Groningen is a dynamic and welcoming city with lots of interesting places to visit. Many of these are famous, while others are less well known. As an insider, Peter tells us about his own favourite hot spots. Peter Sikkema (51) is the manager of the Eurosonic Noorderslag music festival in Groningen, and he has been living and working in the city for more than 25 years.
“Of course, the Martini Tower is synonymous with the city, and no wonder. The people of Groningen call it d’Olle Grieze and you can go up it. It’s quite a way to the top, but it’s definitely worth the climb as there’s a magnificent view of the city.
Groningen is an old Hanseatic town, so there are lots of beautiful warehouses, traditional gables and little courtyards to see. I can spend hours wandering through the narrow alleyways or along the canals, and I sometimes go into the courtyards at the Pelstergasthuis or the Pepergasthuis and have a look around. They’re so beautiful; it’s an oasis of peace there.”
A museum with character
“Groningen is such a delightful city, with the Grote Markt as its historic and picturesque focal point. But the Groninger Museum is our real pride and joy. It’s got so much character. The building is absolutely spectacular and they have fascinating exhibitions there, from fashion design to paintings.
And the Noorderlicht photo gallery (Fotogalerie Noorderlicht) is really special too. This is only a stone’s throw away from the Groninger Museum. Their exhibitions are always worth visiting, and they organise the International Photo Festival (Internationale Fotomanifestatie) every year too. This festival addresses social issues such as religion or the Palestinian question. It’s fantastic, but it’s also pretty confrontational sometimes.
If you’ve got children, you should definitely go to the Nederlands Stripmuseum. This museum is dedicated to Dutch comic strips and it’s great fun for adults too.”
The best coffee in town
“Da Vinci is one of my favourite restaurants. They serve traditional Sicilian country dishes there. The food’s delicious and the atmosphere is great. I also like the picturesque neighbourhood of the Kleine Kromme Elleboog and the Grote Kromme Elleboog. There are lots of little pubs and restaurants along these two old streets, so they’re definitely worth visiting as well.
“If you feel like a cup of really good coffee,
you should go to Black & Bloom. They serve the best coffee in town and they’ve got a tremendous selection of teas and coffees from all over the world. A cup of tea or coffee with a brownie is a truly fantastic experience!”
Trendy yet authentic
“There are so many lovely little shops in the city centre, on Folkingestraat for instance. You won’t find any big Dutch chain stores there, only authentic shops that are small and intimate. Ariola’s my favourite. This shop sells fresh Italian pasta, bread rolls and snacks. And Le Souk is another place I enjoy visiting. I love looking at all the mouthwatering North African and Arab delicacies they sell there.
For something completely different, try Woonn on Poelestraat. It’s a trendy interior design shop selling all kinds of lovely accessories which are reasonably priced too. Or if you prefer designer furniture, you can go to Maupertuus on the outskirts of the city. This furniture shop is absolutely fabulous.”
“If you want to soak up some culture, I can recommend my own Eurosonic Noorderslag.
Our focus is on tomorrow’s musical talent,
and more than 300 artistes perform at every edition. In fact, a lot of today’s famous musicians started their careers at our festival. George Ezra is one of them and he’s just had a big hit.
But my favourite spot of all is the Noorderplantsoen, which is a park near the city centre. There are always lots of people there, especially if the weather’s fine. You can have a picnic by one of the little lakes or just relax on the grass. It’s a great place to visit.”
At Hampshire Hotel – Groningen Centre, our guests can enjoy typical local products such as Groningen nut cake, Martini Tower liquorice and a selection of delicious fruit juices. A real treat!
If you’d like to stay at a hotel right in the middle of this bustling city and its places of interest, Hampshire Hotel – Groningen Centre and Hampshire City Hotel – Groningen are both located in Groningen’s historic city centre.
But if you prefer the quiet of the countryside, we recommend Hampshire Hotel – Plaza Groningen. This hotel is situated in beautiful rural surroundings on the edge of a lake, the Hoornse Meer.
If you’d like to explore Groningen, visit Hampshire Hotels – Groningen
If you’d like to take a closer look at Peter Sikkema’s tips, go to: www.groningermuseum.nl; www.noorderlicht.com; www.stripmuseum.nl; toerisme.groningen.nl; www.prinsenhof-groningen.nl; www.osteriadavinci.nl; blackandbloom.nl; www.facebook.com/AriolaFolkinge; www.winkellesouk.nl; www.woonn.nl; www.vosinterieur.nl