A touch of the Dutch

Groningen, the seventh largest city in Netherlands, was recently in news because its university is celebrating its 400th birthday in May.

Home to two universities, Groningen is where dialysis machine was invented by physician Dr Willem Kolff in 1943.

It is where Daniel Bernoulli, the physicist known for his work in fluid mechanics, was born.

A two-hour train journey from Schiphol Airport in Amsterdam takes one to the Groningen Central Railway Station.

An old Victorian building opened in June 1866, this station is remarkable for the works of art displayed on its walls and ceiling.

Outside the station is a canal which surrounds the city.

A short walk after crossing the canal takes one direct to the historic city centre, which is dominated by the tower of Martini Church.

Named after Saint Martini, this church was built in 13th century.

It was renovated and extended over a period of time.

The church tower, built in 1482, is over 300 feet high and is the tallest structure in Groningen.

The church is built out of bricks and sandstone and is the most famous landmark of Groningen.

Being a trade centre in 3rd century, Groningen was quite powerful in Europe in olden times.

Opposite Martini Church lies the main market square Grote Markt. Close by is another market square, ‘fish market’. Numerous shops and restaurants are located in this cobblestoned area.

Every Sunday a colourful weekly ‘shandy’ (market) takes place in the open area here.

The Grote Markt is also the place where various music/drama festivals are held.

The City Hall building, which dominates Grote Markt, is an imposing structure.

In April 1945, during World War II, this area was severely damaged. However, one small building called Goud Kantoor (meaning ‘gold office’), close to the City Hall, survived.

This iconic building, built in 1635, is supposedly the oldest building in Groningen. This building now houses a popular pub.

The pride of Groningen, Rijksuniversiteiet Groningen, has its administrative and academic offices in many buildings across the city.

The main building housing the administrative block was built in 1846, in the same place where centuries-old building stood from 1614.

When this building was completely destroyed in a fire in 1906, the present building in the same style as earlier was built.

The University Museum located nearby has been popular amongst the visitors to Groningen. Another popular museum is the Netherland Strip Museum.

This Cartoon Museum, opened in 2004, is frequented by children and adults alike.

Groningen now throbs with students who are found furiously cycling all over the town.

In every respect, Groningen is a pretty Dutch city bubbling with energetic students.

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