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8 design hotspots in Groningen

8 design hotspots in Groningen, The Netherlands | Your Dutch Guide

Did you know that you can fly directly from London to Groningen? There is a direct flight from London Southend airport! But even if you’re in The Netherlands already, Groningen is just a 2-hour train ride away and a great destination for a weekend get away. Ready to explore? Don’t skip these 8 design hotspots in Groningen.

Holtbar

Shopping and having a coffee go hand in hand at Holtbar. It’s situated in one of the loveliest streets in Groningen city centre, close to the university: Oude Kijk in Het Jatstraat. Yes, have you tried to pronounce that? (It even took me two goes). Holtbar originates from the Danish word ‘holdbar’ which means durable, and yes Holtbar does have that Scandinavian feel. Beautiful wallpaper, cosy seats and lots of plants. You can buy jewellery, stationery, plants and crockery by upcoming designers or order some coffee and a piece of pie made from fruits from the owners garden.

Hotspot in Groningen, The Netherlands: Holtbar | Your Dutch Guide

Hotspot in Groningen, The Netherlands: No25 | Your Dutch Guide

No25

Just across from Holtbar is No25. It really doesn’t matter when you visit this café, you can always order something tasty, from morning ‘til midnight. I liked coming here for breakfast, as the coffee, French toast and Dutch pancakes are simply amazing.

Stardust

Oh my, a definite sign that I am getting old: most of the vintage clothes available at Stardust, I actually wore during the 90’s! Nevertheless, Stardust is probably the only shop in Groningen that sells high quality, authentic vintage clothes, mostly from the 80’s and 90’s. But the racks also hold remade outfits and fashion by young designers.

Hotspot in Groningen, The Netherlands: Stardust | Your Dutch Guide

Hotspot in Groningen, The Netherlands: FOLK | Your Dutch Guide

FOLK

FOLK, at Folkingestraat 17, sells everything. From fashion and books to stationery and furniture. Tim and Anne are the owners of FOLK and everything they sell is designed or made by their friends, giving the shop that extra personal touch. But Tim also designs the lamps you see in the store, with label Tim Vinke Interior Design and Anne makes the Words from the Heart jewellery collection. If you can’t decide on what to buy, you can also order a slow coffee and have some chocolate while you ponder and browse the shop one more time.

De Uurwerker

Honestly, I wish there was a café like De Uurwerker in Utrecht. Originally, this café was meant as a work hotspots for the freelance and self-employed lot and if I would live close, I’d definitely settle here with my laptop, as the space for freelancers is so spacious and convenient. But since the location and atmosphere were so great and people reacted well to the place, the café has expanded and it’s a great place for lunch and drinks. There are lots of outdoor seats at the square in front.

Hotspot in Groningen, The Netherlands: De Uurwerker | Your Dutch Guide

Hotspot in Groningen, The Netherlands: Flinders Café | Your Dutch Guide

Flinders Café

Just outside the city centre, with a lovely view over the canal. The café is entirely decorated with its own design furniture (which is available online). From the time it opens, Flinders is full of locals meeting up for a chat. I liked it here for drinks and ordered a locally brewed craft beer Martinus.

Pernikkel

An excellent laid back café where you can crawl in, to nurse a delicate head with some coffee, pancakes or a bloody Mary in the morning, meet up with friends in the afternoon for drinks and a tasting plate of snacks or stay until the wee hours after having burgers and cocktails.

Hotspot in Groningen, The Netherlands: Het Concerthuis | Your Dutch Guide

Hotspot in Groningen, The Netherlands: Het Concerthuis | Your Dutch Guide

Hotspot in Groningen, The Netherlands: Het Concerthuis | Your Dutch Guide

Het Concerthuis

Feel like desserts mid-morning or a grilled cheese sandwich at midnight? Better head over to Het Concerthuis. Like the name suggests, this is Groningen’s colourful concert venue, but it’s actually quite a great spot for drinks and a bite to eat. You can order everything off the menu, all day long. So no set times for serving breakfast, lunch or dinner. That’s why husband and I ordered a large middle-eastern tasting platter for our late lunch. If you happen to stumble in on Sunday afternoon, you can join the Hangover Brunch Buffet crowd, for €11 per person.

