Groningen (Netherlands)

2017-04-10 16:12:34 , Source : The Government Website of Shaanxi Province

Groningen is the northeasternmost province of the Netherlands. It borders on Friesland to the west, Drenthe to the south, the German state of Niedersachsen (districts of Leer and Emsland) to the east, and the Wadden Sea to the north. In 2014, it had a population of 582,640 and a total area of 2,960 km2 (1,140 sq mi).

The area was subsequently part of Frisia, the Frankish Empire, the Holy Roman Empire, and the Dutch Republic, which is the precursor state of the Netherlands. In the 14th century, the city of Groningen became a member of the Hanseatic League.

The capital of the province and the seat of the provincial government is the city of Groningen. Since 2016, René Paas has been the King's Commissioner in the province. A coalition of the Labour Party, People's Party for Freedom and Democracy, Democrats 66, and ChristianUnion forms the executive branch. The province is divided into 23 municipalities.

The land is mainly used for agriculture. There are sea ports in Delfzijl and Eemshaven. The Groningen gas field was discovered in 1959. The province is home to the University of Groningen and Hanze University of Applied Sciences.

History

Groningen was originally a part of Frisia. It became a part of the Frankish Empire around 785. Charlemagne assigned the Christianization of this new possession to Ludger.

In the 11th century, the city of Groningen was a village in Drenthe that belonged to the Bishopric of Utrecht, while most of the province was in the Prince-Bishopric of Münster.

During the Middle Ages, central control was remote, and the city of Groningen acted as a city-state, exerting a dominating influence on the surrounding Ommelanden. In the 14th century, Groningen became one of the towns within the Hanseatic League.[3] In the years after, Groningen expanded its influence. At its peak almost all of the current province Friesland was under the influence and control of Groningen.

Shortly before 1498, Maximilian I, Holy Roman Emperor gave Groningen and Friesland to Albert III, Duke of Saxony, who could however not establish permanent control. In 1514/15 Groningen came to the Duchy of Guelders, and in 1536 as the Lordship of Groningen to the Habsburg Netherlands.

In 1594, Groningen was conquered by the Republic of the Seven United Provinces, precursor state of the Netherlands, to which it belonged henceforth.

During World War II, the Netherlands were occupied by Nazi Germany. In April 1945, the 2nd Canadian Division fought in the Battle of Groningen, which resulted in the liberation of the city and in the death of 130, the capture of 5,212, and the fleeing of 2,000 German soldiers. In May 1945, another 3,000 German soldiers were captured in the Battle of Delfzijl by the 5th Canadian Division, after which all of the northern provinces were liberated.

East Groningen was the scene of a particularly fierce class struggle in the 19th and 20th centuries. Perhaps not coincidentally, Groningen boasts the only municipality (Beerta) where the Communist Party of the Netherlands has ever had a mayor (Hanneke Jagersma).

Geography

Groningen is situated at 53°15′N 6°44′E in the northeast of the Netherlands with to the west the province Friesland, to the south the province Drenthe, to the east the German districts Leer and Emsland in the state Lower Saxony, and to the north the North Sea, Ems, and Dollart. The northernmost point of the Netherlands is on Rottumerplaat at 53°33′18″N 6°28′41″E and the easternmost point of the Netherlands is in Bad Nieuweschans at 53°10′49″N 7°13′40″E.

Groningen is the 7th largest province of the Netherlands. It has a total area of 2,960 km2 (1,140 sq mi), with 2,325 km2 (898 sq mi) of land and 635 km2 (245 sq mi) of water. About 80% of the land or 1,876 km2 (724 sq mi) is used for agriculture. The rest of the land is: 9% or 158 km2 (61 sq mi) of built-up or semi built-up area, 6% or 144 km2 (56 sq mi) of nature, 3% or 66 km2 (25 sq mi) of infrastructure, and 2% or 43 km2 (17 sq mi) of recreational area.

The land in Groningen is flat. A large area of the province is below sea level. The Hasseberg near Sellingen of 14.6 m (48 ft) above sea level is the highest point.

The Groningen gas field near Slochteren is the 8th largest natural gas field in the world. Since 1986, the exploitation of this gas field has caused earthquakes in the region with magnitudes up to 3.6.

