Groningen is all about variation, and each region has its own distinctive countryside and character. Join us on an exploratory exhibition into seven wonderful Groningen sights.
Wadden Sea area: like the starry sky
Bird-watchers immediately become wildly enthusiastic when they hear the name Lauwersmeer. This national park has water, small islands and rugged grasslands where over a hundred bird species breed and tens of thousands of geese winter. The bird feast is at its peak in spring and autumn. And there is more to the Wadden area: villages, farms and ancient Groningen estate houses dot the open land between the Lauwersmeer and Wadden Sea, which ensures a magical view. In addition, the Wadden Sea area is a nature reserve of world-class, and UNESCO has designated the Wadden Sea as a World Heritage site. Thanks to this status, the fact that the Wadden Sea is of special importance to our planet is acknowledged worldwide.
Westerkwartier: On both sides of the Van Starkenborghkanaal
The entire history of The Netherlands becomes visible in the Westerkwartier countryside: boulders from the Ice Age; moorland that developed when temperatures went up after the Ice Ages; heathland that developed after our ancestors excavated the moorland; and pastures where the heath was ploughed for farmland. Almost every square metre of this countryside was man-made, and the vast and empty area north of the Van Starkenborgh channel is among the oldest man-made landscapes in the Netherlands.
Eemsdelta: churches, lakes and Groningen estate houses
Farms and Groningen estate houses are beacons in this countryside, which is entirely open at the Wadden Sea coast with its grasslands, meandering ditches, winding dykes under high skies and cow parsley in spring. And then there are the wierden , artificial dwelling hills Dutch forebears made from clay, manure and waste. Most of these are adorned with a small ancient church.
Central Groningen: Countryside and culture
In former days, this area used to be one huge scenic area consisting of marshes, peat wooded areas and numerous pools and lakes. On the sand ridge are historic monuments and special gardens and park wooded areas. The sandy subsoil allows for an extremely varied vegetation, where trees have grown since time immemorial. There are special examples, such as the Komhasterbos wooded area and the park wooded area on the Fraeylemaborg country estate. The former marsh and watery area can be rediscovered in places such as in the Roegwold scenic area.
Oldambt: Tranquil and colourful
In the main farmland in the Netherlands, potatoes and corn is grown in addition to colza, colouring the land yellow in spring. In addition to farmland, Oldambt has countryside as well, and the Island of Winschoten still has its distinctive lateral moraines. The Hondhalstermeer in the middle of orchards and large farmhouses can be reached by canoe only.
The Peat District: The riches of the peat
Until the 17th century, there were vast peat moors south-east of Groningen that extended far across the German border, and the landscape changed permanently after the peat was extracted. A firm pattern of canals and districts was laid out, with dozens of bridges and sluices. The 19th century was a Golden Age, and numerous sawmills, shipbuilding yards and factories were constructed. The historic houses along the canals indicate the wealth of those days.
Westerwolde: Area with heathland, wooded areas and meandering roads
Anyone who would be dropped off in Westerwolde blindfolded would have a hard time believing that this is Groningen. Westerwolde is an area with meandering paths, heathland, wooded areas, pools and small pastures between tree belts. And this is where you find the Ruiten Aa stream valley, a wonderful river that was once straightened and today is allowed to run freely again. This magnificent river is the very spine of Westerwolde.