We are pleased to welcome you to the Christmas Urban Walk. During this walk you will get a unique glimpse into several of the city’s leading outdoor and indoor locations. At these locations, based on the theme of Light in the Night, the ancient Christmas story comes back to life. Follow the directions of the Signposts (recognizable by their lanyard) to experience the Route optimally.
The Christmas Urban Walk takes about an hour, assuming about five minutes per location. Would you rather do the short route of about 30 minutes? Then click here.
The Nieuwe Markt is a square surrounded by vibrant restaurants and historic buildings. Under the Nieuwe Markt is a parking space for bikes. This square was realized when the eastern wall of the Grote Markt was being renovated between 2012 and 2020.
The Urban Walk begins here on the Nieuwe Markt with the census. Sign up and join us on our journey.
‘In those days Caesar Augustus issued a decree that a census should be taken. And everyone went to their own town to register.’
The Forum Groningen takes a prominent place on the Nieuwe Markt and opened its doors to the public in 2019. The Forum is a general meeting place for residents and visitors to the city of Groningen. The Forum houses a library, a movie theater, exhibition spaces and a tourist office.
Allow yourself in the lobby of the Forum to be moved by well-known pop songs that give expression to the journey through life we all make. What elements do you recognize yourself in?
‘The light shines in the darkness, and the darkness has not overcome it.’
The Martinikerkhof has been used for centuries as a cemetery. This stopped in 1828 when, in response to the Groninger Disease, a ban was issued on burials within the city walls. Today it breathes the atmosphere of a small park, an oasis of peace in the inner city.
Today, the Martinikerkhof displays the shepherds in the field who were startled by a bright light. In what area of your life or for whom do you long for light to break through?
‘That night some shepherds were living out in the fields near Bethlehem. They were keeping their sheep safe. Then an angel of the Lord appeared to them. A bright light from God shone all around them.’
This renaissance courtyard garden was constructed in 1626. The adjacent Prinsenhof was from 1594 the residence of the stadtholders: the Princes of Nassau. The garden includes a rose garden, herb garden and beautiful berceaus (a path overgrown with trees).
In this beautiful place, you are invited to reflect on what ‘light in the night’ means to you personally and to this world, far away and close to home.
‘He will shine on us and guide our feet into the way of peace.’
Navigators Studentenvereniging Groningen (N.S.G.) is one of the largest Christian student associations of the Netherlands. Since 2014, N.S.G. has been housed in this warehouse. The Domus Veritatis (House of Truth) is a meeting place for members, a workplace for its board and committees and the location of numerous activities organized by N.S.G.
In this building, you will meet Mary, the mother of Jesus and her husband Joseph.
‘But the angel said to her, “Do not be afraid, Mary; you have found favor with God. You will conceive and give birth to a son, and you are to call him Jesus.’
Since 1810, the city hall of Groningen has been located on the Grote Markt. This beautiful, neoclassical structure was completely renovated between 2020-2022. The city hall is the workplace for the mayor and aldermen, as well as the place where the city council meets. Also, marriages are performed in the wedding hall.
Today the City Hall is being transformed into the King’s palace, and you may come for an audience.
‘The wise men from the east asked, ‘Where is the baby who has been born as the king of the Jews? We saw his special star when it first appeared in the sky. So now we have come here to worship him.’
From the Vismarkt, the church, situated along its churchyard, towers high above the Korenbeurs. The Akerk is about 800 years old. It was built for Catholic church services and was taken over by Protestants during the Reformation. Presently, the building is no longer used as a church. Today it is used for meetings and events.
In the Akerk is the grand finale. The light has come. Jesus Christ has been born. What is your response to his coming?
‘And going into the house, they saw the child with Mary his mother, and they fell down and worshiped him.’
When you reach the Akerk you have arrived at the end of the Route.
We hope you enjoyed the Christmas Urban Walk. We wish you happy holidays and hope to meet you during one of our upcoming activities. For more information, we would like to refer you to our website or our social media.