Bruce Springsteen released a song entitled “my home town” in 1984, during which time mine was Groningen, the largest city in northern Holland. Groningen is notable for its size (6th in the Netherlands) but also for the important role it plays in this area of Holland. With more than 50’000 students out of a population of 200’000, Groningen is clearly a University town.
This focus on youth and learning makes Groningen the natural hub for cultural events and a centre for retail in the north, making it a regular destination for residents of the surrounding areas.
If you go to visit Groningen, I would certainly recommend to visit the Groninger Museum, located in the water in front of the train/bus station. And if you walk straight on to the city centre, you will pass the Folkingestraat. This street has recently been awarded as the ‘nicest shopping street in the Netherlands’.
Groningen is famous for its events, such as the flower market on Good Friday, the Noorderzon Festival in August and Groningen’s Relief (Gronings Ontzet) on August 28. But it is also a vibrant city without events and festival and certainly worthwhile your visit.
A welcome center has opened up at the end of 2014. People from abroad who will live in (the bigger region of) Groningen are welcome there for their local registration and will receive their residence permits there.
While Groningen will always have a place in my heart, I have lived in Haarlem for many years now and it has succeeded in attaining the status of my “second home town”!