Stay at the Apollo Hotel

Apollo Hotel is a little outside the city centre, but perfect when you’re driving into town as there’s free parking in the area. The centre of Groningen is a 15-minute walk or 5-minute bus ride away. The hotel is pretty new, with spacious black and white rooms, thick carpets and comfy beds. Husband and I stayed in a suite with a really high ceiling and giant pop art prints on the wall. It was all really comfortable.

Hotel in Groningen, The Netherlands: Apollo Hotel | Your Dutch Guide

Hotel in Groningen, The Netherlands: Apollo Hotel | Your Dutch Guide

Hotel in Groningen, The Netherlands: Apollo Hotel | Your Dutch Guide

But what really gives the hotel a homey feel are the large sofas in the restaurant, surrounded by quirky lamps, pillows and other design elements. The bar area, with its high red stools and big plants, is a cosy place for a drink. In the morning this turns into the breakfast room which offers lots of local specialities, like sugar bread (sweet bread with big chunks of sugar inside) and Dutch bread toppers, such as hagelslag and muisjes, in cute little stoppers.

Plan your trip to Groningen, The Netherlands

  • Like I said at the start of this article, you can fly directly from London to Groningen with Flybe. Return tickets sell from €60.
  • If you’re in Amsterdam, or another Dutch destination, and travelling by train, check this website to plan your journey. It’s more or less 2 hours to Groningen from Amsterdam by train.
  • Driving to Groningen? Avoid the city centre, as it’s very annoying to drive through. Park your car at the P+R parking spaces at the edge of the centre. Public transport will easily get you to the city centre from the parking spaces.
  • Check out all must-sees and hidden gems in my city guide Groningen.

So, what do you say? Ready to give Groningen a chance?

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31 Comments

  • Reply
    Erin Gustafson
    August 3, 2017 at 10:16 am

    Oh you make Groningen look like such fun place for a weekend getaway! I love peeking in unique local shops like these. And can we just talk about how fun it is to Pernikkel? Haha! Love Dutch names, even if I can’t always pronounce them! A great list – cheers from Copenhagen, Erin

  • Reply
    Travelpictorium
    August 3, 2017 at 1:11 pm

    I do love The Netherlands, and this place looks dinky, arty and full of good coffee… Those cafes look great: there’s something about Dutch coffee shops (the real ones, I mean!) that draws me in.. I was having a good look just now at the Huisgemaakte taart on the blackboard there on your pic to see what cake they have… hmmm…..

  • Reply
    Nora Gouma
    August 3, 2017 at 1:43 pm

    Love this amazing post, love your blog too, truly inspiring, thank you for sharing!!! xxx

  • Reply
    Lolo
    August 3, 2017 at 2:30 pm

    Feels so hipster, I might be out of place haha! I feel so old when I go into such places because everyone is always 10 years younger haha and I’m not even that old!

    • Reply
      Esther
      August 3, 2017 at 2:58 pm

      Haha! Don’t worry Lola. I am far from hip! Most of these places are actually very laid back (lucky for us old birds eh!).

  • Reply
    Agness
    August 3, 2017 at 4:07 pm

    Wow! These spots are so amazing, Esther! This is a truly great list! Any drink you’d suggest trying at the Flinders Café?

    • Reply
      Esther
      August 3, 2017 at 4:49 pm

      Definitely the Martinus beer, Agness. It’s locally brewed craft beer and they have many kinds. Thank you for stopping by!

  • Reply
    Katherine
    August 3, 2017 at 4:14 pm

    Be still my hipster heart! I’m a hipster on the inside and tragically unfashionable on the outside. These places look amazing to me and I wish I as in London to take advantage of those cheap flights!

    • Reply
      Esther
      August 3, 2017 at 4:50 pm

      Your comment made me laugh out loud, Katherine! You can come sit next to me when I order something horribly unhip, like a normal black coffee, at any of these places!

  • Reply
    hilary
    August 3, 2017 at 6:16 pm

    Love this! Lots of fun places to visit, but I love those pop art prints on your hotel wall the most! I’d have both of those in my home!! Wondering… were they for sale? ha ha!

    • Reply
      Esther
      August 3, 2017 at 7:14 pm

      Oh! I have no idea if they were for sale, it didn’t cross my mind to ask. Silly me. This will bug me now 😉 Thank you for stopping by Hilary!

