Groningen Province, The Netherlands

Province of Groningen - Map of the NetherlandsThe province of Groningen is a part of the Dutch mainland situated most to the North and a few small islands in the Frisian archipelago (Rottumerplaat, Rottumeroog, Zuiderstrand, and Simonszand).

Its capital, which gave the name to the province – Groningen is a big and active city, the seat of the powerful energy company exploiting natural gas from the North Sea as well from the Dutch mainland - Gausnie. The company’s headquarters, a huge modern building by the Dutch architects Alberts and van Huut, in view of its authors an example of an "organic architecture" is called by the locals "apenrots" (the rock of apes).

The center of Groningen has been preserved. Its attraction lays in a contrast between old and new. An important museum – Groninger Museum housed in a complex modern structure by an Italian architect Alessandro Mendini is worth a 150 km trip from Amsterdam. It has an interesting collection of modern art as well as archeological artifacts and Old Dutch Golden age art shown in a context of interesting, modern architecture. Again, contrast between old and new so characteristic for this city may be felt.

The North of the province called Hoogeland, is an area Dutch people go on holiday, because of its protected natural reserves, perfect for walks and water sports. Nearby a famous crèche for the seals in Pieterburen can be visited.

The Groningen Province became rich early in the Golden Age through its agricultural produce. Today old, big farms dating from this period called ´herenboerderijen´ (farms of lords) as well as defensive castles called ´borgen´(castles), define the landscape of the province of Groningen.

At the East South of the Groningen province, near the border with Germany, a beautiful small town – Bourtange is worth a visit. It has been built inside the mighty fortress, which was to defend the Netherlands against much bigger and stronger neighbour.