Groningen (province)

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This article is about the Dutch province. For other uses, see Groningen (disambiguation).
Groningen
Province of the Netherlands
Flag of Groningen
Flag
Coat of arms of Groningen
Coat of arms
Anthem: "Grönnens Laid"
"Song of Groningen"
Location of Groningen in the Netherlands
Location of Groningen in the Netherlands
Coordinates: 53°15′N 6°44′E / 53.250°N 6.733°E / 53.250; 6.733Coordinates: 53°15′N 6°44′E / 53.250°N 6.733°E / 53.250; 6.733
Country Netherlands
Capital Groningen
Government
 • King's Commissioner Max van den Berg (PvdA)
Area (2010)[1]
 • Total 2,960 km2 (1,140 sq mi)
 • Land 2,325 km2 (898 sq mi)
 • Water 635 km2 (245 sq mi)
Area rank 7th nationally
Population (1 January 2014)[2]
 • Total 582,640
 • Rank 9th nationally
 • Density 200/km2 (510/sq mi)
 • Density rank 8th nationally
Time zone CET (UTC+1)
 • Summer (DST) CEST (UTC+2)
ISO 3166 code NL-GR
Website www.provinciegroningen.nl

Groningen (Dutch pronunciation: [ˈɣroːnɪŋən] ( ); Gronings: Grönnen; West Frisian: Grinslân) is the northeasternmost province of the Netherlands. In the east it borders the German state of Niedersachsen (districts of Leer and Emsland), in the south Drenthe, in the west Friesland and in the north the Wadden Sea. In 2014, it had a population of 582,640 and a total area of 2,960 km2 (1,140 sq mi).

The area was subsequently part of Frisia, the Frankish Empire, the Holy Roman Empire, and the Dutch Republic, which is the precursor state of the Netherlands. In the 14th century, the city of Groningen became a member of the Hanseatic League.

The capital of the province and the seat of the provincial government is the city of Groningen. Since 2007, Max van den Berg is the King's Commissioner in the province. A coalition of the Labour Party, People's Party for Freedom and Democracy, Democrats 66, and ChristianUnion forms the executive branch. The province is divided into 23 municipalities.

The land is mainly used for agriculture. There are sea ports in Delfzijl and Eemshaven. The Groningen gas field was discovered in 1959. It is home to the University of Groningen and Hanze University of Applied Sciences.

History[edit]

1652 map of the city of Groningen and the surrounding fortifications
Canadian soldiers during the Battle of Groningen in April 1945

Groningen was originally a part of Frisia. It became a part of the Frankish Empire around 785. Charlemagne assigned the Christianization of this new possession to Ludger.

In the 11th century, the city of Groningen was a village in Drenthe that belonged to the Bishopric of Utrecht, while most of the province was in the Prince-Bishopric of Münster.

During the Middle Ages, central control was remote, and the city of Groningen acted as a city-state, exerting a dominating influence on the surrounding Ommelanden. In the 14th century, Groningen became one of the towns within the Hanseatic League.[3] In the years after, Groningen expanded it's influence. At its peak almost all of the current province Friesland was under the influence and control of Groningen.

Around 1500, Maximilian I, Holy Roman Emperor gave Groningen and Friesland to Albert III, Duke of Saxony, who could however not establish permanent control. In 1514/15 Groningen came to the Duchy of Guelders, and in 1536 as the Lordship of Groningen to the Habsburg Netherlands.

In 1594, Groningen was conquered by the Republic of the Seven United Netherlands, precursor state of the Netherlands, to which it belonged henceforth.

