2_3_DiscoverBenelux_Issue14_January2015_Scan Magazine 1 26/01/2015 19:14 Page 20
Discover Benelux | Travel Feature | Groningen
DI S COV E R
NE THE R L A NDS
Groningen: Metropolis of the North Despite its size, Groningen is one of the most vibrant cities in the Netherlands, from cosy restaurants to a shopping hub, a lively cultural scene and a long, and impressive history. Close to my heart – as a long time inhabitant of this great place, just a couple of hours from Amsterdam – I set out to show you some of the best this Metropolis of the North has to offer. BY MYRIAM GWYNNED DIJCK | PHOTOS: NBTC
Thanks to its large and distinguished university, Groningen is actually the youngest city in the Netherlands, with an average age of just under 35 years. This is no surprise, as one in five inhabitants is actually a student. This young population gives Groningen a very active nightlife – famous for having no closing times – and a vibrant and diverse cultural and music scene. To start off my two-day journey, I take the train into Groningen. Welcomed by the magnificent station building built in 1895, I marvel at the intricate details on the ceiling of the main hall. Although it looks like marble, many are actually crafted out of paper mache. With the combination of renais-
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sance and gothic architecture, the station is one of the most beautiful in the country.
with world famous artists, from paintings to installations, interactive art and sculptures.
The Groninger Museum
Inside I walk down the colourful mosaic, winding staircase to visit The Secret of Dresden – from Rembrandt to Canaletto. On display until the end of May, it is a beautiful collection of renaissance paintings amassed by the Prince-Electors of Saxony in the 18th century, at the time some of the wealthiest rulers in Europe. The exhibition includes lush landscapes by Philips Wouwerman, animated views of Venice by Canaletto and some refined portraits by Rembrandt.
I move on to the Groninger Museum, just across the road. Completed in 1994 in a striking postmodernist style, the building itself is a work of art. The asymmetrical museum by architect Alessandro Mendini sits like an island in the middle of the canal, connected by a through bridge. When it opened it got mixed reactions (many thought it was god-awful), but everyone agreed the bridge, joining the city centre to the station, was rather useful. A very ambitious museum since its opening, it often displays prominent international exhibitions
I continue on to the museum’s permanent collection that includes a brief history of
Promoting Belgium, The Netherlands, Luxembourg and France.