Fellow Groningen blog Notsostuffy introduced the I-love-Groningen tag, a Q&A about Groningen for Groningen-based bloggers. Its a great opportunity to offer a sneak-a-peak into Groningen.

Groningen’s best kept secret…
Its vibe. Definately. It’s hard to put in words, but I think it is the mix of the population, the university, student life, extensive cycling, the city’s history, but also its relative solitude towards other cultural hotspots in the country. Groningen needs to invent and maintain itself, as others do not attent Groningen so quickly. Here is a real Do It Ourself mentality. You have to know it and need to find it, but when you do a new world opens of what can be experienced in our town.

Why I like Groningen?
There is so much to discover here. Not just in the city itself, but the greater northern region of Holland needs a visit. Leeuwarden is a beautiful town. The UNESCO Wadden Sea region is at our doorstep. And Groningen lies on the egde of many neolithic prehistoric landscapes of Drenthe.
And off course, I do like the vibe I just mentioned.

This of Groningen I never understood…
The navel-gazing. Not looking further into the wider world of what the city can offer and how it can express itself internationally. The focus is (with all due respect) too much on national visitors and visitors from northern Germany.

Must-sees on a day trip to Groningen
Saint Martin’s church, locally called Martini Church and local pride, typical medieval architecture of this part of the country. The tower offers a great view over the city.
Groningen owns many former guesthouses for old or disabled people built between the late middleages and early 1900s. Today the inner courts of the guesthouses are places of pleasant calmth in the midst of a busy city. I love the guesthouse gardens. The Groningen tourist info offers special guesthouse walking tours.

What is your favourite building?
The neo gothic style Groningen Main station. Not the largest in the country, but one of the prettiest in the country. The white DOU building is modern landmark and a true gain for the city.
I think I will like also like the new Groninger Forum building, which is now under construction.

Prettiest green spot in Groningen
Noorderplantsoen park, a green spot on the former city walls. During sunny days the place to be, entire Groningen seems to meet each other here with a drink and a barbeque. Noorderplantsoen park is also the location for the best festival which is organized in Groningen, Noorderzon. The park is turned in a magical lit open air theatre.

What is your favourite museum/gallery?
The Groningen Museum is the eye cathing museum in town. The museum is able to attract many exciting exhibitions. But the University Museum is also nice. Especially when you are into Victorian style museums showing the cruel stuff which used to be find in science museums.
Gallery MooiMan is the only male-oriented art gallery in the country.
Check here an overview of the museums in Groningen but also outside the city,

Best place for eating?
Go to De Markies public house at the other side of Noorderplantsoen park. Truly the best in town. The cook knows how to thrill. All kind of exciting dishes on the menu mainly from local farmers and fishermen. The restaurant is kind of a living room for the neighbourhood and during summer overybody is kicked out to eat on the terrace outside.

And for a coffee?
Oude Kijk in’t Jat Straat definitely, a street in the city centre with a high coffee house density. The public is a nice mix of students, visitors and locals. Tea drinkers, like me, are well served too. I named the street Coffee Lane due to the many coffee houses in the street.

And shopping?
The nicest places for shopping in Groningen are not at the main shopping street. That one, I am the opinion, is too commercial with its store chain shops. Nice is Folkingestraat, best street of the country last year. But also Zwanestraat and A-kerkhof. Most of the shops are local and the owners to their very best to make their shop attractive. And they succeed.
Carolieweg used to be a great alternative shopping spot, but some nice indie shops decided to close unfortunately. The shops at A-kerkhof are more luxury stores.

Shop top 3
Folk
Cledingraad
Vos Interior (outside city centre)

And what is your favourite vintage shop?
Verroest for furniture and Stardust for clothing. Mijn Tafel is also fun for a visit.
Of all theatres, which one is the best?
To be honest, I’ve never been to the theater in Groningen. Grand Theatre at Grote Markt square has a nice building and stands on a good spot. The smallest theatre, Le Petit Theatre (sic) organizes jazzy performings. On the other side, the street theatre of Noorderzon festival is nice and is always surprisingly good.
When going to the cinema’s, check Vera Zienema, Groninger Forum and RKZ Bios.

So many years in Groningen and never…
Well, been to the theatre…

Best sport attraction for tourists
The football team of Groningen plays at premier league level in Holland, so the Euroborg stadium could be visited. But a real sportive challenge is climbing tower Excalibur of Bjoeks, 37 m high and only 11 m wide. Overnight bivouacs on the tower are possible…

For this you can leave the city for some hours…
Hunebed (dolms) hunt in Drenthe
The new zoo in Emmen
A day trip to the Wadden Sea region and Schiermonnikoog island.
Het Drents Museum in Assen

Groningen will be complete when…
it expresses and sells its values and what it does and can. Groningen will never be a big city, but it has something to offer as a great place to live and to visit.

Techno and Underground

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