Don't miss summertime in Groningen!
|Date:||07 September 2017|
After a year's worth of hard work, cranking out essays and studying for exams until you start dreaming about your textbook, it’s finally time for summer! If you’re anything like me, you’ve been looking forward to the summer break since at least February. The weather’s nice, people are happy and best of all, no exams or essays to worry about! During my four years in Groningen, I’ve found that the city and its surroundings are alive as ever during summer, from the adorable baby seals on the Wadden to the vibrant city to the awesome concerts and festivals.
One of the best ways to stay in the loop of modern art and culture is the Noorderzon Festival. Hosted in (in my humble opinion) the best park in the city, “Het Noorderplantsoen”, Noorderzon offers the amazing combination of a cutting-edge international arts festival and a large-scale summer fest for 135,000 visitors. Taking place over a ten-day period in August, you can pick ahead of time what parts of the festival you want to visit. If you’re around and Noorderzon is coming to the city, make sure you don’t miss it!
Speaking of the Noorderplantsoen, it’s one of my favourite spots in Groningen. It's gorgeous ponds and lush fields of grass are inviting as ever in the summertime. For starters, the Noorderplantsoen is my place to go for a morning run. There are hardened forest tracks to use without having to watch out for cars or cyclists and steep hills when I really want to challenge myself. At other times, I like to take a book, sit under a tree and enjoy the summer breeze while reading. When I look around, the Noorderplantsoen is always full of life: people catching up with their friends while sitting in the grass, outdoor yoga group sessions and sporters using the basketball or soccer court for exercise.
If you haven’t got any specific plans for the day, “Vismarkt” and the “Grote Markt”, two plazas where markets are held twice weekly. When the sun’s out and the weather is nice, shopping around on the market and enjoying a snack (You gotta try the fried fish, trust me!) is definitely one of the better ways to spend your time.
Of course, your summer isn’t confined to the city itself, there is a lot to explore and experience if you venture just outside Groningen. Just north of the city lie the Wadden, the biggest and one of the best-known nature reserves in the Netherlands. My best memories of the Wadden include cycling around the Wadden Islands, taking a seal-spotting boat tour and windsurfing on the lakes. However, if I were to pick one thing you should absolutely do, it's paying a visit to the baby seal (because who doesn’t love baby seals?) shelter in Pieterburen.
As much as I appreciate Groningen and its surroundings, I also like to see the world beyond what’s just around the corner. Groningen has excellent connections to virtually anyplace in Europe. Fly to major European cities from the nearby Eelde airport or take the train to Schiphol Airport in Amsterdam and fly to anywhere in the world. I’ve had amazing travel experiences to London, Barcelona, Rome and Paris, and none were more than three hours away.
Whatever you’re doing come summertime, don’t miss the joys Groningen has to offer!