During World War II, the Netherlands were occupied by Nazi Germany. In April 1945, the 2nd Canadian Division fought in the Battle of Groningen, which resulted in the liberation of the city and in the death of 130, the capture of 5,212, and the fleeing of 2,000 German soldiers. In May 1945, another 3,000 German soldiers were captured in the Battle of Delfzijl by the 5th Canadian Division, after which all of the northern provinces were liberated.[4]

East Groningen was the scene of a particularly fierce class struggle in the 19th and 20th centuries. Perhaps not coincidentally, Groningen boasts the only municipality (Beerta) where the Communist Party of the Netherlands has ever had a mayor (Hanneke Jagersma).[5]

Geography[edit]

Satellite image of Groningen
Map of Groningen (2013)
The land is flat and for 80% used for agriculture
Wheat field in the Oldambt
Mudflat hikers during low tide on the Wadden Sea near Pieterburen

Groningen is situated at 53°15′N 6°44′E / 53.250°N 6.733°E / 53.250; 6.733 in the northeast of the Netherlands with to the west the province Friesland, to the south the province Drenthe, to the east the German districts Leer and Emsland in the state Lower Saxony, and to the north the North Sea, Ems, and Dollart. The northernmost point of the Netherlands is on Rottumerplaat[6] at 53°33′18″N 6°28′41″E / 53.55500°N 6.47806°E / 53.55500; 6.47806 and the easternmost point of the Netherlands is in Bad Nieuweschans[6] at 53°10′49″N 7°13′40″E / 53.18028°N 7.22778°E / 53.18028; 7.22778.

Groningen is the 7th largest province of the Netherlands. It has a total area of 2,960 km2 (1,140 sq mi), with 2,325 km2 (898 sq mi) of land and 635 km2 (245 sq mi) of water. About 80% of the land or 1,876 km2 (724 sq mi) is used for agriculture. The rest of the land is: 9% or 158 km2 (61 sq mi) of built-up or semi built-up area, 6% or 144 km2 (56 sq mi) of nature, 3% or 66 km2 (25 sq mi) of infrastructure, and 2% or 43 km2 (17 sq mi) of recreational area.[1]

The land in Groningen is flat. A large area of the province is below sea level.[7] The Hasseberg near Sellingen of 14.6 m (48 ft) above sea level is the highest point.[8]

The Groningen gas field near Slochteren is the 8th largest[9] natural gas field in the world. Since 1986, the exploitation of this gas field caused earthquakes in the region with magnitudes up to 3.6.[10]

In the Wadden Sea of Groningen, a UNESCO World Heritage Site since 2009,[11] are the sandbank Simonszand and the natural reserve Rottum consisting of the three uninhabited islands Rottumeroog, Rottumerplaat, and Zuiderduintjes. The national park Lauwersmeer (IUCN category II) is located on the border between Groningen and Frisia.

Subdivisions[edit]

The province of Groningen is also called Stad en Ommelanden, which means the city of Groningen and its surrounding lands, which are the historical regions of Fivelingo, Hunsingo, Oldambt, Westerkwartier, and Westerwolde.[12]

The province (Nomenclature of Territorial Units for Statistics or NUTS level 2) is divided into three COROP regions (NUTS level 3): East Groningen, Delfzijl and surroundings, and the rest of Groningen. The COROP regions are used for statistical purposes.[13]

The province is also divided into 23 municipalities with each their own local government. There are plans to merge these municipalities into six new municipalities in 2018.[14][15] Currently, Groningen is the most populated and most densely populated municipality,[16][17] containing the largest city, and Eemsmond is the largest municipality, containing a large part of the Wadden Sea in the province.[17] Ten Boer is the least populated, De Marne is the leat densely populated, and Appingedam is the smallest municipality.[16][17]

The nine municipalities Bedum, Groningen, Haren, Hoogezand-Sappemeer, Leek, Slochteren, Ten Boer, Winsum, and Zuidhorn are part of the interprovincial Groningen-Assen Region[18] and the seventeen municipalities Appingedam, Bellingwedde, Delfzijl, Eemsmond, Groningen, Grootegast, Haren, Hoogezand-Sappemeer, Leek, Menterwolde, Oldambt, Pekela, Slochteren, Stadskanaal, Veendam, Vlagtwedde, and Zuidhorn are part of the international Ems Dollart Region (EDR).[19]

