After my Bali-series, let’s check out something completely different. As you know I’m Dutch, so I will show you around in one of my favorite parts of the Netherlands: Groningen.
My history with Groningen
Groningen is the name of both a city and a county in the North of the Netherlands. Overlooked by many, since it’s a two-hour ride from Amsterdam and thus considered as ‘far, far away’.
It so happens that I lived there for more than a decade.
How I ended up in the North of Holland
It was 1978 and I was 22 years old. Madly in love with P., an older, tall, handsome guy with long hair, a beard and the most beautiful eyes I’d ever seen.
Friends of his talked about moving to Holland’s most northern coast to form a commune there. P. decided to join them and I tagged along, since I was in love.
We bought the local pub annex liquor store, including a house, huge barn and big plot of land in a minuscule village near the dykes and mud flats in Groningen county.
Idealism versus love
It was a small caravan that moved on a sunny summer day from the center of the Netherlands to the North coast: 3 cars with 6 adults, 3 children, two dogs and two cats.
Later on we added a goat and chickens to this menagerie.
While the other 5 (adults) took on this ‘project’ driven by a vision and ideals, I was as clueless as can be. I could not be bothered by their ideologies, I just wanted to be with my man.
Moving out, moving on
Long story short: the whole project fell apart fast and after about one year, P. and I moved out of the commune. The other members told us that we were bad people (especially me) and that they wanted nothing to do with us. It was very hurtful at the time.
After that, P. and I lived in another tiny village in Groningen, but we split up after a while, after which I moved to Groningen city, alone. I loved my years there!
In the end I moved back to the center of Holland, for a job and for love. But I still have a soft spot for Groningen.
City Trip Groningen
In a series of articles, I will introduce Groningen to you. Hopefully you will get enthusiastic enough to schedule a city trip to Groningen.
What I love about Groningen, the city:
- Groningen Museum: contemporary art in an unusual building
- It’s a lively university city
- The city has a lot of shopping possibilities
- The architecture is very divers
- Lots of F&B options to choose from
- There are markets on many days of the week
What I love about Groningen, the county:
- It has a unique landscape: super flat, empty, dramatic skies
- The county is dotted with tiny, cute villages
- I love Groningen’s Borgen, like the Fraeylemaborg. These are historic estate houses, turned into museums. Groningen has 11 of them.
- Along Groningen’s coast ly mud flats (De Wadden) with a unique flora and fauna: – join a guided low-tidal mud flat walk to an island (Ameland) and/or – visit the famous Zeehondencreche (seal rescue center) in Pieterburen.
I’m starting my Groningen-series with an article about the beautiful Groningen Museum.
Have you visited Groningen city or county? What did you love about it most?
The app GPSMyCity unfortunately has no walks in Groningen, but it HAS walks in 470 other cities. I still have 15 promocodes to give away.
Is there a city that you would like to lose yourself in without getting lost?
Leave a comment with the name of that city and for which platform you would like your free promocode (IOS or Android) and I will send you the code. Read more about GPSMyCity and my giveaway here.