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Groningen (province)

From Wikipedia, the free encyclopedia

Anthem: "Grönnens Laid"
"Song of Groningen"
Location of Groningen in the Netherlands
Location of Groningen in the Netherlands
Coordinates: 53°15′N 6°44′E / 53.250°N 6.733°E / 53.250; 6.733
(and largest city)
 • King's CommissionerRené Paas (CDA)
 • Total2,960 km2 (1,140 sq mi)
 • Land2,325 km2 (898 sq mi)
 • Water635 km2 (245 sq mi)
Area rank7th
 (29 February 2020)
 • Total586,309[1]
 • Rank9th
 • Density198/km2 (510/sq mi)
 • Density rank9th
Time zoneUTC+1 (CET)
 • Summer (DST)UTC+2 (CEST)
ISO 3166 codeNL-GR
HDI (2018)0.929[3]
very high · 5th

Groningen (Dutch pronunciation: [ˈɣroːnɪŋə(n)] (About this soundlisten); Gronings: Grunn; West Frisian: Grinslân) is the northeasternmost province of the Netherlands. It borders on Friesland to the west, Drenthe to the south, the German state of Lower Saxony to the east, and the Wadden Sea to the north. As of November 2019, Groningen had a population of 585,881[4] and a total area of 2,960 km2 (1,140 sq mi).

The area was subsequently part of Frisia, the Frankish Empire, the Holy Roman Empire, and the Dutch Republic, which is the precursor state of the Netherlands. In the 14th century, the city of Groningen became a member of the Hanseatic League.

The provincial capital and the largest city in the province is the city of Groningen (231,299 inhabitants[5]). Since 2016, René Paas has been the King's Commissioner in the province. A coalition of GroenLinks, the Labour Party, ChristianUnion, People's Party for Freedom and Democracy, Democrats 66, and Christian Democratic Appeal forms the executive branch. The province is divided into 23 municipalities.

The land is mainly used for agriculture. There are seaports in Delfzijl and Eemshaven. The Groningen gas field was discovered in 1959. The province is home to the University of Groningen and Hanze University of Applied Sciences.


1652 map of the city of Groningen and the surrounding fortifications
1652 map of the city of Groningen and the surrounding fortifications
Canadian soldiers during the Battle of Groningen in April 1945
Canadian soldiers during the Battle of Groningen in April 1945

Groningen was originally a part of Frisia. It became a part of the Frankish Empire around 785. Charlemagne assigned the Christianization of this new possession to Ludger.

In the 11th century, the city of Groningen was a village in Drenthe that belonged to the Bishopric of Utrecht, while most of the province was in the Prince-Bishopric of Münster.

During the Middle Ages, central control was remote, and the city of Groningen acted as a city-state, exerting a dominating influence on the surrounding Ommelanden. In the 14th century, Groningen became one of the towns within the Hanseatic League.[6] In the years after, Groningen expanded its influence. At its peak almost all of the current province Friesland was under the influence and control of Groningen.

Shortly before 1498, Maximilian I, Holy Roman Emperor gave Groningen and Friesland to Albert III, Duke of Saxony, who could however not establish permanent control. In 1514/15 Groningen came to the Duchy of Guelders, and in 1536 as the Lordship of Groningen to the Habsburg Netherlands.

In 1594, Groningen was conquered from the Spanish by the Republic of the Seven United Provinces, precursor state of the Netherlands, to which it belonged henceforth.