Municipality Population[16] Area[17] Population density[16][17]
Appingedam 12004 700124579999999999924.58 km2 (9.49 sq mi) 7002505000000000000505 /km2 (1,310 /sq mi)
Bedum 10459 700144960000000000044.96 km2 (17.36 sq mi) 7002235000000000000235 /km2 (610 /sq mi)
Bellingwedde 9039 7002110080000000000110.08 km2 (42.50 sq mi) 700183000000000000083 /km2 (210 /sq mi)
Boer, TenTen Boer 7447 700145729999999999945.73 km2 (17.66 sq mi) 7002164000000000000164 /km2 (420 /sq mi)
Delfzijl 25651 7002227500000000000227.50 km2 (87.84 sq mi) 7002193000000000000193 /km2 (500 /sq mi)
Eemsmond 15864 7002543350000000000543.35 km2 (209.79 sq mi) 700184000000000000084 /km2 (220 /sq mi)
Groningen 197823 700183750000000000083.75 km2 (32.34 sq mi) 70032535000000000002,535 /km2 (6,570 /sq mi)
Grootegast 12181 700187740000000000087.74 km2 (33.88 sq mi) 7002140000000000000140 /km2 (360 /sq mi)
Haren 18832 700150729999999999950.73 km2 (19.59 sq mi) 7002413000000000000413 /km2 (1,070 /sq mi)
Hoogezand-Sappemeer 34326 700172990000000000072.99 km2 (28.18 sq mi) 7002515000000000000515 /km2 (1,330 /sq mi)
Leek 19626 700164280000000000064.28 km2 (24.82 sq mi) 7002310000000000000310 /km2 (800 /sq mi)
Loppersum 10174 7002111990000000000111.99 km2 (43.24 sq mi) 700192000000000000092 /km2 (240 /sq mi)
Marne, DeDe Marne 10208 7002240330000000000240.33 km2 (92.79 sq mi) 700161000000000000061 /km2 (160 /sq mi)
Marum 10343 700164890000000000064.89 km2 (25.05 sq mi) 7002160000000000000160 /km2 (410 /sq mi)
Menterwolde 12233 700181620000000000081.62 km2 (31.51 sq mi) 7002152000000000000152 /km2 (390 /sq mi)
Oldambt 38495 7002295960000000000295.96 km2 (114.27 sq mi) 7002169000000000000169 /km2 (440 /sq mi)
Pekela 12709 700150200000000000050.20 km2 (19.38 sq mi) 7002259000000000000259 /km2 (670 /sq mi)
Slochteren 15546 7002158870000000000158.87 km2 (61.34 sq mi) 7002103000000000000103 /km2 (270 /sq mi)
Stadskanaal 32715 7002119940000000000119.94 km2 (46.31 sq mi) 7002278000000000000278 /km2 (720 /sq mi)
Veendam 27752 700178680000000000078.68 km2 (30.38 sq mi) 7002365000000000000365 /km2 (950 /sq mi)
Vlagtwedde 15878 7002170550000000000170.55 km2 (65.85 sq mi) 700195000000000000095 /km2 (250 /sq mi)
Winsum 13781 7002102530000000000102.53 km2 (39.59 sq mi) 7002136000000000000136 /km2 (350 /sq mi)
Zuidhorn 18756 7002128370000000000128.37 km2 (49.56 sq mi) 7002149000000000000149 /km2 (390 /sq mi)

Climate[edit]

The province of Groningen has an oceanic climate (Köppen climate classification: Cfb).

Climate data for Nieuw Beerta (1981–2010 averages)
Month Jan Feb Mar Apr May Jun Jul Aug Sep Oct Nov Dec Year
Average high °C (°F) 4.7
(40.5)
5.6
(42.1)
9.2
(48.6)
13.9
(57)
17.3
(63.1)
20.0
(68)
22.7
(72.9)
22.7
(72.9)
18.8
(65.8)
13.6
(56.5)
8.5
(47.3)
4.7
(40.5)
13.5
(56.3)
Daily mean °C (°F) 2.3
(36.1)
2.7
(36.9)
5.3
(41.5)
8.7
(47.7)
12.2
(54)
14.9
(58.8)
17.4
(63.3)
17.4
(63.3)
14.2
(57.6)
9.8
(49.6)
6.0
(42.8)
2.4
(36.3)
9.5
(49.1)
Average low °C (°F) −0.2
(31.6)
−0.2
(31.6)
1.4
(34.5)
3.5
(38.3)
6.9
(44.4)
9.4
(48.9)
12.1
(53.8)
12.1
(53.8)
9.9
(49.8)
6.3
(43.3)
3.3
(37.9)
−0.1
(31.8)
5.4
(41.7)
 % humidity 90 89 85 80 80 82 82 81 85 88 92 92 86
Mean monthly sunshine hours N/A N/A 134.3 187.2 222.4 208.4 215.8 189.9 149.3 120.1 60.3 59.6 N/A
Percent possible sunshine N/A N/A 36 45 45 41 42 42 39 37 23 25 N/A
Source: Royal Netherlands Meteorological Institute[20]