In the Wadden Sea of Groningen, a UNESCO World Heritage Site since 2009, are the sandbank Simonszand and the natural reserve Rottum consisting of the three uninhabited islands Rottumeroog, Rottumerplaat, and Zuiderduintjes. The national park Lauwersmeer (IUCN category II) is located on the border between Groningen and Friesland.

Subdivisions

The province of Groningen is also called Stad en Ommelanden, which means the city of Groningen and its surrounding lands, which are the historical regions of Fivelingo, Hunsingo, Oldambt, Westerkwartier, and Westerwolde.

The province (Nomenclature of Territorial Units for Statistics or NUTS level 2) is divided into three COROP regions (NUTS level 3): East Groningen, Delfzijl and surroundings, and the rest of Groningen. The COROP regions are used for statistical purposes.

The province is also divided into 23 municipalities with each their own local government. There are plans to merge these municipalities into six new municipalities in 2018. Currently, Groningen is the most populated and most densely populated municipality, containing the largest city, and Eemsmond is the largest municipality, containing a large part of the Wadden Sea in the province. Ten Boer is the least populated, De Marne is the least densely populated, and Appingedam is the smallest municipality.

The nine municipalities Bedum, Groningen, Haren, Hoogezand-Sappemeer, Leek, Slochteren, Ten Boer, Winsum, and Zuidhorn are part of the interprovincial Groningen-Assen Region and the seventeen municipalities Appingedam, Bellingwedde, Delfzijl, Eemsmond, Groningen, Grootegast, Haren, Hoogezand-Sappemeer, Leek, Menterwolde, Oldambt, Pekela, Slochteren, Stadskanaal, Veendam, Vlagtwedde, and Zuidhorn are part of the international Ems Dollart Region (EDR).

Economy

The city of Groningen is the economic center of the province. In the 14th century, the city became a member of the Hanseatic League. Currently some of the city's major employers are University Medical Center Groningen with 12,141 employees, University of Groningen with 5,591 employees, Municipality of Groningen with 3,063 employees, Education Implementation Service (DUO) with 2,000 employees, and Gasunie with 1,748 employees.

The other economically important area is the Ems delta with the sea ports of Delfzijl and Eemshaven. In 2015, a total of 11,589 cargo vessels arrived at the two Groningen Seaports combined, 7,111 sea vessels and 4,478 inland vessels. The ports had a cargo throughput of 11,309,000 tonnes. The chemical industry near Delfzijl is located at the Chemie Park in Farmsum, with factories of AkzoNobel, Lubrizol, and Teijin Aramid. Both GDF Suez and Nuon Energy have a natural gas-fired power plant in Eemshaven, and Essent is building a coal-fired power plant there.

In 1959, the Groningen gas field near Slochteren was discovered, and the NAM started to exploit the field in 1963. This caused Dutch disease and induced earthquakes.

In 2013, Groningen had a labor force of 268 thousand people and unemployment rate of 9.6%, which is the second highest unemployment for a province in the Netherlands.

Culture

Language

Groningen is home to the Low Saxon dialect called Gronings (Grönnegs / Grunnegs in Gronings regional language), In the eastern part of Friesland variations of the Groninger 'language' is spoken. Gronings has local nuances, for example, the people in the eastern part speak Gronings with more German influence. Nowadays, many inhabitants of the province don't speak the dialect, especially in the city of Groningen where many outsiders have moved.

Cuisine

Traditional dishes and delicacies from Groningen are boerenkoolstamppot, droge worst, krentjebrij, oudewijvenkoek, poffert, and spekdik. Traditional alcoholic drinks are boerenjongens, boerenmeisjes, fladderak, and heet bier.

Museums

Museumhuis Groningen is an umbrella organization for museums and other heritage organizations in the province of Groningen and has 58 members. The Groninger Museum is the most visited museum in the province with 209,195 visitors in 2015. The other museums and heritage organizations with more than 25 thousand visitors in 2015 are Fort Bourtange in Bourtange, Noordelijk Scheepvaartmuseum in Groningen, Ter Apel Monastery in Ter Apel, Fraeylemaborg in Slochteren, Nationaal Bus Museum in Hoogezand, and Museumspoorlijn STAR in Stadskanaal.

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