Groningen is a historically significant city in the Netherlands, founded almost a thousand years ago in 1040. Groningen, thanks to its location, can be called a northern metropolis. The city was built on a small sandy hill in the Hondsrug area, 9 meters above sea level. In the 14th century, Groningen began to take on the appearance of a city, wooden buildings gradually began to be replaced by stone ones.
Groningen is located in the north-east of the country, in the heart of an agriculturally important region that supplies the country with milk, meat, potatoes and sugar beets. The city attracts with its spaciousness, beauty and serenity of country life and a variety of opportunities for active and relaxing recreation. In addition, Groningen has ideal conditions for sea and land trade.
In the fourteenth century, Groningen became a member of the Hanseatic Trade Union (1282-1669), which included merchants and companies, mainly from Germany, Scandinavia, Russia (Novgorod), England, Poland, the Baltic States and the Netherlands. During the period of religious wars (1568-1648) Groningen became part of the Netherlands, and the Netherlands (then called the "Seven United Provinces"), gained independence from the Spanish Kingdom and formed one of the first republics in Europe. In 1672 Groningen withstood the onslaught of the army of the German bishop; since then this event has been celebrated every year on 28 August. From 1795 to 1813, Groningen was ruled by the French crown. Since 1813, the Oranje dynasty has ruled the Netherlands. On April 30, when the country celebrates Queen"s Day, orange can be seen everywhere. From May 1940 to April 1945 Groningen was occupied by Nazi Germany, May 5 is celebrated as the Day of Liberation from German Occupation. A day earlier, on May 4, the Day of Remembrance is held – the day of remembrance of those killed during the war.
The symbols of the city are a white-green-white flag and a double-headed eagle. The city council has 39 members from 10 parties. The municipality is headed by five deputy mayors, the majority are representatives of left-wing parties from four different organizations. The Mayor, Mr. Revinkel is the chairman of the city council and the head of local government.
Groningen is an important administrative center in the north of the Netherlands; in terms of population (180,000 people), it is in eighth place in the list of the largest cities in the country. At the beginning of the 20th century, Groningen declared itself as the third most important commercial and industrial city in the country. Urban infrastructure and features of the region contribute to the successful development of entrepreneurship. The developed transport network provides communication with all parts of the country, as well as with Germany (highways A28 and A7). The presence of an airport, railway and three important seaports at Delfseil, Eemshaven and Lauversoog make Groningen an attractive platform for the development of international relations. The employed population of Groningen is 134,000, of which 35,000 live in the suburbs. The unemployed population is 8,000 people (7.6%). The unemployment rate in the country is 5, four%. Most of the residents of Groningen work at the university, university hospital and trade organizations.
Groningen is a city of unity in diversity. In the suburb of Beijum, 89 different nationalities peacefully coexist. In 2011, Groningen celebrated "Pink Saturday" – on this day, men and women of non-traditional sexual orientation expressed their right to self-identification.
Groningen has a rich scientific and cultural life. In 1612, the provincial authorities issued a decree on the founding of the Scientific University (Scientific Academy), which was an important step in the history of both the city itself and the province of the same name. The University of Groningen (State Science University) is important not only on a provincial scale, but also on a national and global scale. Groningen is known as a student city, the University of Groningen is one of the most prestigious educational institutions. The city also has a University of Applied Sciences, a School of Fine Arts and Design, an Academy of Music and many other educational institutions. In total, both universities have 53,000 students offering 175 study programs.
The University of Applied Sciences (Hanse University) is the largest higher education institution in the northern part of the country. Students, including those from other countries, can choose any of more than 70 educational programs from almost any field. The nine faculties of the State Science University are located in more than 150 buildings throughout the city and the surrounding area. State University of Groningen is the third largest university in the country after Amsterdam and Utrecht. Groningen is rightfully considered the "youngest" city in the Netherlands, as, thanks to the large number of students, half of its population is under 35 years old. As a university city, Groningen is also known as a center for the development of research, energy development, information technology, innovation and entrepreneurship. In other words,
Art is highly valued in Groningen, and therefore real talent always finds support here. Every year Groningen hosts festivals such as the Eurosonic Pop Festival, the Noordelicht Photography Festival and the Noorderzon Performing Arts Festival. In the numerous museums of the city, everyone will surely find something new and surprising for themselves. Every year, about 500,000 people visit theaters, 975,000 – cinemas, 313,000 – visit city museums, 107,000 – visit the Martini Tower or take river boat excursions.
The architecture of Groningen is striking in its beauty. In the last quarter of the 20th century, a course was taken to create a “compact city” with an emphasis on the universal character of the urban center. Groningen offers a variety of opportunities for life, work, play and recreation. It is a city with a rich history that has left its mark in almost every corner of it. The Grote Markt is known for a large number and variety of shops and boutiques, where even the most discerning buyer will find everything he needs. Bazaars open three times a week in two central squares of the city – the Grote Markt and Wismarkt. You can relax after a hard day in one of the many cafes, pubs or restaurants.
Groningen has won several awards, such as Best City in the Netherlands (2006 and 2007), Best City for Cyclists (2002), and Safest City in the Netherlands (2004).
The population of Groningen is growing – in 2010 its number was 187 622 people. Such high demographic indicators are achieved by a continuous flow of migration and a high birth rate.
Many of Groningen"s students contribute to the city"s development through their innovative ideas, ingenuity and open-mindedness.
Number of residents aged 0-24 years – 67,000
Number of residents aged 24-64 years – 99,000
The number of residents aged 65 and over is 21,000.
The average expenditure part of income per capita is 17,900 euros, for a family – 27,500 euros.
The municipal budget of Groningen for 2011 is 786 million euros, 25% of which is directed to social security and employee benefits, 18% – to education, 17% – for the reconstruction of the city, 7% – for the development of culture and sports, 6% – for needs healthcare, 6% for economic development and 20% for other needs.
In June 1989 Groningen became the sister city of Murmansk. These relations are based on joint educational, medical, social, cultural and economic projects and are regulated by representative services in both cities. During this period, friendly relations between the cities brought thousands of people closer.
The Mayor of Groningen is Mr. Cohen Schuiling.
Official website of Groningen: