I consider myself a nature photographer. Many of my posts here on my blog are about nature and natural phenomena. But sometimes, things change and I shoot something completely different. Just to keep things interesting, so to say. A few weeks ago, I had some business in The Netherlands. So a jump over the pond it was.
Luckily I didn’t have to jump this by myself, a nice Airbus 320 helped a little.
Once arrived in the Netherlands, I found a place to stay not too far away from my destination. The destination was a small village in the middle of cattle fields. No way I could stay there. So I went to the nearest city I could find: Groningen.
I was born and raised in Leeuwarden, the capital of Friesland, some 50 kilometres away from there. As kids, we were always in competition with the city of Groningen. Groningen had a university, but Leeuwarden did not. But in Leeuwarden, apart from Dutch, we spoke a real language, Frisian, and in Groningen, they only spoke some dialect. Even the high school teachers that lived in Groningen were kind of a second class compared to the ones living in Friesland.
Needless to say, there was a big rivalry between the two cities and provinces. As a result of that, I never really got the incentive to go and have a closer look at Groningen. Until a few weeks ago. My parents lived in Leeuwarden, any time I went to see them in the past 40 years, it was never in Groningen.
Inside Groningen Main station
So this time, I wanted to discover a little of this city. Funny enough, even at my age, I still felt like an intruder. A kind of “traitor” to Leeuwarden. Ridiculous, right? So I decided to make the most of it. Since I did not know the city at all, I let myself be dropped off at the main train station and walked from there. The above picture is a glance inside the station. The outside was “marred” by tower cranes for the construction and reconstruction of the station.
View on the Aa Kerk (church)
The city center was not far away from there and the weather seemed to hold for a while. Groningen is an old city, the first document to mention Groningen is a gift letter (no, not a gift certificate) from the German king Hendrik III in 1040. The city is thus much older. Leeuwarden has the same type of document dating from the 8th century and is also a lot older. But I digress.
The city centre was holding a market where you can buy anything you need as far as food and small household articles go. Once through the marketplace, the famous Martini Tower showed up. I was always under the impression that it was a huge building, but it was smaller than I had imagined. I decided to go and shoot it from the nearby “Forum”, a new construction for many cultural events. The main picture of this post is the result.
The Forum is a radically modern building full of activities and things to see. My time was somewhat limited, so I didn’t see all of it. It reminded me of the Centre Pompidou in Paris, France.
Inside the Forum
The Forum is a high building, but luckily (luck has nothing to do with it) getting high up is without any effort
The main transportation method in bigger cities in the Netherlands is the bicycle. There are a LOT of them around. Around the train station are complete “parking lots” for bicycles alone.
There is much more to see and tell about the city of Groningen, but I had run out of time. I think I’ll be back one day.
What I know now is that whenever you end up in The Netherlands, don’t limit yourself to a trip to the Red Light District in Amsterdam, there is much more to see and do in this little country.
Until next time…