are around the €2-3 per hour range, although sometimes it can be even more expensive.
Wireless internet access using wifi is becoming more popular and is usually available at most hotels and increasingly at train stations. Also in trains (at least in most first class wagons, but also more and more in second class) and some buses you can use wifi. Finally, places like McDonald's and Starbucks have free wifi, and smaller individual business like cafés and restaurants are on the rise too offering these services. More often than not, these service tend to be free of charge, though there might be a limited time you can use the internet.
See also: International Telephone Calls
The country code for the Netherlands is 31. The outbound international prefix is 00. The general emergency number is 112, like many other countries.
0800 numbers are toll-free and for 09xx numbers are charged at premium rates. Mobile phones have numbers in the 06 range, and calls to cell phones are also priced at higher rates.
From internet cafés, it is also usually possible to make long distance international calls. Like in other countries, telephone booths have almost disappeared, though some are still found around public transport stations, where you can use a few coins to make calls. It is only recommended for local calls.
The cellular phone network in the Netherlands is GSM 900/1800. The main providers of cell phone networks are KPN (Dutch only), T-mobile and Vodafone, who cover the whole country. Other operators, like Hollandsnieuwe, Simyo or Tele2, use one of these 3 networks basically.
It is best to buy a SIM card when in the Netherlands for use in your cellphone, as this usually works out cheaper than using the one from home. If you are planning to study or work in the country and stay for several months, buying a cellphone is the best option. A simple one, sometimes with €10 worth on it, can be bought from around €25. The simplest smartphones are around €75.
The rate for sending a postcard or letter up to 20 grams within the Netherlands is €0.64 (2014). Since 2010 there are stamps available for domestic post which no longer include the value in €. Instead, there are stamps available with either a '1' or a '2' as a substitute for value. The '1' can be used for letters and postcards up to 20 grams, while 20-50 grams require you to use the '2'-valued stamps (or two '1'-valued stamps of course).
Sending items to other EU countries and the rest of the world (there is one price since 2014) will cost €1.05. Stamps are sold at post offices, supermarkets and smaller shops/kiosks; often the place where you buy your postcards can also supply you with stamps.
Sending parcels abroad is more costly. A standard-sized parcel between up to 2 kilograms will cost you €9 for destinations within the EU and €18 (both without Track & Trace) to the rest of the world. Prices with Track & Trace start at €13 and €24.30 respectively. Parcel service is available from major post offices only; standard-size boxes are on sale there as well. For sending parcels, it might be just as competitive and fast to use a company like TNT, UPS or DHL.
If you need to receive mail while moving around, you can have it sent poste restante (to be called for) to a post office of your choice, where it will be kept for a month. If you come to claim it, bring a valid ID, and make sure to have told the sender that the name on the envelope must be an exact match with that in your passport. For addresses of post offices, as well as more information, consult the TNT website.
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