On October 19, 2010 I moved from the US to The Netherlands. This is a love story many years in the making.

Groningen

A slogan printed on many of the tourist items sold here translates to “there is nothing above Groningen”, which has the double meaning of “nothing is better” and “there is literally nothing further north in NL than this city”.  I like this place a lot, so I thought I’d give you guys a photo tour of some parts of the city I have seen thus far.

[The light was awful for pictures yesterday with a white sky and a lot of glare. My phone couldn’t really cope. Sorry!]

Welcome to Groningen, locally referred to as “Grunn”. According to Wikipedia, it’s been here for a while: 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 BC–3720 BC, although the first major settlement in Groningen has been traced back to the 3rd century AD. (the Wiki is good. Have a look.)

Walking back from registering myself as a resident at Immigration yesterday, we happened on this little green-painted doorway which Carel was pleased to see was open for once, and he pulled me inside to look at it.

The door is marked St Anthony’s Gasthuis, and according to the sign above,  it was in 1639 a hospice for the very ill, run by the nuns of the local convent. Now it is a very exclusive, expensive little “gated” community which is so painfully cute it made me gasp. Just look at the interior!

Just across the street is a kerk (church) which I sort of have to assume is St Anthony’s. It’s a handsome thing, not very large as medieval churches go but quite large enough to (annoyingly) not be able to get it in my camera’s frame!


(and as you see the sky was quite literally white)

We passed a former Bishop’s residence which is now a restaurant, and stopped in to look. I was particularly drawn by the crystal chandeliers, high ceilings, and a stairway. I was also pleased and mildly amused by the fact that the daily-drink slate had Moet & Chandon on it. Classy! And befitting of a Bishop! The elegance of this staircase is just breathtaking.

On the way home, I was forced to stop and photograph this door.

I wanted a new place to take pictures in? Well, this place won’t let me STOP.

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