Demographics[edit]

Historical population
Year Pop.   ±%  
1899 299,602 —    
1930 392,436 +31.0%
1960 474,657 +21.0%
1965 497,472 +4.8%
1970 517,305 +4.0%
1975 536,106 +3.6%
1980 553,709 +3.3%
1985 561,119 +1.3%
1990 553,862 −1.3%
1995 557,995 +0.7%
2000 562,646 +0.8%
2005 575,072 +2.2%
2010 576,668 +0.3%
Source: CBS[21][22][23]

On 1 January 2014, the province of Groningen had a population of 582,640 and a population density of 196.8 /km2 (510 /sq mi), which make it the 9th most populous province and 8th most densily populated province of the Netherlands.[1][2] The city of Groningen is the most populous city in the province and the 7th most populous city in the Netherlands.

On 1 January 2013, 92.2% of the total provincial population was born in the Netherlands; and of the 7.8% that was born abroad, the ten most common foreign countries of origin are the neighbour Germany (1.09%), the former colonies and dependencies Indonesia (0.60%), Netherlands Antilles and Aruba (0.55%), Suriname (0.54%), and other countries Turkey (0.41%), Soviet Union (0.36%), China (0.32%), Poland (0,26%), Yugoslavia (0.26%), and United Kingdom (0.18%).[24]

In 1999, a 59% majority of the population of Groningen was not affiliated with any religion; 29% was Protestant (15% Reformed and 14% Dutch Reformed; since 2004 united in Protestant Church in the Netherlands), 7% was Roman Catholic (Diocese of Groningen-Leeuwarden), and 6% had another religion.[25]

Economy[edit]

The University Medical Center is a major employer in Groningen
Sea port of Delfzijl in 2012

The city of Groningen is the economic center of the province.[26] In the 14th century, the city became a member of the Hanseatic League.[3] Currently some of the city's major employers[26] are University Medical Center Groningen with 10,949 employees,[27] University of Groningen with 5,238 employees,[28] Municipality of Groningen with 3,485 employees,[29] Education Implementation Service (DUO) with 2,000 employees,[30] and Gasunie with 1,457 employees.[31]

The other economically important area is the Ems delta with the sea ports of Delfzijl and Eemshaven.[26][32] In 2012, a total of 9,199 cargo vessels arrived at the two Groningen Seaports combined, 4,593 sea vessels and 4,606 inland vessels. The ports had a cargo throughput of 8,705,000 tonnes.[33] The chemical industry near Delfzijl is located at the Chemie Park in Farmsum, with factories of AkzoNobel, Lubrizol, and Teijin Aramid.[34] Both GDF Suez[35] and Nuon Energy[36] have a natural gas-fired power plant in Eemshaven, and Essent[37] is building a coal-fired power plant there.

In 1959, the Groningen gas field near Slochteren was discovered,[38] and the NAM started to exploit the field in 1963.[10]

In 2013, Groningen had a labor force of 268 thousand people and unemployment rate of 9.6%, which is the second highest unemployment for a province in the Netherlands.[39]

Culture[edit]

Language[edit]

Groningen is home to the Low Saxon dialect called Gronings (Grönnegs / Grunnegs in Gronings regional language), In the eastern part of Friesland variations of the Groninger 'language' is spoken. Gronings has local nuances. Nowadays, many inhabitants of the province don't speak the dialect, especially in the city of Groningen where many outsiders have moved.

