A Day Trip to Groningen
Groningen, in the north-east of the Netherlands, comes in two flavours: it is the name of both the province of Groningen & its capital, the city of Groningen, or Stad to the locals, as it is the only city around. I lived here as a student, and I never thought of it as a tourist destination, but the city is perfect for a day out. Its premier attraction is the Groninger Museum, which is housed in a striking postmodern building opposite the railway station. From there it’s a 15-minute walk to the foot of the city’s landmark, the iconic Martini Tower. The 174-step climb to the gallery above its belfry (39 m) takes a few minutes extra, and is rewarded with a stunning view of the city. An additional 169 steps will bring you to the clock room under the carillon (76 m) — here you can look out over the countryside from the windows behind the dials. If you prefer escalators & elevators for going up & down, the rooftop terrace (45 m) of the nearby Forum might prove an attractive alternative to climbing the church tower’s narrow spiral staircase.
Most things in Groningen are worth looking at from street level, too. Among them are the former tax office in Northern Mannerist style (nowadays a café) and the Prinsentuin, a lovely Renaissance garden behind the Martini Church, and three quaint almshouses: St Gertrude’s Guest House, the St Anthony Guest House, and the Holy Spirit Guest House. Of more recent date is the neo-Moorish synagogue, built in 1906, which is one of the few buildings of this architectural style in the country. In addition to the Groninger Museum, there are four others: the Museum at the A, a regional history museum that incorporates the former Northern Maritime Museum, the University Museum, the GRID Graphic Museum, and Storyworld, a museum about comics, animation & games. There are many eateries in Groningen, but if you like to taste local cuisine, go to Restaurant Weeva & have poffert for dessert; poffert is a traditional cake-like steamed pudding with raisins, and they do a very decent job of it, almost as good as my gran used to do.pinnable.eu/groningen