Unesco’s World Heritage site: The Wadden Sea
The Wadden Sea (Dutch: Waddenzee) is an intertidal zone in the southeastern part of the North Sea, located approximately 35 kilometres (22 miles) from Groningen. In 2009 it was inscribed on Unesco’s World Heritage List. It is famous for its rich biological diversity: this natural site provides shelter for a large number of fish species. Millions of migratory birds use the area as a migration stopover or wintering site, and a considerable population of seals calls the Wadden Sea their home.
The unique Wadden Sea islands are marked by dunes and wide, sandy beaches towards the North Sea and a low, tidal coast towards the Wadden Sea. Twice a day, during the period of low water, large parts of the Wadden Sea dry up.
At 1.15 PM we will leave Groningen (meeting point in front of the the conference venue) in a luxurious coach. Under the supervision of a professional tourist guide we will arrive in Lauwersoog-harbour one hour later. Then you get the opportunity to discover the Wadden Sea by a traditional Dutch sailing vessel. We are going to navigate alongside the island of Schiermonnikoog and hopefully the beauty of both sea and land will astound you. No doubt we will encounter seals, which are usually sunbathing on one of the many sandbanks of the Wadden Sea.
On board you can enjoy coffee, tea and, if desired, an alcoholic beverage. We will depart at Lauwersoog at 5.00 PM, and will then drive back to Groningen. We expect to be at the conference venue at 06.00 PM.
Costs per person: € 65,- (a minimum of 30 participants is required)
A walk through the City of Groningen
This tour will take you to the past, present and future of the so-called ‘City of Saint Martin’. Your professional tourist guide welcomes you at the base of the Tower of Saint Martin (Dutch: Martini-toren) at 2 PM.
You will enjoy the stories of the Tower of Saint Martin, the Grote Markt and the Town Hall. Your guide will show you the beautifully restored ‘Goudkantoor’ (Office of Gold), the historical Corn Exchange on the Fish Market, the ‘former city harbours’, where the sailing fleet used to have its moorings. And of course you get to see the famous buildings of the University of Groningen, built in prominent neo-renaissance style.
During the Middle Ages, Groningen was an important city for pilgrims who venerated the relics of John the Baptist. They found shelter in the ‘Peper Guest House’ (Dutch: Pepergasthuis), formed by a network of buildings with 2 courtyards. The Guest House is still open for visitors: you get to see the old church with its beautiful organ, the former asylum for the insane and the beautiful yards.
Around 4 PM the tour will be concluded with a drink at one of the many café’s of the Grote Markt. While you are enjoying your beverage, your guide will tell you all about the large construction site on the eastern side of the Grote Markt. That is where the ‘Forum’ will resurrect: a hypermodern and innovative building that will change the skyline of the city forever.
Costs per person: €19,-
Hooghoudt distillery: tour & tasting
Jenever, or Dutch gin in the English-speaking world, is the juniper-flavored national and traditional liquor of the Netherlands and Belgium. There are two types of jenever: oude (old) and jonge (young) jenever. This is not a matter of aging, but of distilling techniques. Groningen is well known for its Hooghoudt distillery, which has been producing traditional Jenevers since 1888.
You will literally get to know Hooghoudt from the inside. You will discover our showpieces and milestones dating back 125 years. You will find out how we came about our beloved tastes in our distillery. You will experience the ripening, brewing, extracting and huwen of Jenever. Of course you will finish off the experience with a fantastic tasting experience, a couple of our Jenevers. You can also enjoy genuine Hooghoudt lemonade if you desire. We are curious which flavors you enjoy the most.
Discover a variation of Hooghoudt beverages and receive an introduction to professional tasting during your tour Hooghoudt Tasting. Our house connoisseur Laurens Speek will teach you several special techniques regarding tasting, smelling and flavors. Of course, you will be able to observe a real kettle.
Laurens Speek is the tasting chef and culinary expert of Hooghoudt. He knows everything about our Jenevers and the culinary possibilities. So, of course we call him our "house connoisseur”. Laurens is called a real Hooghoudt expert in common Dutch terms.
Departure: 1 pm from the conference venue
Return: approximately 4.30 pm
Cost per person: €30.00 (minimum of 30 participants required)
Groninger Landscapes & Bird-watching: walking, cycling or small boating tours
Raymond Klaassen (Sustainable Landscapes Competence Centre, GELIFES) will organise small-scale biological excursions in the areas surrounding Groningen. These areas contain some of the characteristic semi-natural landscape of the north of the Netherlands, and form the habitats for various animals and plants. The excursions will consist of walking tours (5-15 km) or cycle tours (20-30km) under guidance of a field biologist in small groups (10-20 people per excursion). You will first travel by minivan (birdwatching) or coach (walking, cycling or boating tours) to the destination (approx. 1 hour drive):
Please, indicate which type of excursion (walking, cycling, boating) you sign up for, and indicate it clearly when you have a preference for which of the areas you would like to visit. The exact choice of the excursions will be decided based on the number of people that sign up for these excursions:
Walking tours (19 Euro pp)
Cycling tours (29 Euro pp)
Onlanden (min. 25 persons)
The Onlanden is a newly established nature reserve just south of the city of Groningen. It functions as a water retention basin to minimize flood risks for surrounding urban and agricultural areas. The area has developed into a prime marshland with an exceptional rich plant and animal life. There is even a small chance at an encounter with the enigmatic Otter Lutra lutra.
National Park Drentsche AA (min. 25 persons)
The Drentsche AA is a narrow creek meandering through the small-scale semi-natural landscapes of Drenthe, renowned for the beautiful scenery. Because of the variation of habitats, including dry and wet forests, meadows, agricultural areas and heathland, the area is notably rich in plants and animals. In addition, the area has high cultural values, for example, several prehistoric Dolmens are found.
In August bird migration already is in full swing. During this excursion we will visit some of the famous birding hotspots the northern Netherlands has to offer. This time of the year we could expect a high variety of shorebirds.
The Workumerwaard is located besides lake IJsselmeer. It is the hotspot for breeding meadow birds, in particular the Black-tailed Godwit, the Dutch National Bird. Much of the universities demography work on godwits is conducted here. During the excursion we will visit the agricultural landscape, and explore the contrast between intensively and extensively farmed grasslands. We will also peak over the other side of the dike, viewing lake IJsselmeer, famous for large concentrations of birds.
Cost per person: €35,00 (minimum of 8 participants required, max 16)
National Park Weerribben
Originally, the Weerribben was an impenetrable marshland, but due to the harvest of peat it is now possible to explore the area by boat. The extensive reedbeds are home to a specific community of birds and plants. In the wettest areas a rare Sphagnum-vegetation type is found that floats on water. We will traverse the area in small silent electric boats to enjoy the tranquil atmosphere.
Cost per person: €49,00 (minimum of 30 participants required)