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(Fun English language guided tours of the museum are available and are conducted by university staff and students.) With its numerous bike- and people-friendly pathways and old squares, Old Town Groningen is a delightful place to explore.

Highlights of a walking or cycling tour of the city's historic core include the magnificent early 19th-century Neoclassical Town Hall (Stadhuis) in the Grote Markt, and the superb Renaissance Gold Office (Goudkantoor) built in 1635.

Water sports enthusiasts are also spoiled for choice with such fun activities as sailing, canoeing, and kite surfing, while bird watching has become increasingly popular with many dedicated hides and lookouts being added over the years.

Just 61 kilometers due east of Groningen and close to the border with Germany, the fortified old village of Bourtange is a remarkable feat of engineering.

Established in 1934, the museum features fascinating displays including an Egyptian mummy, the world's first electromagnetic car, as well as displays relating to astronomy and ethnology.It later became a member of the Hanseatic League and developed into one of the leading commercial centers in northern Europe.The seat of a university founded in 1614, the city has long been a hotbed of creative talent, including being the birthplace of artists Jozef Israƫls and WH Message, and is well known for its lively cultural scene.Rebuilt in the 15th century, the old choir was replaced by one with tall Gothic vaulting and an ambulatory, while a chapel and sacristy were added to the north side.Interior highlights include 16th-century wall paintings in the choir, as well as the old organ built in 1480.The Northern Shipping Museum (Noordelijk Scheepvaartmuseum), housed in two interesting old medieval buildings known as Gotisch Huis and Canterhuis, provides a fascinating glimpse into Groningen's rich maritime history.

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