Groningen

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This article is about the Dutch city and municipality. For other uses, see Groningen (disambiguation).
Groningen
City and Municipality
Montage of buildings in the city of Groningen divided by thin lines
Top row: Gasunie Building and Grote Markt Square; middle row: Groningen City Theater/Korenbeurs and Aa Church, Martini Tower and Goudkantoor; bottom row: Groninger Museum.
White flag with a horizontal green band in the middle
Flag
Two black eagles holding a crowned yellow shield
Coat of arms
Highlighted position of Groningen in a municipal map of Groningen
Location in Groningen
Coordinates: 53°13′N 6°34′E / 53.217°N 6.567°E / 53.217; 6.567Coordinates: 53°13′N 6°34′E / 53.217°N 6.567°E / 53.217; 6.567
Country Netherlands
Province Groningen
Government[1]
 • Body Municipal council
 • Mayor Ruud Vreeman (PvdA)
Area[2]
 • Municipality 83.75 km2 (32.34 sq mi)
 • Land 78.05 km2 (30.14 sq mi)
 • Water 5.70 km2 (2.20 sq mi)
Elevation [3] 7 m (23 ft)
Population (Municipality, May 2014; Urban and Metro, May 2014)[4][5]
 • Municipality 197,823
 • Density 2,535/km2 (6,570/sq mi)
 • Urban 216,655
 • Metro 360,748
Demonym Groninger
Time zone CET (UTC+1)
 • Summer (DST) CEST (UTC+2)
Postcode 9700–9747
Area code 050
Website gemeente.groningen.nl

Groningen (Dutch pronunciation: [ˈɣroːnɪŋə(n)] ( ); Gronings: Grunnen; West Frisian: Grins) is the main municipality as well as the capital city of the eponymous province in the Netherlands. With a population of 197,823 (in 2014), it is the largest city in the north of the Netherlands. An old city, Groningen was the regional power of the northern Netherlands, a semi-independent city-state and member of the German Hanseatic League. Groningen is a university city: it houses the University of Groningen (about 28,000 students) and the Hanze University of Applied Sciences (about 25,000 students).

History[edit]

Map of Groningen, 1925.
Boroughs of Groningen, which have no political or physical significance
Main building of the University of Groningen (2004)
'De Herestraat', the main shopping street (2004)
Groningen has many Amsterdam School architecture buildings
View of the city hall from the Martini Tower

The city was founded on the northernmost point of the Hondsrug area. The oldest document referring to Groningen's existence dates from 1040. However, the city already existed long before then: the oldest archaeological traces found are believed to stem from the years 3950–3720 BC, although the first major settlement in Groningen has been traced back to the 3rd century AD.

In the 13th century, when Groningen was an important trade centre, its inhabitants built a city wall to underline its authority. The city had a strong influence on the surrounding lands and made its dialect a common tongue. The most influential period of the city was the end of the 15th century, when the nearby province of Friesland was administered from Groningen. During these years, the Martinitoren was built, which loomed over the city at (then) 127 metres tall, making it the highest building in Europe at the time. The city's independence came to an end when it chose to join forces with the Spanish during the Eighty Years' War in 1594. It later switched sides, joining the Republic of the Seven United Netherlands.

In 1614, the University of Groningen was founded, initially only for religious education. In the same period the city expanded rapidly and a new city wall was built. That same city wall was tested during the Third Anglo-Dutch War in 1672, when the city was attacked fiercely by the bishop of Münster, Bernhard von Galen. The city walls resisted, an event which is celebrated with music and fireworks on 28 August (as "Gronings Ontzet" or "Bommen Berend").

The city did not escape the devastation of World War II. In particular, the main square, Grote Markt, was largely destroyed in April 1945, at the Battle of Groningen. However, the Martinitoren, its church, the Goudkantoor, and the city hall were not damaged. The battle there lasted several days.

University of Groningen[edit]

The University of Groningen (in Dutch: Rijksuniversiteit Groningen) has a rich academic tradition which dates back to 1614. After the University of Leiden, it is the oldest university located in the Netherlands. The university educated the first female student (Aletta Jacobs) and the first Dutch national astronaut (Wubbo Ockels), the first president of the European Central Bank and a Nobel prize winner (Heike Kamerlingh Onnes). They share their academic roots with around 200,000 people, who were either students, teachers or researchers at the university. Groningen has the highest percentage of students by total population, approximately 25 percent.

Art, culture and nightlife[edit]

The city is nationally known as the "Metropolis of the North" and as "Martinistad" referring to the Martinitoren.

