Groningen is the capital city and main municipality of Groningen province in the Netherlands. The capital of the north, Groningen is the largest place as well as the economic and cultural centre of the northern part of the country; as of December 2021, it had 235,287 inhabitants, making it the sixth largest city/municipality in the Netherlands and the second largest outside the Randstad.

Akerk Groningen

Groningen was established more than 950 years ago and gained city rights in 1245.Due to its relatively isolated location from the then successive Dutch centres of power (Utrecht, The Hague, Brussels), Groningen was historically reliant on itself and nearby regions. As a Hanseatic city, it was part of the North German trade network, but later it mainly became a regional market centre. At the height of its power in the 15th century, Groningen could be considered an independent city-state and it remained autonomous until the French era.

Today Groningen is a university city, home to some of the country’s leading higher education institutes; University of Groningen (Rijksuniversiteit Groningen), which is the Netherlands’s second oldest university (1614), and Hanze University of Applied Sciences (Hanzehogeschool Groningen). Students comprise an estimated 25% of its total population and makes it the country’s demographically youngest city.

Here is a photographic impression of the city of Groningen.