During World War II, the Netherlands were occupied by Nazi Germany. In April 1945, the 2nd Canadian Division fought in the Battle of Groningen, which resulted in the liberation of the city and in the death of 130, the capture of 5,212, and the fleeing of 2,000 German soldiers. In May 1945, another 3,000 German soldiers were captured in the Battle of Delfzijl by the 5th Canadian Division, after which all of the northern provinces were liberated.[7]

East Groningen was the scene of a particularly fierce class struggle in the 19th and 20th centuries. Perhaps not coincidentally, Groningen boasts the only municipality (Beerta) where the Communist Party of the Netherlands has ever had a mayor (Hanneke Jagersma).[8]


Satellite image of Groningen
Satellite image of Groningen
Map of Groningen (2019)
Map of Groningen (2019)
The land is flat and 80% of it is used for agriculture
The land is flat and 80% of it is used for agriculture
Wheat field near Nieuw-Beerta in the Oldambt
Wheat field near Nieuw-Beerta in the Oldambt
Mudflat hikers during low tide on the Wadden Sea near Pieterburen
Mudflat hikers during low tide on the Wadden Sea near Pieterburen

Groningen is situated at 53°15′N 6°44′E / 53.250°N 6.733°E / 53.250; 6.733 in the northeast of the Netherlands. To the west is the province Friesland, to the south is the province Drenthe, to the east the German districts are Leer and Emsland in the state Lower Saxony, and to the north the North Sea, Ems, and Dollart. The northernmost point of the Netherlands is on Rottumerplaat[9] at 53°33′18″N 6°28′41″E / 53.55500°N 6.47806°E / 53.55500; 6.47806; the easternmost point of the Netherlands is in Bad Nieuweschans[9] at 53°10′49″N 7°13′40″E / 53.18028°N 7.22778°E / 53.18028; 7.22778.

Groningen is the 7th largest province of the Netherlands. It has a total area of 2,960 km2 (1,140 sq mi), with 2,325 km2 (898 sq mi) of land and 635 km2 (245 sq mi) of water. About 80% of the land or 1,876 km2 (724 sq mi) is used for agriculture. The rest of the land is: 9% or 158 km2 (61 sq mi) of built-up or semi built-up area, 6% or 144 km2 (56 sq mi) of nature, 3% or 66 km2 (25 sq mi) of infrastructure, and 2% or 43 km2 (17 sq mi) of recreational area.[10]

The land in Groningen is flat. A large area of the province is below sea level.[11] The Hasseberg near Sellingen of 14.6 m (48 ft) above sea level is the highest point.[12]

The Groningen gas field near Slochteren is the 8th largest[13] natural gas field in the world. Since 1986, the exploitation of this gas field has caused earthquakes in the region with magnitudes up to 3.6.[14]

In the Wadden Sea of Groningen, a UNESCO World Heritage Site since 2009,[15] are the sandbank Simonszand and the natural reserve Rottum consisting of the three uninhabited islands Rottumeroog, Rottumerplaat, and Zuiderduintjes. The national park Lauwersmeer (IUCN category II) is located on the border between Groningen and Friesland.


The province of Groningen is also called Stad en Ommelanden, which means the city of Groningen and its surrounding lands, which are the historical regions of Fivelingo, Hunsingo, Oldambt, Westerkwartier, and Westerwolde.[16]

The province (Nomenclature of Territorial Units for Statistics or NUTS level 2) is divided into three COROP regions (NUTS level 3): East Groningen, Delfzijl and surroundings, and the rest of Groningen. The COROP regions are used for statistical purposes.[17]

The province is also divided into 12 municipalities with each their own local government. Currently, Groningen is the most populated and most densely populated municipality,[18][19] containing the largest city, and Eemsmond is the largest municipality, containing a large part of the Wadden Sea in the province.[19] Ten Boer is the least populated, De Marne is the least densely populated, and Appingedam is the smallest municipality.[18][19][needs update]

The nine municipalities, Bedum, Groningen, Haren, Hoogezand-Sappemeer, Leek, Slochteren, Ten Boer, Winsum, and Zuidhorn, are part of the interprovincial Groningen-Assen Region[20][needs update] and the seventeen municipalities, Appingedam, Bellingwedde, Delfzijl, Eemsmond, Groningen, Grootegast, Haren, Hoogezand-Sappemeer, Leek, Menterwolde, Oldambt, Pekela, Slochteren, Stadskanaal, Veendam, Vlagtwedde, and Zuidhorn, are part of the international Ems Dollart Region (EDR).[21][needs update]

