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Official start of Siege of Groningen celebrations

21 June 2022
Photographer: Dirk Fennema. From the colllection of the University Library

On 28 August 2022, it will be 350 years since the city of Groningen, including the University, escaped a great calamity. The troops of ‘Bommen Berend’ (Bernhard von Galen, the Bishop of Münster) withdrew after a siege and continuous bombardment that had lasted for weeks.

The events of the ‘Disaster Year’ of 1672 will be commemorated and celebrated in Groningen, including at the UG. Several events will be organized at the University, including exhibitions in the University Library, a symposium, and an alumni reunion day.


The celebrations will begin on Thursday 23 June with a number of exhibitions at the University Library on the siege and role played by students and professors. Rector Magnificus Cisca Wijmenga will officially open the celebrations. The exhibition De Groninger Academie & Groningens Ontzet (‘The Groningen Academy & the Seige of Groningen’), held on the third floor, will display authentic, historical material from the Library’s Special Collections. In addition, large-format reproductions of maps, pamphlets, and portraits from 1672 and beyond about the Siege will be displayed in the library stairwells. Moreover, an online exhibition will tell the story of the role that professors and students played in the liberation of the city, including the speech that the former Rector Magnificus gave not even one week after the Siege.

The exhibitions will be on display until 30 October 2022 and admission is free.

Photographer: Dirk Fennema. From the colllection of the University Library
Photographer: Dirk Fennema. From the colllection of the University Library

Humanity Hits video

During the opening of the exhibitions, the short film Humanity Hit 3: Groningens Ontzet (‘Humanity Hit 3: the Siege of Groningen’) will be screened. The film revolves around the speech given by the professor of eloquence in November 1672, in which he celebrates the triumph of Groningen and the part played by the academic community. The video can also been watched online.

Public symposium

Whoever would like to know more about the Siege of Groningen is invited to attend the symposium Verzet en vrijheid: Het Groningens Ontzet van 1672 en de Universiteit (‘Resistance and freedom: the 1672 Siege of Groningen and the University’), held in the Aula of the Academy Building on 27 August from 3 to 4.30 p.m. The programme includes four lectures and musical performances:

  • Niet alleen Groningen: De veldtocht van Bernard van Galen en de rol van de Duitse grensregio’s (‘Not only Groningen: the campaign by Bernhard von Galen and the role of the German border regions’) – Dr Benjamin van der Linde
  • Bommen Berend als agressor en het nieuws van 1672 (‘Bommen Berend as an aggressor and the news of 1672’) – Dr Joop Koopmans
  • “Groningen constant/ Behout van ’t lant”: reacties op het ontzet (‘“Groningen constant/Behout van ’t lant”: responses to the Siege’) – Dr Judith Brouwer
  • De academische gemeenschap in staat van beleg: De Groningse universiteit in 1672 (‘The academic community under siege: Groningen’s university in 1672’) – Dr Arjen Dijkstra

The symposium is free to attend, however registration is compulsory.

Academy Building open to the public

On 27 August, it will also be possible to walk into the Academy Building. The building will be freely accessible to the public all day. Various rooms will be open for visitors, including the Aula, the Senate Room, and the Heymans Room. An I-Shop pop-up store will be set up in the hall specially for the occasion. The pop-up store will offer various themed gifts, such as reproductions of prints from 1672, a postcard set, and a limited edition Siege of Groningen jigsaw puzzle designed by Frans Leroux.

Alumni reunion day

On 27 August, an alumni reunion day will also be held. Special activities will be organized for alumni, such as a city tour led by Beno Hofman through the alumni’s former student city and a big dinner held on the Academieplein.

Further information

  • All UG activities (also on the festival weekend of 26, 27, and 28 August) are listed on
  • All information about the University Library exhibitions can be found on the UB website .
  • All activities in the context of the 350th anniversary of the Siege of Groningen, organized by the Royal Society for Public Entertainment Groningen (de Koninklijke Vereniging voor Volksvermaken Groningen), the Municipality of Groningen, the Groninger Museum, and other organizations, are listed on
Last modified:30 January 2024 09.48 a.m.
View this page in: Nederlands

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