Although Groningen is not a very large city, it does have an important role as the main urban centre of this part of the country, particularly in the fields of music and other arts, education, and business. The large number of students living in Groningen also contributes to a diverse cultural scene for a city of its size.

Museums[edit]

The most important and most famous museum in Groningen is the Groninger Museum. With the construction of its current building, designed by Alessandro Mendini, the museum has been transformed into one of the most modern and innovative of its kind in the Netherlands. In addition, the city also has a maritime museum, a university museum, a comics museum and a graphical museum. Groningen is also home of Noorderlicht, an international photographic platform that runs a photo gallery and organizes an international photo festival.

Theatre and music[edit]

Groningen has its own city theatre (Stadsschouwburg), located on the Turfsingel; a big theatre and concert venue called Martini Plaza; and another major cultural venue on the Trompsingel, called the Oosterpoort. Vera is located on the Oosterstraat, Grand Theatre on the Grote Markt, and Simplon on the Boterdiep. Several cafes feature live music, a few of which specialize in jazz music, including Jazzcafe De Spieghel on the Peperstraat. The jazz music students from the Prins Claus Conservatorium have been known to hold regular jam sessions in cafes such as Peter Pan on the Voor Het Voormalige Klein Poortje and café De Smederij on the Tuinstraat 2–4. Groningen is also the host city for the Eurosonic Festival, an annual music showcase event for over a hundred bands from all over Europe.

Nightlife[edit]

Groningen's nightlife depends largely on its student population. Its cultural scene is vibrant and remarkable for a city of its size. In particular, the Grote Markt, the Vismarkt, the Poelestraat and Peperstraat are crowded every night of the week, and most bars do not close until 5 in the morning. Between 2005 and 2007, Groningen was elected "de beste binnenstad" (the best city centre) of the Netherlands.[6] There are also two red-light districts, one in Nieuwstad (a street) and one in the A-kwartier (an area). Both of them are in or near the city centre.

International relations[edit]

Groningen is twinned with the following cities:[7]

Politics[edit]

The city council has 39 members. With 9 seats, the social-liberal D66 is the largest party on the council. The social-democratic PvdA has 6 seats, as does the Socialist Party. The centre-right VVD has 4 seats. GroenLinks holds 5 seats, and the local party Stadspartij 3 seats. The CDA and ChristenUnie are represented by 3 and 2 councilors, respectively. The Students and City hold 2 seats, and the Party for the Animals has one councilor.[10]

Industry[edit]

Until recently, there were two large sugar refineries inside the city boundaries. The Suiker Unie plant was originally outside of Groningen, but it was completely swallowed by the expansion of the city. After a campaign to close the factory, it was finally shut down in 2008/2009. Before closing down, the sugar production amounted to 250,000 tonnes of beet sugar, with 250 employees (2005 figures). The only remaining sugar factory is CSM Vierverlaten in Hoogkerk, which produces 235,000 tonnes of beet sugar, with 283 employees.

Other well known companies from Groningen are Hooghoudt (a producer of alcoholic beverages, genever and beerenburg, among others), publishing house Wolters-Noordhoff and Theodorus Niemeyer (a coffee, tea and tobacco company).

Topography[edit]

Topographic map image of Groningen (city), June 2014.

Transport[edit]

Cycling and walking[edit]

Groningen has been called the "World Cycling City" because 57% of journeys within the city are made by bicycle.[11] Like most Dutch cities, Groningen is well adapted to the high number of cyclists. A large network of bike paths make it convenient to cycle to various destinations and within the town the bike is the most popular means of transportation. In 2000, Groningen was chosen as Fietsstad 2002 — the top BikeCity of the Netherlands for 2002.

The city is very much adapted to the wishes of those who want to get around without a car, as it has an extensive network of segregated cycle-paths, good public transport, and a large pedestrianised zone in the city centre. The transformation of the historic centre into a pedestrian priority zone enables and invites walking and biking by making these active modes of transport comfortable, safe and enjoyable.

These attributes are accomplished by applying the principle of "filtered permeability". It means that the network configuration favours active transportation and selectively, “filters out” the car by reducing the number of streets that run through the centre. While certain streets are discontinuous for cars, they connect to a network of pedestrian and bike paths which permeate the entire centre. In addition, these paths go through public squares and open spaces increasing the enjoyment of the trip (see image). The logic of filtering a mode of transport is fully expressed in a comprehensive model for laying out neighbourhoods and districts – the Fused Grid. In the Italian TV programme of investigative journalism "Report" appeared a short film,[12] considering the use of bikes in Groningen a good practice to emulate in Italy.