Municipality Population[18] Total Area[19] Population density[18][19] COROP Region
Appingedam 11,721 24.58 km2 (9.49 sq mi) 493/km2 (1,280/sq mi) Delfzijl and surroundings
Delfzijl 24,716 227.50 km2 (87.84 sq mi) 186/km2 (480/sq mi) Delfzijl and surroundings
Groningen 231,299 197.96 km2 (76.43 sq mi) 1,246/km2 (3,230/sq mi) Rest of Groningen
Het Hogeland Rest of Groningen
Loppersum 9,614 111.99 km2 (43.24 sq mi) 87/km2 (230/sq mi) Delfzijl and surroundings
Midden-Groningen Rest of Groningen
Oldambt 38,129 295.96 km2 (114.27 sq mi) 168/km2 (440/sq mi) East Groningen
Pekela 12,214 50.20 km2 (19.38 sq mi) 249/km2 (640/sq mi) East Groningen
Stadskanaal 31,789 119.94 km2 (46.31 sq mi) 270/km2 (700/sq mi) East Groningen
Veendam 27,491 78.68 km2 (30.38 sq mi) 362/km2 (940/sq mi) East Groningen
Westerkwartier Rest of Groningen
Westerwolde East Groningen


The province of Groningen has an oceanic climate (Köppen climate classification: Cfb).

Climate data for Nieuw-Beerta (1981–2010 averages)
Month Jan Feb Mar Apr May Jun Jul Aug Sep Oct Nov Dec Year
Average high °C (°F) 4.7
Daily mean °C (°F) 2.3
Average low °C (°F) −0.2
Average relative humidity (%) 90 89 85 80 80 82 82 81 85 88 92 92 86
Mean monthly sunshine hours 134.3 187.2 222.4 208.4 215.8 189.9 149.3 120.1 60.3 59.6
Percent possible sunshine 36 45 45 41 42 42 39 37 23 25
Source: Royal Netherlands Meteorological Institute[22]


Historical population
YearPop.±% p.a.
1899 299,602—    
1930 392,436+0.87%
1960 474,657+0.64%
1965 497,472+0.94%
1970 517,305+0.78%
1975 536,106+0.72%
1980 553,709+0.65%
1985 561,119+0.27%
1990 553,862−0.26%
1995 557,995+0.15%
2000 562,646+0.17%
2005 575,072+0.44%
2010 576,668+0.06%
2015 582,649+0.21%
Source: CBS[23][24][25]

On 1 January 2014, the province of Groningen had a population of 582,640 and a population density of 196.8/km2 (510/sq mi), which make it the 9th most populous province and 8th most densely populated province of the Netherlands.[10][26] The city of Groningen is the most populous city in the province and the 6th most populous city in the Netherlands.

On 1 January 2013, 92.2% of the total provincial population was born in the Netherlands; and of the 7.8% that was born abroad, the ten most common foreign countries of origin are the neighbour Germany (1.09%), the former colonies and dependencies Indonesia (0.60%), Netherlands Antilles and Aruba (0.55%), Suriname (0.54%), and other countries Turkey (0.41%), Soviet Union (0.36%), China (0.32%), Poland (0,26%), Yugoslavia (0.26%), and United Kingdom (0.18%).[27]

In 1999, a 59% majority of the population of Groningen was not affiliated with any religion; 29% was Protestant (15% Reformed and 14% Dutch Reformed; since 2004 united in Protestant Church in the Netherlands), 7% was Roman Catholic (Diocese of Groningen-Leeuwarden), and 6% had another religion.[28]


The University Medical Center is a major employer in Groningen
The University Medical Center is a major employer in Groningen
Sea port of Delfzijl in 2012
Sea port of Delfzijl in 2012

The city of Groningen is the economic center of the province.[29] In the 14th century, the city became a member of the Hanseatic League.[6] Currently some of the city's major employers[29] are University Medical Center Groningen with 12,141 employees,[30] University of Groningen with 5,591 employees,[31] Municipality of Groningen with 3,063 employees,[32] Education Implementation Service (DUO) with 2,000 employees,[33] and Gasunie with 1,748 employees.[34]

