Groningen by night - A vital idyll

Groningen by night – A vital idyll

I am about to let you in on a secret. But before I do, I want to you to promise me you will not believe me on my word, but try your absolute best to see for yourself. Because what I am going to tell you is something that is laughed upon by the big cities of the world. Amsterdam giggles, London snorts, and Los Angeles dismisses, but I am going to introduce you to the greatest city on the planet: Groningen.

If you would ask any native from a large urban part of the Netherlands about Groningen they’ll laugh at you and call you silly. After all, there’s nothing but farmers, cows, and flat meadows. A lot of nothing, and certainly not worth any of your precious time – you better visit Amsterdam, they have plumbing and Wi-Fi. But if you have ever been to Amsterdam you know how easy it is to get lost and how long it can take to find your way back. Won’t you rather go to a smaller city that is just as vibrant and allows you to literally party until the sun comes up? Thought so. Welcome to Groningen.

Student Head Quarters (but suitable for all)

Groningen is an incredibly young city. About one third of the population is student and because of the city’s small-town vibe, many young couples settle here to start a family. Due to the young population, Groningen is vibrant and constantly changing. The city was recently awarded with the title ‘best event city of The Netherlands’ and whether you enjoy movies, theater, visual arts, music, food or even innovation and sustainability – we have an event for it.

Best place for sipping on local beers and looking out onto the Martini Tower: The Grote Markt

Best place for sipping on local beers and looking out onto the Martini Tower: The Grote Markt

There are countless coffee bars, often filled with students of the University vividly describing their weekends. On sunny days you will see those same students hanging out on one of the many terraces of the Grote Markt, sipping on local beers looking out onto the Martini Tower, before getting back to class. Everything is in walking distance: the shopping street, the party street, the cultural venues, the historical sights, and the train station are within a circle of 20 minutes. Don’t even bother coming by car. Groningen is best explored by foot. Or bike…if you dare.

Bowie was will be here

After Sao Paulo, Chicago, Melbourne and a handful of other metropolitans, the unique exhibition featuring original objects from the DAVID BOWIE Archive, is coming to Groningen this December. And they say nothing ever happens here. If you are in the city early 2016 (and you will be, after reading this report), make sure to get a ticket for this unique exhibition.

If BOWIE did not make it clear, let me tell you, Groningen is really into music. Every January there is the biggest European showcasing festival for new musical talent. EUROSONIC NOORDERSLAG has been the stepping stone for artists such as HOZIER, JAMES BAY and BASTILLE.

The biggest European showcasing festival for new musical talent: Eurosonic Norderslaag (photo by Mike Breeuwer)

Groningen is home to the biggest European showcasing festival for new musical talent: The Eurosonic Norderslaag (photo by Mike Breeuwer)

If you are in the city at another time, fear not. There is always something good going on. Whether you want to catch some great live music, a good cult movie or just dance the night away then visit Vera. Vera is an underground pop club that has been around for a while. U2 played there back in the day, a concert that was largely booed upon at the time, but that is something we collectively ignore. So I should say, U2 played there once. But whoever you’ll see at Vera, chances are you’ll run in to them later, when you’re dancing the night away the Warhol.

A Groningen Mixtape

In a city where music is such a big deal, you can understand a lot of good music is made locally.

01. The Blind Roofers

This band has a little bit of all. Folk, blues and rock are prominent in most of their songs. The band said that they link their music to the sound of the Mississippi Delta, but because the band is based on a street called Damsterdiep, they dubbed it Damster Delta.

02. Vikings in Tibet

For lovers of the dreamy atmospheric sound, there is VIKINGS IN TIBET. If you are interested in the Groningen club scene don’t be surprised if you find yourself dancing to a remix of one of their songs.

03. View for a Day

If you loved the alternative sound of the early 2000s, VIEW FOR A DAY will send you along memory lane. Their alternative rock songs remind of bands like YELLOWCARD and DASHBOARD CONFESSIONAL.

04. Orange Skyline

Looking for something cheery and catchy? Look no further. ORANGE SKYLINE makes pop songs that remind us of the 1960s, but with a danceable rock and roll twist. If this song gets stuck in your head, it’s not our fault.