This year around Christmas, Groningen will again be a seasonal festive winter wonderland during WinterWealth and Groningen Winter City. From 18 through 20 December, WinterWealth will take place for the third consecutive year in the Groningen city centre, when the quays of the Hoge der A and Lage der A will be all about music, visual art, poetry, literature and food and drinks. During the Groningen Winter City from 3 December through 3 January, a 40 by 15-metre ice-rink will be set up on the Ossenmarkt square.
During WinterWealth, all kinds of activities for adults as well as children will take place on ships, quays and in the Scheepvaartmuseum (Nautical Museum). The organisation is expecting to exceed the number of visitors in 2008 when WinterWealth drew 12,000 visitors.
During WinterWealth, dozens of charter ships (many of them historical) will be moored at the quays of the Hoge der Aa and Lage der A. In the (summer) season these ships take tourists for sailing trips across the Wadden Sea, the IJsselmeer Lake and other waters, with Groningen as their home port. During the WinterWealth event, the ships are open free of charge for the public to meet the captains who love to share stories about their work and their ships.
The Christmas market takes place on the quays amid the ships, where visitors can buy art, jewellery, literature and enjoy a drink and bite to eat. During the event, the Nautical Museum is open free of charge, and holds children’s activities such as face-painting, climbing the greasy pole and creating flags.
Groningen Winterstad (Groningen Winter City)
During the Groningen Winter City event from 3 December through 3 January, a real ice-rink measuring 40 by 15 metres will be set up on the Ossenmarkt square. Various attractions, activities and concerts will be held, both in the afternoon and in the evenings. Until the Christmas holidays, there are special educational days for children, during which pupils receive skating lessons, for example. There are special packages for companies and institutions.
Visitors can go to the Ice café or Winter square for a warm drink or bite to eat. From time to time, musical and theatrical performances are held in the café.
The ice rink is open on Sunday through Thursday from 10 am until 10.30 pm and on Fridays and Saturdays from 10 am until 11.30 pm. During Christmas and on New Year’s Eve, the rink closes at 7 pm. The entrance fee to the ice rink is € 3.00, and skates can be hired for € 4.00.
3FM Serious Request
These events coincide with 3FM Serious Request, a campaign by a Dutch radio company. During the six days before Christmas, the Glass House of 3FM Serious Request will be put up on the Grote Markt in Groningen. With the Serious Request campaign, famous 3FM radio DJs want to collect as much money as possible and demand attention for a ‘silent emergency’. This year’s yield will go to the prevention and combating of malaria. They do this by confining themselves for six days without any food, while making live radio and television 24 hours a day and play requested songs in exchange for a gift for the good cause. For this campaign, 3FM Serious Request will be collaborating with the Red Cross.