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Groningen

(4.1/5 based on 1,800+ reviews for top 20 attractions)
Things to do: museums, sightseeing, parks
Groningen is the main municipality as well as the capital city of the eponymous province in the Netherlands. With a population of, it is the largest city in the north of the Netherlands. An old city, Groningen was the regional power of the northern Netherlands, a semi-independent city-state and member of the German Hanseatic League. Groningen is a university city: it houses the University of Groningen (about 28,000 students) and the Hanze University of Applied Sciences (about 25,000 students).HistoryThe city was founded on the northernmost point of the Hondsrug area. The oldest document referring to Groningen's existence dates from 1040. However, the city already existed long before then: the oldest archaeological traces found are believed to stem from the years 3950–3720 BC, although the first major settlement in Groningen has been traced back to the 3rd century AD.In the 13th century, when Groningen was an important trade centre, its inhabitants built a city wall to underline its authority. The city had a strong influence on the surrounding lands and made its dialect a common tongue. The most influential period of the city was the end of the 15th century, when the nearby province of Friesland was administered from Groningen. During these years, the Martinitoren was built, which loomed over the city at (then) 127 metres tall.The city's independence came to an end when in 1536, it chose to accept Emperor Charles V, the Habsburg ruler of the other Netherlands, as its overlord. It later joined the Republic of the Seven United Provinces.
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