The other economically important area is the Ems delta with the sea ports of Delfzijl and Eemshaven.[29][35] In 2015, a total of 11,589 cargo vessels arrived at the two Groningen Seaports combined, 7,111 sea vessels and 4,478 inland vessels. The ports had a cargo throughput of 11,309,000 tonnes.[36] The chemical industry near Delfzijl is located at the Chemie Park in Farmsum, with factories of AkzoNobel, Lubrizol, and Teijin Aramid.[37] Both GDF Suez[38] and Vattenfall[39] have a natural gas-fired power plant in Eemshaven, and Essent[40] is building a coal-fired power plant there.

The Gross domestic product (GDP) of the province was 25 billion € in 2018, accounting for 3.2% of the Netherlands economic output. GDP per capita adjusted for purchasing power was 37,300 € or 124% of the EU27 average in the same year.[41]

In 1959, the Groningen gas field near Slochteren was discovered,[42] and the NAM started to exploit the field in 1963.[14] This caused Dutch disease and induced earthquakes.

In 2013, Groningen had a labor force of 268,000 people and unemployment rate of 9.6%, which is the second highest unemployment for a province in the Netherlands.[43]



A Gronings speaker, recorded in the Netherlands.

Groningen is home to the Low Saxon dialect called Gronings (Grönnegs / Grunnegs in Gronings regional language), In the eastern part of Friesland variations of the Groninger 'language' is spoken. Gronings has local nuances, for example, the people in the eastern part speak Gronings with more German influence.[citation needed] Nowadays, many inhabitants of the province don't speak the dialect, especially in the city of Groningen where many outsiders have moved.


Traditional droge worst (dried sausage) from Groningen
Traditional droge worst (dried sausage) from Groningen

Traditional dishes and delicacies from Groningen are boerenkoolstamppot, droge worst, krentjebrij, oudewijvenkoek, poffert, and spekdik. Traditional alcoholic drinks are boerenjongens, boerenmeisjes, fladderak, and heet bier.


Groninger Museum in Groningen in 2006
Groninger Museum in Groningen in 2006

Museumhuis Groningen is an umbrella organization for museums and other heritage organizations in the province of Groningen and has 58 members.[44][45] The Groninger Museum is the most visited museum in the province with 209,195 visitors in 2015. The other museums and heritage organizations with more than 25 thousand visitors in 2015 are Fort Bourtange in Bourtange, Noordelijk Scheepvaartmuseum in Groningen, Ter Apel Monastery in Ter Apel, Fraeylemaborg in Slochteren, Nationaal Bus Museum in Hoogezand, and Museumspoorlijn STAR in Stadskanaal.[46]

Heritage sites


Euroborg is the home stadium of FC Groningen
Euroborg is the home stadium of FC Groningen

FC Groningen from the city of Groningen is the only football club from the province in the Eredivisie.[47] Their home stadium Euroborg has a capacity of 22,550 seats.[48] In the 2012–2013 competition, FC Groningen became 7th of the 18 teams.[49] SC Veendam played in the Eerste Divisie, but filed for bankruptcy in 2013.[50]

The city of Groningen is also the base of basketball club GasTerra Flames, volleyball club Lycurgus, and korfball club Nic..[51]

The ice rink at the multi-sport center Kardinge in the city of Groningen is used for national speed skating championships, most recently the 2013 KNSB Dutch Sprint Championships.[52]


Seat of the provincial government in the city of Groningen
Seat of the provincial government in the city of Groningen

A provincial government in the Netherlands consists of a Provincial Council, the directly elected legislative branch, and a Provincial Executive, the executive branch. The King's Commissioner, who is appointed by the national government, is chairman of both branches.[53] The Provincial Council of Groningen consists of 43 members and the Provincial Executive consists of the King's Commissioner and six deputies.[54] The government has its seat in the city of Groningen, which is the provincial capital.