Rail[edit]

There are three stations in Groningen:

The main train station (served by the Nederlandse Spoorwegen and Arriva) has regular services to most of the major cities in the Netherlands.

Direct destinations are:

Road[edit]

The A28 motorway connects the city of Groningen to Utrecht (via Zwolle and Amersfoort). The A7 motorway connects Groningen to Friesland and Amsterdam (South-West) and Winschoten and the direction of Bremen in the East.

Bus[edit]

Qbuzz run several city buses and urban buses. The main routes are:

There are also direct buses between Groningen (train station) and Bremen (airport) in Germany, run by Public Express.

Groningen planned to build a tram route connecting the central station, via the university hospital with the university complex (Zernike), and the central station via the city center with the Park & Ride and sportscenter at Kardinge . However in October 2012 the city council decided not to build the tramlines due to the high costs.

Air[edit]

Groningen Airport Eelde is located 10 kilometres (6 miles) south of the centre of Groningen, with scheduled and holiday charter services to European destinations.

Climate[edit]

Groningen has a cool temperate climate similar to most of the Netherlands, although slightly colder in winter than other major cities in the Netherlands due to its northeasterly position. Weather is influenced by the North Sea to the north-west and its prevailing north-western winds and gales. Winter temperatures are cool: on average above freezing, although frosts are common during spells of easterly winds blowing in from the inner European continent, i. e. Germany, Russia and even Siberia. Night-time temperatures of −10 °C (14 °F) or lower are not uncommon during cold winter periods. The lowest temperature ever recorded is −26.8 °C (−16.2 °F) on February 16, 1956. Snow often falls, but rarely stays consecutively due to warmer daytime temperatures although white snowy days happen every winter. Summers are somewhat warm and humid. Temperatures of 30 °C (86 °F) or higher occur sporadically, most average daytime highs are around 22 °C (72 °F). Very rainy periods are common, especially in spring and summer. Average annual precipitation is about 800 mm (31 in). Sunshine hours vary, but are usually lacking below 1600 hours, giving much cloud cover similar to most of the Netherlands. Climate in this area has mild differences between highs and lows, and there is adequate rainfall year round. The Köppen Climate Classification subtype for this climate is "Cfb". (Marine West Coast Climate/Oceanic climate).[13]

Climate data for Groningen Airport Eelde
Month Jan Feb Mar Apr May Jun Jul Aug Sep Oct Nov Dec Year
Record high °C (°F) 14.5
(58.1)
15.2
(59.4)
22.7
(72.9)
27.7
(81.9)
31.5
(88.7)
33.5
(92.3)
33.1
(91.6)
34.7
(94.5)
30.5
(86.9)
24.8
(76.6)
17.4
(63.3)
15.4
(59.7)
34.7
(94.5)
Average high °C (°F) 4.7
(40.5)
5.4
(41.7)
9.0
(48.2)
13.4
(56.1)
17.4
(63.3)
19.9
(67.8)
22.2
(72)
22.1
(71.8)
18.6
(65.5)
13.9
(57)
8.7
(47.7)
5.2
(41.4)
13.4
(56.1)
Daily mean °C (°F) 2.4
(36.3)
2.4
(36.3)
5.2
(41.4)
8.4
(47.1)
12.3
(54.1)
14.9
(58.8)
17.1
(62.8)
16.9
(62.4)
13.8
(56.8)
10.0
(50)
6.0
(42.8)
2.9
(37.2)
9.3
(48.7)
Average low °C (°F) −0.4
(31.3)
−0.6
(30.9)
1.4
(34.5)
3.4
(38.1)
6.9
(44.4)
9.5
(49.1)
11.9
(53.4)
11.6
(52.9)
9.3
(48.7)
6.2
(43.2)
2.9
(37.2)
0.1
(32.2)
5.2
(41.4)
Record low °C (°F) −22.0
(−7.6)
−16.5
(2.3)
−13.2
(8.2)
−6.5
(20.3)
−2.3
(27.9)
0.1
(32.2)
4.1
(39.4)
3.2
(37.8)
0.8
(33.4)
−6.4
(20.5)
−13.6
(7.5)
−15.4
(4.3)
−22.0
(−7.6)
Precipitation mm (inches) 74.2
(2.921)
51.4
(2.024)
64.3
(2.531)
42.1
(1.657)
58.0
(2.283)
71.2
(2.803)
79.4
(3.126)
70.9
(2.791)
78.3
(3.083)
74.0
(2.913)
75.0
(2.953)
73.4
(2.89)
812.1
(31.972)
Avg. precipitation days (≥ 1 mm) 13 10 12 8 10 11 11 11 12 12 13 13 136
Avg. snowy days 8 7 5 2 0 0 0 0 0 0 3 6 31
 % humidity 90 88 85 79 79 81 82 83 86 89 91 92 85.4
Mean monthly sunshine hours 54.2 78.7 117.2 171.6 210.0 187.0 199.1 183.9 137.0 107.2 56.5 47.5 1,550
Source #1: Royal Netherlands Meteorological Institute (1981−2010 normals, snowy days normals for 1971−2000)[14]
Source #2: Royal Netherlands Meteorological Institute (1971−2000 extremes)[15]