Museums[edit]

Groninger Museum in Groningen in 2006

Museumhuis Groningen is an umbrella organization for museums and other heritage organizations in the province of Groningen and has 58 members.[40][41] The Groninger Museum is the most visited museum in the province with 197,517 visitors (2013). The other museums and heritage organizations with more than 25 thousand visitors in 2013 are Fort Bourtange in Bourtange, Fraeylemaborg in Slochteren, Nederlands Stripmuseum in Groningen, Ter Apel Monastery in Ter Apel, and Noordelijk Scheepvaartmuseum in Groningen.[42]

Heritage sites[edit]

Sports[edit]

Euroborg is the home stadium of FC Groningen

FC Groningen from the city of Groningen is the only football club from the province in the Eredivisie.[43] Their home stadium Euroborg has a capacity of 22,550 seats.[44] In the 2012–2013 competition, FC Groningen became 7th of the 18 teams.[45] SC Veendam played in the Eerste Divisie, but filed for bankruptcy in 2013.[46]

The city of Groningen is also the base of basketball club GasTerra Flames, volleyball club Lycurgus, and korfball club Nic..[47]

The ice rink at the multi-sport center Kardinge in the city of Groningen is used for national speed skating championships, most recently the 2013 KNSB Dutch Sprint Championships.[48]

Government[edit]

Max van den Berg is the King's Commissioner in Groningen
Seat of the provincial government in the city of Groningen

A provincial government in the Netherlands consists of a Provincial Council, the directly elected legislative branch, and a Provincial Executive, the executive branch. The King's Commissioner, who is appointed by the national government, is chairman of both branches.[49] The Provincial Council of Groningen consists of 43 members and the Provincial Executive consists of the King's Commissioner and six deputies.[50] The government has its seat in the city of Groningen, which is the provincial capital.

Max van den Berg, member of the Labour Party (PvdA), is the King's Commissioner in Groningen since 2007.[49]

In the provincial elections of 2011, the Labour Party became the largest party with nearly 25% of the votes and 12 seats in the Provincial Council. The next three largest parties are the People's Party for Freedom and Democracy (VVD) and the Socialist Party (SP) with 6 seats each, and the Christian Democratic Appeal (CDA) with 5 seats.[51] In 2011, two months after the elections, the member of the Party for the North (PvhN) continued as an independent under the name Free Mandate.[52][53] The next provincial elections are planned for 18 March 2015.[54]

Following the 2011 elections, the Provincial Executive was formed by a coalition of the Labour Party, the People's Party for Freedom and Democracy, Democrats 66 (D66), and GreenLeft (GL).[55] In 2013, GreenLeft left the coalition and was replaced by the ChristianUnion (CU).[56] The Labour Party has three deputies, the other coalition parties have one deputy each.[57]

e • d  2011 provincial election[51]
Party Votes % +/- Seats +/-
Labour Party 65,542 24.88 -1.33 12 0
People's Party for Freedom and Democracy 34,701 13.17 +1.48 6 +1
Socialist Party 33,812 12.83 -3.08 6 -1
Christian Democratic Appeal 31,517 11.96 -7.42 5 -4
Democrats 66 20,515 7.79 +5.19 3 +2
Party for Freedom 20,373 7.73 +7.73 3 +3
ChristianUnion 19,999 7.59 -2.67 3 -1
GreenLeft 19,040 7.23 -0.38 3 0
Party for the North 8,312 3.2 -0.49 1 0
Party for the Animals 5,601 2.13 -0.03 1 0
50PLUS 4,056 1.54 +1.54 0 0
Total 263,468 100% 43

Transportation[edit]

Roads[edit]

The N7 expressway near the city of Groningen

In the province of Groningen, there are three national roads (Dutch: rijkswegen), which are maintained by Rijkswaterstaat.[58][59] The motorway A7 (E22) connects the city of Groningen with the provinces of Friesland and North Holland in the west and with Winschoten and Germany in the east. The motorway is interrupted for the ring road of the city of Groningen, where it is the expressway N7.[60] The motorway A28 (E232) starts at the city of Groningen and runs south connecting it with the provinces of Drenthe, Overijssel, Gelderland, and Utrecht.[61] The expressway N33 runs south from Eemshaven, via Appingedam and Veendam, to Drenthe.[62] Other roads are overseen by the province (N roads), municipalities, or water boards.[58]