René Paas, member of the Christian Democratic Appeal (CDA), has been the King's Commissioner since 18 April 2016.[55] He succeeded Max van den Berg who was the King's Commissioner in Groningen from 2007 to 2016.[53]

In the provincial elections of 2011, the Labour Party became the largest party with nearly 25% of the votes and 12 seats in the Provincial Council. The next three largest parties are the People's Party for Freedom and Democracy (VVD) and the Socialist Party (SP) with 6 seats each, and the Christian Democratic Appeal (CDA) with 5 seats.[56] In 2011, two months after the elections, the member of the Party for the North (PvhN) continued as an independent under the name Free Mandate.[57][58] The next provincial elections are planned for 18 March 2015.[59]

Following the 2011 elections, the Provincial Executive was formed by a coalition of the Labour Party, the People's Party for Freedom and Democracy, Democrats 66 (D66), and GreenLeft (GL).[60] In 2013, GreenLeft left the coalition and was replaced by the ChristianUnion (CU).[61] The Labour Party has three deputies, the other coalition parties have one deputy each.[62]

e • d  2015 provincial election[63]
Party Votes % Seats
Socialist Party 39,093 16.19 8
Labour Party 29,711 12.30 6
Christian Democratic Appeal 27,160 11.25 5
Democrats 66 23,422 9.70 4
People's Party for Freedom and Democracy 22,089 9.15 4
Christian Union 21,124 8.75 4
Party for Freedom 19,340 8.01 3
Groninger Belang 15,869 6.57 3
GroenLinks 15,701 6.50 3
Party for the Animals 9,078 3.76 2
Party for the North 5,173 2.14 1
Other parties 13,719 5.68 0
Total 241,479 100 43



The N7 expressway near the city of Groningen
The N7 expressway near the city of Groningen

In the province of Groningen, there are three national roads (Dutch: rijkswegen), which are maintained by Rijkswaterstaat.[64][65] The motorway A7 (E22) connects the city of Groningen with the provinces of Friesland and North Holland in the west and with Winschoten and Germany in the east. The motorway is interrupted for the ring road of the city of Groningen, where it is the expressway N7.[66] The motorway A28 (E232) starts at the city of Groningen and runs south connecting it with the provinces of Drenthe, Overijssel, Gelderland, and Utrecht.[67] The expressway N33 runs south from Eemshaven, via Appingedam and Veendam, to Drenthe.[68] Other roads are overseen by the province (N roads), municipalities, or water boards.[64]

Public transport

Railways in the northern provinces of the Netherlands in 2006 (without the Stadskanaal–Zuidbroek railway, which partially reopened in 2011)
Railways in the northern provinces of the Netherlands in 2006 (without the Stadskanaal–Zuidbroek railway, which partially reopened in 2011)

Public transport falls under the rules for government procurement in the European Union. Tenders for regional bus and railway services are selected by the province of Groningen. Qbuzz is contracted for bus services in the period 2009–2015 and Arriva for railway services in the period 2005–2020.[69] Nederlandse Spoorwegen operates the railway services from Groningen railway station southward to Drenthe and beyond.

The railway network in the Netherlands is maintained by ProRail.[70] There are six railways located partially or entirely in the province of Groningen. The railway station Groningen connects several of these railways.[71]

Trajectory Railway stations in Groningen[71]
Groningen–Delfzijl GroningenGroningen NoordSauwerdBedumStedumLoppersumAppingedamDelfzijl WestDelfzijl
Harlingen–Nieuweschans FrieslandGrijpskerkZuidhornGroningenGroningen EuropaparkKropswoldeMartenshoekHoogezand-SappemeerSappemeer OostZuidbroekScheemdaWinschotenBad Nieuweschans
Ihrhove–Nieuweschans GermanyBad Nieuweschans
Meppel–Groningen DrentheHarenGroningen EuropaparkGroningen
Sauwerd–Roodeschool SauwerdWinsumBafloWarffumUsquertUithuizenUithuizermeedenRoodeschool
Stadskanaal–Zuidbroek VeendamZuidbroek