  • Reply
    Catherine (Cultural Wednesday)
    August 3, 2017 at 7:55 pm

    We shall be in the Netherlands, near Sneek in a couple of weeks time this is perfectly timed.

    • Reply
      Esther
      August 3, 2017 at 8:11 pm

      Oh, that’s not too far then Catherine! I hope you will have a lovely time.

  • Reply
    Clare (Suitcases and Sandcastles)
    August 3, 2017 at 8:15 pm

    Yes, I’d love to give Groningen a try. What great looking cafés you discovered! Amused to find out that clothes from the 80s and 90s are considered vintage. My wardrobe just got a whole lot fancier!

  • Reply
    Lydia
    August 3, 2017 at 11:31 pm

    I just loved the Netherlands. So cool!

  • Reply
    Rachel Heller
    August 4, 2017 at 6:57 am

    I live in Groningen and haven’t tried half of these places! Thanks for writing this!

    • Reply
      Esther
      August 4, 2017 at 9:04 am

      You’re kidding Rachel! I really need to come back to Groningen soon, as I feel there is a lot more to explore.

  • Reply
    Trish
    August 4, 2017 at 1:02 pm

    This sounds like my kind of place. I love the hotel vibe and your choice of places to stop for a coffee are fabulous, especially the first one where coffee and shopping go hand in hand.

  • Reply
    Keri
    August 4, 2017 at 3:54 pm

    I love stylish places like this – Now I want to go exploring all Groningen’s cool cafes!

  • Reply
    shere
    August 4, 2017 at 9:17 pm

    we live in Friesland, so for us it’s just 1h ride. We have been a couple of times and really like de uurwerker

    • Reply
      Esther
      August 4, 2017 at 9:23 pm

      I’d love to have a ‘flexwerkplek’ like Uurwerker in Utrecht, much better than Seats2Meet or something. I really have to get to know Friesland better, though I really loved Leeuwarden when I was there.

  • Reply
    Ruth
    August 4, 2017 at 9:17 pm

    Another awesome post Esther! I dig your writing / blogging style a lot. Uff, another great city to add to my European bucket list. I need to concentrate my travels on The Netherlands (one day).

    • Reply
      Esther
      August 4, 2017 at 9:22 pm

      Thank you Ruth!! I hope you make it to The Netherlands one day.

  • Reply
    Wendy Maes
    August 4, 2017 at 9:22 pm

    Ik zet Groningen op mijn lijstje! Mijn eerstkomende girls only weekend, mag voor mijn part naar onze Noorderburen.

    • Reply
      Esther
      August 4, 2017 at 9:25 pm

      YES! Gewoon doen Wendy. Tis een eind rijden, maar het is het dubbel en dwars waard!

  • Reply
    Michelle | michwanderlust
    August 5, 2017 at 5:29 am

    This looks like a very chilled-out city, just my kind of place 🙂 And now I feel like having Dutch pancakes (it’s Saturday morning here and I haven’t eaten breakfast!) And the Hangover Brunch Buffet has got to be the cheapest buffet I’ve ever seen! Thanks for sharing, Esther 🙂

  • Reply
    Anda
    August 6, 2017 at 12:11 am

    Very beautiful, indeed. I like original places like this and I wish there was a café like De Uurwerker in Los Angeles too, but there isn’t.

    • Reply
      Esther
      August 9, 2017 at 9:44 am

      I know right, Anda! I could do with a workspot like that!

  • Reply
    Rob+Ann @TravelLatte(.net)
    August 8, 2017 at 2:34 am

    Looks like you’re spoiled for choice when it comes to cafes in Groningen! Flinders looks awesome, as does the Apollo Hotel. Definitely taking notes!

  • Reply
    Bryna
    August 9, 2017 at 5:08 am

    These look like great spots! I can’t even pick a favourite! And it’s a shock when things from your childhood/teen years show up in vintage stores isn’t it? I felt the same way when some of my favourite songs from the 90’s/early 2000’s started playing on the retro radio station…!

    • Reply
      Esther
      August 9, 2017 at 9:45 am

      Oh please, don’t even get me started about 90 sings becoming retro! Thank you for stopping by, Bryna!

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