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The little city rarely visited by tourists that’s named one of Europe’s best


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A stunning little city that has been rarely visited by tourists has been named one of Europe’s best places to live in a new study.

A European Commission report on quality of life put Groningen in the Netherlands in third place out of 83 cities for residents’ overall satisfaction. About 96 percent of those living in the northern Dutch city said they were satisfied with their life there.

Zurich came in first, with 97 percent, and Copenhagen barely took second place. More than 71,000 participants were interviewed for the study last year, encompassing a minimum of 839 residents from each city on the list. 

The survey also covered the Amsterdam metropolitan area, registering approximately 92 percent satisfaction among residents, and the greater Rotterdam region, where around 90 percent expressed satisfaction.

Groningen scored second place in several categories: satisfaction with cultural facilities, quality of public spaces, available healthcare services, and a sense of trust with other residents. It wound up in fifth for feeling safe when walking alone at night, and sixth for people satisfied with green spaces.

The small city is steeped in history yet pulsating with youthful vigour. People can relish the tranquility of centuries-old courtyards, and vibrant student hangouts.  Lively market squares are just a stone’s throw away. This dynamic city exudes a lively energy. 

The city is the heart of the vibrant cultural scene of the northern part of the Netherlands and is home to numerous museums, theatres and festivals.

Events like Eurosonic Noorderslag and Noorderzon serve as platforms for both local and international talent, making it unsurprising that Groningen played a pivotal role in propelling global stars like Dua Lipa and Sam Smith to fame.

While Groningen exudes bustling energy as a city, it also stands out as an excellent spot to unwind and find tranquility. 

The numerous parks and natural surroundings offer an opportunity to escape the hustle and bustle, allowing you to bask in silence and momentarily detach from everyday life. Consider a visit to the Stadspark, often referred to as Groningen’s ‘back garden.’ 

Donated to the city in 1907 by Jan Evert Scholten, one of the wealthiest individuals in the Netherlands at that time, this 140-hectare gift surpasses both Amsterdam’s Vondelpark and The Hague’s Zuiderpark in size and serenity.

One user said: “Loved visiting Groningen. It was on our list because great-grandparents came from this area so our roots were calling us. Rented bikes at Dumo Bikes near the Grote Markt. So easy to follow bike paths out of the city and see castle ruins, national parklands, small villages, lots of beautiful pastures, etc.

“I enjoyed riding my bike through the Noorderplantsoen park – has a nice beer garden there. Finally wrapped up our trip with a visit to the Groninger Art Museum to see Unzipped the Rolling Stones exhibit. It’s a great way to spend three hours on a rainy day !! Enjoy!”

Another user commented: “Groninger Museum: the fabulous exhibit of the Rolling Stones: Unzipped, the other interesting exhibits, that stunning building right across Central Station, the cosy restaurant, the friendly staff: it’s very worthwhile!”

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