In the transition area between the historic city centre and the painters’ district, there is a fairy-tale building on one of the former city walls. They were built a century ago as accommodation for the Geology Department of the University of Groningen. Together with the Physics Laboratory, which was built by the same architect, this Mineralogical-Geological Institute, known locally as the ‘Vlintenhoes’ but these days as ‘the Castle’, dominates the view of the corner between Westersingel, Verlengde Visserstraat and Melkweg.
This Neo-Gothic building with the tower of Foucault and its famous pendulum, the hall with the geometric patterns and the Escher ceiling, the stairwell with the stained-glass windows, the gothic pointed arch windows and the richly decorated stairwells are an architectural attraction, a museum in their own right.
Besides its unusual architecture, Hét Kasteel is perhaps even better known for one of its illustrious previous inhabitants, W.F. Hermans, famous for his authorship and his very special relationship with the University and his students.
Up to the 1990s, the University of Groningen owned this historical building but in July 1996 it was acquired by Noorderpoort. As the building no longer performed any teaching functions and to make sure it did not become dilapidated, the Anti-vacancy group Carex was based there for a few years.
After the acquisition of Hét Kasteel, the adjacent Physics Laboratory and the corresponding land, the restoration was started under the auspices of Monumentenzorg, the Cultural Heritage Agency of the Netherlands. For example, the slate roofs were relaid, the stained-glass windows were repaired, the rooms restored to their original shapes where possible and a new colour scheme was determined following an historical paint study. The restoration under the leadership of Monumentenzorg produced a look that matches the grandeur of such a listed building. The layout was also adjusted to the new function of the building.
The listed building has had a multifunctional purpose since its completion. The museum room has been converted into a modern conference room and there are very representative meeting rooms. The refurbished central lobby with its brilliant marble floor can operate as a reception hall or room.
Route from/to train or Airport
From Groningen Central Station: City bus line 7, 8 or 9. Alight at the stop ‘Verlengde Visserstraat/Westersingel’. Public Transport Travel Information: www.9292ov.nl or 0900-9292 (0.75€/min).
- Westerhaven car park : at 2 minutes walk from Hét Kasteel.*
- On-street parking: paid on-street parking is limited to 2 hours.
- Own site: Parking spaces for disabled people, and loading and unloading.
Hotels and other accommodations
Hotel Miss Blanche All 39 rooms and 7 suites of Hotel Miss Blanche are detailed differently, even within the various room categories. Modern or monumental, economically compact or luxuriously large. Some rooms can only be reached by staircase, others by elevator. Some offer a terrace, or a bathtub, or a separate bedroom. Others still provide a view of the canal, or a French balcony, or a well stocked pantry, or all three.
What all rooms do have in common are very comfortable Serta beds, free high speed wifi, free coffee and tea facilities in the room and a super central location in the city of Groningen.
Hotel Prinsenhof IN THE CENTRE OF GRONINGEN
Partially due to its regal history, your stay at Prinsenhof will be one in a unique surrounding. The hotel has 34 rooms, among which are six Junior Suites, one Loft and a Royal Suite. If you wish, you can always combine your stay with a culinary experience at Restaurant Alacarte or a lunch or dinner at the Grand Café.
The 34 rooms, one by one, are furnished with a modern, comfortable and personal touch. The classic, historic elements are visible in various ways: you are staying under century-old beams and the Gardepoort, the ancient gate, holds the entrance to two suites. Your view will be either on the Martini Tower or on the monumental garden, the Prinsentuin.
Gustatio a Latin word for the first course of a meal, is an Italian restaurant in the center of Groningen opened in late 2014.
The owners are a family from Rome with a long experience in tourism and catering. We provide our customers with the most typical Italian dish, Pasta. Our pastas are cooked following the traditional recipes and ingredients of the Italian regions, that, over the last few centuries of gastronomic culture, have conquered the palates of the whole world.
Our menu is based on Italian classics such as Carbonara, Amatriciana, Ragu’ alla Bolognese, as well as other pastas that follow the latest trends in Italian cuisine. All of our recipes are prepared using both fresh and dried pasta, with gluten-free options. Our brigade consists, strictly, of Italian cooks from different parts of the country, therefore able, to contribute to the preparation of food with a different twist. Come also to enjoy our home made desserts!
Hanasato Japanese Restuarant
In Prinsenhof’s more rustic wing you can have a high-end culinary experience. Alacarte’s kitchen is run by executive chef Christian de Vries. Alacarte is innovative and receives praising reviews in the Michelin and Lekker Guides. Apart from the à la carte menu, we serve 3- to 7-course surprise menus, always respecting seasonal availabilities. You can choose to give it a finishing touch with accompanying wines from our international wine collection.
Maître-sommelier Ronald Aikes is in charge in the restaurant; together with hostess Iris Volgers he is dedicated to making your stay unforgettable.
Things to do...