Public transport[edit]

Railways in the northern provinces of the Netherlands in 2006 (without the Stadskanaal–Zuidbroek railway, which partially reopened in 2011)

Public transport falls under the rules for government procurement in the European Union. Tenders for regional bus and railway services are selected by the province of Groningen. Qbuzz is contracted for bus services in the period 2009–2015 and Arriva for railway services in the period 2005–2020.[63] Nederlandse Spoorwegen operates the railway services from Groningen railway station southward to Drenthe and beyond.

The railway network in the Netherlands is maintained by ProRail.[64] There are six railways located partially or entirely in the province of Groningen. The railway station Groningen connects several of these railways.[65]

Trajectory Railway stations in Groningen[65]
Groningen–Delfzijl GroningenGroningen NoordSauwerdBedumStedumLoppersumAppingedamDelfzijl WestDelfzijl
Harlingen–Nieuweschans FrieslandGrijpskerkZuidhornGroningenGroningen EuropaparkKropswoldeMartenshoekHoogezand-SappemeerSappemeer OostZuidbroekScheemdaWinschotenBad Nieuweschans
Ihrhove–Nieuweschans GermanyBad Nieuweschans
Meppel–Groningen DrentheHarenGroningen EuropaparkGroningen
Sauwerd–Roodeschool SauwerdWinsumBafloWarffumUsquertUithuizenUithuizermeedenRoodeschool
Stadskanaal–Zuidbroek VeendamZuidbroek

Airports[edit]

Groningen Airport Eelde is located in Eelde in the province of Drenthe

The international airport that serves Groningen is Groningen Airport Eelde, which is located in Eelde in the province of Drenthe. The airport is co-owned by the provinces of Groningen and Drenthe and the municipalities of Groningen, Assen, and Tynaarlo.[66] Its summer destinations are Antalya, Faro, Girona, Gran Canaria, Heraklion, Kos, Palma de Mallorca, and Tenerife. Its winter destinations are Innsbruck and Salzburg.[67] Starting on 5 June 2014, there will also be flights to London.[68] For other international destinations, Amsterdam Airport Schiphol is the nearest airport. The general aviation airports in the province are Oostwold Airport in Oostwold[69] and Stadskanaal Airfield in Stadskanaal.[70]

Science and education[edit]

Main building of the University of Groningen in the city of Groningen

The University of Groningen in the city of Groningen was founded in 1614[71] and is the only research university (universiteit) in the province. On 1 September 2013, it had 29,407 students and 5,238 full-time equivalent of staff members.[72] The university has ten faculties: Arts, Behavioural and Social Sciences, Economics and Business, Law, Mathematics and Natural Sciences, Medical Sciences, Philosophy, Spatial Sciences, Theology and Religious Studies, and University College Groningen.[73]

The Hanze University of Applied Sciences, the NHL University of Applied Sciences, and the Stenden University of Applied Sciences in the city of Groningen are the province's publicly funded universities of applied sciences (hogescholen).

Media[edit]

Dagblad van het Noorden is a regional daily newspaper based in the city of Groningen. It was founded in 2002 by merging Nieuwsblad van het Noorden, Groninger Dagblad, and Drentse Courant.[74] In 2013, the newspaper had a circulation of 117,028.[75]

RTV Noord is a regional public broadcaster of radio and television based in the city of Groningen, with Radio Noord and TV Noord.[76]

Notable residents[edit]

People from the province of Groningen:

Politics
Arts
Science
Sports
Other

References[edit]

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  10. ^ a b (Dutch) Aardbevingen door gaswinning in Noord-Nederland, Royal Netherlands Meteorological Institute, 2013. Retrieved on 27 January 2014.
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  17. ^ a b c d e "Kerncijfers wijken en buurten" [Key figures for neighbourhoods]. CBS Statline (in Dutch). CBS. 2 July 2013. Retrieved 12 March 2014. 
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