Netherlands: Groningen

Groningen lies at the junction of the Hoornsediep and Winschoterdiep canals, just 20km from the North Sea. The city dates back to 1040, later it thrives as the member of the Hanseatic League of city-states, becoming one of the most important commercial towns in Northern Europe. University of Groningen was founded here in 1614 and to this day is one of the most prestigious on the continent – it’s totally a university town. I’m a classic Dutch way – the city is packed with bikes and people on bikes and a lot of weed in the air. The old town is centered around Grote Markt, with spectacular early 19th century neoclassical Town Hall (Stadhuis), 16th century renaissance Gold Office (Goudkantoor), and Neo-Renaissance Provinciehuis, the seat of the provincial government. There is also the spire of the 13ty century Martinikerk and lastly the absolutely impressive and huge Groningen University (Rijksuniversiteit Groningen) with the ultra ornate Neo-Renaissance-style building complex from 1909. The city is full of life and students and quite crowded and loud.