Seasons Greetings from Groningen
Unable to make it home this Christmas? Or eager to make the most of the holiday season here in Groningen? Here are some recommendations for fun seasonal activities to make sure you won’t have a blue Christmas: we hope these tips will lift your spirits, and give some inspiration for charitable campaigns to lift other’s spirits during the holidays in Groningen!
A little bit of luck, or happiness, is what this organization’s name translates to in English, and it’s their goal, too. Throughout the year, Lutje Geluk organizes day trips for less well-off households, financed through donations or in kind contributions from the community.
This year, as in years past, Lutje Geluk is giving out Sinterklaas gift packages to families facing financial challenges. So far, around 200 families have submitted a wish list, representing more than 400 children in total. Donations can be made to cover the costs of the contents of the boxes, or you can adopt a wish list yourself – even if you can only afford to buy one gift from the list.
Stories of the overcrowded conditions at the Ter Apel asylum seeker’s processing center in the province in recent months have shed light on the hardship that people fleeing their homeland continue to face even after they are out of immediate danger.
The COA (Central Agency for the Reception of Asylum Seekers) offers many ways to support the people at the centres, including in Ter Apel: volunteer opportunities, hosting programmes, and donations of furniture, clothing and bicycles.
For Ukrainian refugees in particular, there are several charitable campaigns to donate to. The refugee shelter in Haren asking for spare bikes to be donated to the residents there so they can be more self-sufficient and travel in the area for work and school.
The Hanze University of Applied Sciences also has a comprehensive list of ways to get involved as well, including providing donated laptops, access to exercise facilities and Ukrainian interpreters.
Festivals, fairs and wintry walks
16, 17, 18 December
The handsome wooden ships along the quay of the A will be decked out for the holidays, and will play host to small-scale cultural events and performances during WinterWelVaart. This year marks the 15th edition of the beloved Groningen holiday tradition, and this December, the story of the A quarter itself will be the inspiration for the festivities. Many of historic warehouses standing tall above the waterway have been recognized with monument status, and strolling along the cobblestone streets can make you feel like you’re in a painting that has come to life.
The Hoge der A, Lage der A and even the Kleine der A will all form the grounds for WinterWelVaart in mid-December. The ships, the Akerk and the Museum aan de A will be the stage for theatre, music, poetry, lectures and workshops inspired by the theme “proud of the Groninger A”.
If you’d like to stick close to the city centre for a Christmassy evening out in the crisp winter air, follow the lights along City Central’s Holiday (High)lights walking route!
There are also dozens of charming Christmas markets scattered throughout the city and province throughout December:
9 and 10 December
Swedish Christmas Market
Suikerlaan 10, Groningen
10 and 11 December
Villa de Beuk
10 and 11 December
15 - 17 December
15 - 23 December
17 and 18 December
Vegan Christmas Market
Reserve a Christmas dinner, or make it at home!
Fine dining restaurants, including Michelin-star winners, are open to wine and dine you as their guests, and also offer DIY dinners to complete at home, channeling your inner chef. Horeca Groningen has an overview of many participating restaurants, so take your pick and bon appetit!
Dinercafé Plezant, Dinercafé de Markies, De Branderij, Mr Smith’s Loft, IMONO, Gusto Wine & Bar, Het Feithuis, Houdt van Eten, Contini, Brasserie De Kastanjehoeve, Brinkhotel/Eethuis voor Allen, Weeva, Garnwerd aan Zee, Bistro de Grote Frederik, Restaurant Voilà, Restaurant Sepia, Restaurant Eetwaar, and La Cubanita.
Check out Visit Groningen’s agenda to see all the Christmas concerts happening in and around the city in December!
Bragi: orchestra, choir and a cappella ensemble at Sint Jozefkerk
9 December at 20:00
Groningen’s oldest student musical association, Bragi, will perform a beautiful selection of classical pieces in the sumptuous setting of the Sint Jozefkerk. The acoustics of the Catholic church are a match made in heaven for the a cappella choir’s programme: “Warum ist das Licht gegeben dem Mühseligen? byBrahms, “Gloria” from “Missa O Quam Gloriosum” by Victoria and “Pseaume 130” by Sweelinck. The larger choir, accompanied by the orchestra, will perform the “Weihnachtsoratorium” by Bach, and the orchestra will complete the evening with a rendition of “5th Symphony” by Shostakovich. Tickets start at 12.50.
Noord Nederlands Orkest at De Oosterpoort
Wednesday, 21 December 2022 at 20:15
The NNO is ready to celebrate “the most wonderful time of the year” with a performance featuring the best Christmas soundtrack standards, from the classic “Swan Lake” to Mariah Carey’s inescapable “All I Want for Christmas is You.” Tickets start at 12.50 and are available through SPOT.
Groningen Grootkoor Chirstmas concert at the Martinikerk
Thursday, 22 December at 20:00
This particular concert by the Groningen Grootkoor is a Christmas tradition for many stadjers. The gathering of singers to work on one specific musical project began in Groningen in 2000, dreamt up by directors Etty van der Mei and Nan van Groeningen, and now, many cities across the Netherlands have their own grootkoor (literally “great choir”, usually describing a chorus with a large number of singers). The musicians will bring a range of the biggest Christmas standards to life in the heart of Groningen, the Martinikerk - tickets are 26 euros.
As the days continue to get shorter, City Central (together with IWCN and Connect International) wants to brighten things up and share the holiday vibes from across Groningen. Here’s a walking route past some of the loveliest lights in the city!