The province provides much to see from former centuries, such as Groningen estate houses, a monastery, churches, and mills ... A wonderful opportunity to go back in time!
The most important Groningen monument is the Martini tower which has overlooked the city for over five hundred years. This fourth highest tower of the Netherlands can be climbed until the third gallery, during which visitors can also communicate with the tower via their mobile telephones! Afterwards, see the Martini church, the largest church in Groningen. Originating from approximately 1230, it includes frescos from the 13th century, and one of the largest Baroque organs in northwest Europe. Ask about the church’s opening hours prior to your visit.
The Groningen main railway station has more on offer besides getting on or off a train. This is the “cathedral of the winged wheel”’, the entrance gate for the city as well as an extremely important monument. When standing in the main hall, imagine yourself a traveller from the 19th century: admire shelters for various classes, leaded windows, beautifully decorated ceilings and the six metre-high wrought iron streetlight in the centre.
During recent years, Radio/TV Noord was accommodated in the Prinsenhof, but they moved a short while ago. Originally used as a monastery, a suitable function for this complex is now being looked for. Behind the Prinsenhof is the Prinsenhoftuin, which includes a rose garden and herb garden, and a footpath covered with foliage (berceau). The garden, surrounded by a wall, is one of the best examples of a Renaissance garden in the Netherlands. The Prinsenhoftuin garden is opened from early April to half-October from 10 am to sunset. The tearoom is open during fine weather.
Groningen was also an important commercial centre in earlier days, as is proven by the numerous warehouses that have been retained in and around the city centre. Fine examples are found in the so-called A-kwartier (district) in particular. The Groningen harbour used to be located at the Hoge der A. As from the 12th century, buildings functioning as houses or warehouses arose here. Nowadays, most of the more than two hundred warehouses function as dwelling houses.
Have you discovered them yet? Those unruly monuments hidden in the Groningen countryside? Only 16 remain of a total of 200 Groningen estate houses. Many Groningen estate houses were built as stone houses in the 13th and 14th century, but through the course of time underwent many changes from refuges in severe times to fancy homes for the wealthy. These castles of the north are sturdy strongholds of great beauty.
Churches are important landmark elements in the Groningen countryside. With their austere architecture, modest interiors and famous organs, they testify to the province’s rich cultural past. Not only are these striking little churches valuable monuments; many of them are venues for regular concerts and exhibitions, in addition to religious services. Visit the beautiful church in Oostum, within cycling distance of Groningen in the direction of Garnwerd, the impressive Nicolai church in Appingedam dating from 1225, or the church of farmer Harkema. Most churches are open to the public; keys can often be obtained from neighbours, allowing you to walk straight in.
Bourtange takes you back to the year 1742 when the bulwark was completed. The old houses in the village are now used as museums, providing an image of 18th century life in the fortified town.