Groningen Airport Eelde is located in Eelde in the province of Drenthe
Groningen Airport Eelde is located in Eelde in the province of Drenthe

The international airport that serves Groningen is Groningen Airport Eelde, which is located in Eelde in the province of Drenthe. The airport is co-owned by the provinces of Groningen and Drenthe and the municipalities of Groningen, Assen, and Tynaarlo.[72] Its summer destinations are Antalya, Faro, Girona, Gran Canaria, Heraklion, Kos, Palma de Mallorca, and Tenerife. Its winter destinations are Innsbruck and Salzburg.[73] Starting on 5 June 2014, there will also be flights to London.[74] For other international destinations, Amsterdam Airport Schiphol is the nearest airport. The general aviation airports in the province are Oostwold Airport in Oostwold[75] and Stadskanaal Airfield in Stadskanaal.[76]

Science and education

Main building of the University of Groningen in the city of Groningen
Main building of the University of Groningen in the city of Groningen

The University of Groningen in the city of Groningen was founded in 1614[77] and is the only research university (universiteit) in the province. On 1 September 2013, it had 29,407 students and 5,238 full-time equivalent of staff members.[78] The university has ten faculties: Arts, Behavioural and Social Sciences, Economics and Business, Law, Mathematics and Natural Sciences, Medical Sciences, Philosophy, Spatial Sciences, Theology and Religious Studies, and University College Groningen.[79]

The Hanze University of Applied Sciences, the NHL University of Applied Sciences, and the Stenden University of Applied Sciences in the city of Groningen are the province's publicly funded universities of applied sciences (hogescholen).


The Dagblad van het Noorden is a regional daily newspaper based in the city of Groningen and is owned by NDC Mediagroep. It was founded in 2002 by merging the Nieuwsblad van het Noorden, the Groninger Dagblad, and the Drentse Courant.[80] In 2015, the newspaper had a circulation of 96,515.[81]

RTV Noord is a regional public broadcaster of radio and television based in the city of Groningen, with Radio Noord and TV Noord.[82] Their radio station has 121,000 daily listeners and a market share of 28% (2012) and their TV station has 171,000 daily viewers and a market share of 26.7% (2012).[83][84]

Notable residents

People from the province of Groningen:


See also


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  7. ^ Groningen, Retrieved on 8 April 2014.
  8. ^ (in Dutch) "Hanneke Jagersma burgemeeste Beerta", Nieuwsblad van het Noorden, 1982. Retrieved on 8 April 2014.
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  10. ^ a b (in Dutch) Bodemgebruik; uitgebreide gebruiksvorm, per gemeente, Statistics Netherlands, 2013. Retrieved on 14 April 2014.
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  13. ^ Rafael Sandrea, Global Natural Gas Reserves – A Heuristic Viewpoint Archived 4 March 2016 at the Wayback Machine, IPC Petroleum Consultants, 2005. Retrieved on 14 April 2014.
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  17. ^ Indeling van Nederland in 40 COROP-gebieden Archived 5 January 2018 at the Wayback Machine (in Dutch), Statistics Netherlands. Retrieved 25 March 2014.
  18. ^ a b c d "Bevolkingsontwikkeling; regio per maand" [Population growth; regions per month]. CBS Statline (in Dutch). CBS. 1 January 2019. Retrieved 1 January 2019.
  19. ^ a b c d e "Kerncijfers wijken en buurten 2020" [Key figures for neighbourhoods 2020]. StatLine (in Dutch). CBS. 24 July 2020. Retrieved 19 September 2020.
  20. ^ About us Archived 25 March 2014 at the Wayback Machine, Groningen-Assen Region. Retrieved 6 April 2014.
  21. ^ Die Mitglieder der EDR Archived 3 February 2018 at the Wayback Machine (in German), Ems Dollart Region. Retrieved 6 April 2014.
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