At first sight, Groningen looks like a nice student village without a very alternative background. Me, a Dutch native, painted it as a nice sugar-coated town. Well, I couldn’t be more wrong. While participating in the Alternative Groningen Tour, I couldn’t stop thinking how badass Groningen actually is.
Alternative Groningen Tour takes you to the unexpected places in the city. Spots you never heard of, barely noticed or where you didn’t know its interesting background. During the tour you gain knowledge you never thought even applied to this city. For instance, you hear about the interesting history of the squatter’s movements. Also, you see and learn to understand the local street art and its artists.
A local named Fiona, who seems to know the entire city by heart, hosts the tour. She guides you through the city with a comfortable pace and easily creates a laid-back vibe under the group. While informing you about the highlights of alternative Groningen, she is also open for a nice chat and provides you with a lot of advice about places you should visit.
Groningen has a lot of hidden treasures you won’t discover yourself that fast. Like the RKZ, the old hospital with a very interesting history or the squatters home behind the station, where the square is painted with a lot of graffiti. If you are interested in seeing these little pieces of gold, I highly recommend joining the Alternative Groningen Tour. Afterwards you will look differently at the city and its inhabitants.
For anybody who is interested taking the tour, follow the Facebook page so you can stay up to date about upcoming events. The tour is hosted in English, so it is approachable for everybody. The only thing you need to bring is your own bike. Which is, in my opinion, the best way to explore the city anyway. If you don’t have that much money, no worries, because the tour is donation based. But don’t let the low price fool you thinking it is low budget. The tour is created with passion, making it professional, interesting, but most of al: a lot of fun.
By Karlijn Ringnalda
Photos by her