Our famous slogan is ‘Er gaat niets boven Groningen’ or in English ‘Nothing tops Groningen’. I am sure that you all agree with this sentence. Groningen is beautiful, vibrant and has a quirky atmosphere that you can only understand when you are here. The city has so much to offer. Just some places to name: Martinitower, Prinsengarden, Groninger Museum, Paterswoldsemeer, and Reitdiephaven. These are probably places that you are already familiar with. If not: go visit them please! If yes: check out these hidden gems I will reveal to you in this article. Being a tour guide, I am always trying to find new spots. So come and join me on this Groningen city tour in which I will show you some nice undiscovered places (getting lost? Google the underlined places to see where to go to).
Let’s start in the city centre. Have you ever been in the Townhall? Just ring at the bell and admire the beautiful hall! Here you can check out a very nice painting that depicts the battle against ‘Bommen Berend’ from 1672 (another insider tip: in the other building of the Gemeente next to the Martinitower you can get free coffee/tea/chocolate milk!). Continue to the street behind the old V&D building. In the Rode Weeshuisstraat you’ll find a former orphanage which you can recognize by its sandstone arched gate with figures of children on it. You can check out the vaulted ceiling of the chapel and see the former courtyard surrounded by new buildings. Continue to the Oude Boteringestraat and check out the old court building, which now houses the university’s faculty of theology. Definitely take a look inside and open the door of the old courtroom: a marvellous room decorated with chandeliers!
Perhaps you have not heard the word ‘hofjes’ before. Hofjes are almshouses and were used in the past to house pilgrims, elderly and the poor. Nowadays, the small houses around the cute gardens are fantastic places to visit. Almost next to the AEGEE office you can check out the Pelstergasthuis. But also across the Sunny Beach we have another beautiful hofje as well. Have you ever looked at the church? No? Then go to the Pepergasthuis!
Hofjes are not only to be found in the medieval city center. In the Hortusbuurt (between Noorderplantsoen and the centre) you have many of them! Especially take a look in the Grote Leliestraat and find more than three cute hofjes!
The Hortusbuurt is named after the Hortus that is located here. Check out the faculty of behavioural sciences and see the big green inner courtyard. Sidenote: The hortus botanicus (the gardens) moved at a certain point to the village of Haren (directly south of Groningen). These gardens in Haren contain many nice spots such as the Chinese garden. After just 20 minutes of cycling from the centre this place is well worth a look as well!
Back to our tour. Now continue to the Korrewegwijk. This former labour neighborhood has more to offer than people think. Bike to the Deliplein, Rheinvis Feithplein and in front of the bus stop the JC Kapteijnstraat (Look out for the name ‘Rustoord’) at Korreweg to check out 20th century hofjes.
If you cycle to the Korreweg to the east you will see a big church on your left side next to the pond at the Floresplein. Note: this is not a church! It is actually a mosque housed in a former church. Even though you might have no affiliation with religion, it is a very nice place to go inside, have a chat with people and drink tea. The people of the mosque are very open to talk with you!
Beijum and Kardinge
The areas Beijum and Kardinge have a rather negative image. But they actually do deserve more attention. Here you have the chance to check out two windmills! In Beijum you can cycle to the part of Noorderhoogebrug on the northern side to check out the Wilhelmina Windmill. Next to that, Beijum has the Beijumerbos: a small forest that is nice to walk through.
In Kardinge you can cycle to the Noordermolen which you can reach from the Ice skating hall via a road with trees (Kardingermaar) that could have been designed by Dali. Another thing people do not know is the Kardingeheuvel: a hill that is quite high for the Netherlands. From the top of the hill you have one of the best views over the city and you can see the whole skyline of Groningen. This place is very romantic, so if you need some inspiration for what to do with your date: go chill here when the weather is good!
Returning to the city centre
To return to the city centre you can go via the Oosterparkwijk. Check out the small farm houses at the Graspad / Meidoornpad. Next to the UMCG hospital you will find another Hofje, namely the Typografengasthuis.
Groningen has an alternative side as well. The initiative of the Free Café is especially nice.This is a project that aims to reduce food waste and is fully set up by volunteers. You can eat at 6pm for free (vegan food) and help with cooking before or doing the dishes/cleaning. At Wednesdays you can find this initiative in the building Backbone050 in the neighbourhood of Vinkhuizen. On Sundays the Free Café takes place in the Edanz building in the Korrewegwijk.
Aside from that, you have to check out the underground bar at the ORKZ. This was a former hospital that turned into a squatting house and is now a big living community. Next to the bar they have hot tubs (good to relax after a night of partying), concerts and much more! It is located in the south of the city in the neighbourhood Helpman.
More to explore
Of course there is much more to explore. Not only within the city borders, but also in the ‘Ommelanden’ is enough to see that is worth your time! Enjoy your time and if you have questions feel free to contact me (email@example.com).