Sport[edit]

Sport clubs[edit]

The local football club is FC Groningen, founded in 1971. Currently it is playing in the Dutch highest football league, called the Eredivisie. Their best result in the Eredivisie was during the 1990/91 season when they finished third. The current stadium of FC Groningen, which opened in January 2006, is called Euroborg and has 22,550 seats.[16] There are plans to expand the stadium to a capacity of 35- or 40,000.

The GasTerra Flames is a professional basketball club, playing in the Dutch Basketball League. The home arena is Martiniplaza. The club won the national championship four times: in 1982, 2004, 2010 and 2014. In 2005, 2011 and 2014 they won the NBB Cup.

Each year, the second Sunday of October the 4 mile of Groningen takes place. This is one of the biggest running events of The Netherlands, in the year 2013, there is place for 21.000 participants, this is 1000 more than in 2012, when there where 20.000 starting spots.[17]

Cycling[edit]

The 2002 Giro d'Italia started in Groningen, including the prologue and the start of stage 1. The city also hosted the start and finish of stage 5 of the 2013 Energiewacht Tour.

Notable people from Groningen[edit]

See also[edit]

References[edit]

  1. ^ "Burgemeester" [Mayor] (in Dutch). Gemeente Groningen. Retrieved 22 December 2013. 
  2. ^ "Kerncijfers wijken en buurten" [Key figures for neighbourhoods]. CBS Statline (in Dutch). CBS. 2 July 2013. Retrieved 12 March 2014. 
  3. ^ "Postcodetool for 9712HW". Actueel Hoogtebestand Nederland (in Dutch). Het Waterschapshuis. Retrieved 22 December 2013. 
  4. ^ "Bevolkingsontwikkeling; regio per maand" [Population growth; regions per month]. CBS Statline (in Dutch). CBS. 26 June 2014. Retrieved 24 July 2014. 
  5. ^ "Bevolkingsontwikkeling; regio per maand" [Population growth; regions per month]. CBS Statline (in Dutch). CBS. 26 June 2014. Retrieved 24 July 2014. 
  6. ^ "Winnaars 2005 - 2007 -- Verkiezing Beste Binnenstad" [Winners 2005 - 2007 -- Election Best City Centre] (in Dutch). www.debestebinnenstad.nl. Retrieved 15 February 2012. 
  7. ^ "Groningen – Partner Cities". 2008 Gemeente Groningen, Kreupelstraat 1,9712 HW Groningen. Retrieved 8 December 2008. 
  8. ^ "Twin Towns – Graz Online – English Version". www.graz.at. Retrieved 5 January 2010. 
  9. ^ "Kaliningrad – Partner Cities". 2000–2006 Kaliningrad City Hall. Retrieved 8 December 2008. [dead link]
  10. ^ "Samenstelling gemeenteraad". Gemeente Gronignen. Retrieved 6 October 2012. 
  11. ^ "global ideas bank". globalideasbank.org. 15 October 2007. Retrieved 14 July 2009. 
  12. ^ "Rai.tv". Rai.tv. 15 October 2007. Retrieved 5 May 2009. 
  13. ^ Climate Summary for Groningen
  14. ^ "Klimaattabel Eelde, langjarige gemiddelden, tijdvak 1981–2010". Royal Netherlands Meteorological Institute. Retrieved 9 September 2013. 
  15. ^ "Klimaattabel Eelde, langjarige extremen, tijdvak 1971–2000". Royal Netherlands Meteorological Institute. Retrieved 9 September 2013. 
  16. ^ FC Groningen: Club Info
  17. ^ 4 Mijl inschrijving opnieuw open!

External links[edit]