Sometime you feel proud of something. Of the results of your work and other achievements. Proud of your country if it made to one of the finals of the World Cup. And sometimes of the place where I live. We as local Groningen people feel often be mistrusted by people who live in the more populated areas. As this a place full of peasants or something and there is nothing to do over here.
And then you are really proud on your city when one of your streets gets chosen as best shopping street of all other streets in Holland! I have to pass through the street often on my bike. I like the vibe over there, because there are all small boutiques and quitte a range of kind of shops.
The name of the street is Folkingestraat.
Folkingestraat in Groningen is chosen as best street in Holland in 2015. Folkingestraat is a busy and populair shopping street because it runs between Groningen Main station/Groningen Museum and the Vismarkt square in the city centre. And it’s one of the oldest streets in Groningen. Until WO II the street was the centre of the jewish community in Groningen. The street has a pleasant mix of shops: boutiques, galleries, restaurants, a sex shop, etc.
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The traces of its jewish history and the vibrancy of today make the street one of the most special streets in Groningen. The Grand Synagogue still guards the entrance of the street. The building has an appearance of a mosque. This was the common idea of the christian architects on jewish traditional style building design round 1900. It should have a middle eastern look. The Hebrew text above the entrance is from the Thora and says: “Blessed shalt thou be when thou comest in, and blessed shalt thou be when thou goest out.” The building has beatiful stain glass windows and a great interior. When there is the possibility to look inside, do it! Check the official synagogue website.
More refers to the jewish history of Folkingestraat. House number 26 is the former jewish school. Five works of art make great and also sad tribute to the almost totally destructed jewish community which was centeren in the street. Called Depicted Past, saying the cultural jewish life that used to be can only be imagined. These are:
Portal. Opposite the synagogue there is a door without a handle. It looks it’s a wooden door, but it is made of bronze. The door symbolizes the closed history of jewish life. What is behind the door cannot be re-opened, as no-one has returned to tell of bygone days.
The precut horse. Before WOII a horse butcher riseded on number 23. Horses were brought to the backside of the building before being slaughtered by passing a quitte narrow alleyway. Wooden stakes of the door are worn by the bellies of the horses, which still visible. On the left side of number 23 the artist of the work portrayed the back of a horse, divided in the various pieces of meat.
Galgal hamazalot. The shapes of the moon on the pavement: the moon growing from new moon to full moon back to new moon. Symbol for the cycle of life. When put together the shapes form an eye: the eye that has seen what has happened.
Here too. The word ‘weggehaald, removed’ has been removed from the bricks on side wall top of number 9b.
No title. Pictures of 19th century life in Folkingestraat with coloured dots to remember the joyful jewish life. The pictures hang next to the doors of number 10 and 20.
Today the street is the best street in the Holland. Probably because most of the shops are all independent and do not belong to store chains. And it certainly the variation of shops. Some tips for having a look:
Go for real good Italian ice to Toscana’s ice bar. Have your hair or beard cut at De Zwarte Raaf barber shop. Go for North Afrikan and Arabic food to Le Souk. From vegetables, to pastries and salads. Mostly fresh. Check the entrance of the building. Or have a look at Folk Store. Take your lunch at BAQ Café. For the best fries in town go to Frietwinkel.
The streets ends at the Vismarkt Square. Here stands the former grain exchange which fullfills still its task as supermarket. Have a look inside this neoclassical building and especially the roof. On the corner is public house Huis De Beurs. Which was a notorious porn cinema in the 60s and 70s. Today it is also used as party venue for student associations. On good days the pub keeper brings out his piano. Anyone who would like to play this piano is invited to play.