Delfzijl is a pleasant harbour city on the northern coast of the Netherlands. It's in the north-eastern part of Groningen Province and is home to some 20,000 people. It's not a major tourist destination, except when once every 5 years the town in turned into the bustling decor for DelfSail, a major maritime event attracting almost a million visitors who come to admire ships from all around the world. In other years, a much smaller but still fun event is held, called the Havendagen or Harbour days.

The city has a large industrial area, a busy port, a tiny beach and a few attractions to entertain the (mostly accidental) visitors. The place is not recommended for a longer stay, but has plenty of shops, a few hotels and a well stocked public library with internet facilities. Delfzijl gained national notoriety in 2005 and 2006 because of political turmoil caused by its bickering local politicians. One of the last mayors to leave town in a hurry (Ms. Marritje Appel), bitterly denounced the city as "Sicily of the North". During the local elections of 2006 30% of all voters in the city of Delfzijl submitted an "abstain vote".



Sights and Activities

  • The town centre has a number of interesting structures. Just strolling around will lead you past most of them, as the centre is small and easy to navigate. There's the windmill Adam (with an exhibition centre on the ground floor), a monumental train station (1884) and the former town hall (located at the Oude Schans, built in 1899. The former munition building is the oldest building in town, originating in 1591.
  • Waterpoort, At the end of the Havenstraat. This historic "water gate" was built in 1833 and was known back then as the "Large Water Gate". It was restored in the 1970s, and is still in use, protecting the city occasionally from high water levels.
  • Near the Damsterdiep canal, a 10-minute walk from the centre, there is a small statue of Maigret. Georges Simenon created the character of the sleuth Maigret while staying in the town in 1929. He based his story "A Crime in Holland" in Delfzijl.
  • Aquariom. The Aquariom contains a small museum and sea aquarium near the dyke (situated in a World War II bunker).



Getting There

By Train

There's a train connection from Groningen, which leaves every half-hour (€6.80, 37 minutes). It stops at Delfzijl's central station and at Delfzijl-West. The trains are operated by Arriva.

By Car

Good provincial roads lead to all directions.

By Bus

There are also bus connections to and from Winschoten, Uithuizen, Appingedam, Groningen (city) and many hamlets and villages in the area.

By Boat

As a harbour town, Delfzijl is well reachable via water if you have your own boat. The main water ways are the large Eemskanaal and the smaller Damsterdiep, which is almost exclusively used for private boats. There's a yacht harbour called "Het Dok" in the so-called "Oude Eemskanaal".

In summer, there are daily ferry crossings (also for cars) to the German island of Borkum and the German town of Ditzum.



Getting Around

The city centre and the harbour area are small enough to explore on foot. If you have a bike, that can be convenient if you want to head to the surrounding hamlets or are up for a bike tour along the coast. If you want to rent one you'll have to inform at the tourist office however, as there are no regular bike rental companies in town.




Some of the best restaurants in town belong to hotels. The Eemshotel and Hotel Boegschroef deserve a quick mention here, as they offer good dinner options. Hotel-Restaurant Boven Groningen is another good choice. See the sleep sections for details.

  • De Kakebrug, Waterstraat 8, ☎ +31 596 - 617 122. Tasty dishes, classy restaurant. Service is friendly though not super professional, but the dishes are well prepared and nicely decorated on the plates. €32.50.
  • Nan Sing, Waterstraat 2, ☎ +31 596-611 700. If you're in the mood for Chinese food, this is the local place to go. It's nothing special but its okay and the only Asian option around.




  • Hotel De Boegschroef, Handelskade West 12, ☎ +31 596-613615. This place is good value for money, with some great views (ask for a room overlooking the harbour), well-appointed rooms and very friendly staff. There's a nice restaurant too. € 87,50/95 for a single/double.
  • Hotel Aan De Singel, Singel 52, ☎ +31 596-650203. Friendly place in the historic town centre. Breakfast is served in the adjacent building, where you can also have dinner, if you want. Rooms are spacious and nice and there's private parking available. From €74,50 for a double.
  • Eemshotel, Zeebadweg 2, ☎ +31 596 612 636. A bit worn down and thin-walled, but this hotel on the sea shores has some fabulous sea side views and a nice restaurant for dinner. Ask for a room overlooking the sea, as not all of them do. It's almost a landmark on the shore, as the hotel is built on legs in the water. €75/95 for a single/double.
  • Hotel-Restaurant Boven Groningen, Waterstraat 78, ☎ +31 596-618771. €89 for a double.



Keep Connected


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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This is version 2. Last edited at 11:08 on May 6, 19 by Utrecht. 1 article links to this page.

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