Sunday, May 9, 2010

Groningen, the place I live in real.

This blog is about my Second Life but in world I been ask often where I live.
And now having 981 visitors from 60 countries ………………………
Non Europeans mostly not know where on the European map The Netherlands is.
So this post is to help them.
The Netherlands is a constituent country of the Kingdom of the Netherlands, located in North-West Europe. It is a parliamentary democratic constitutional monarchy. The Netherlands borders the North Sea to the north and west, Belgium to the south, and Germany to the east. The capital is Amsterdam and the seat of government is The Hague.
"Netherlands" literally means "Low countries" or "Lowlands". Dutch neder and English nether both mean "down(ward), below". The English word is now uncommon, as is the Dutch, mostly replaced by lower in English or laag in Dutch. Neder or nether may simply have denoted the geographical characteristics of the land, both flat and down river.
In many languages including English, "Holland" (Hollande, Holanda etc.) is a common name for the Netherlands as a whole. Even the Dutch use this sometimes. Strictly speaking, Holland is only the central-western region of the country comprising two of the twelve provinces, North Holland and South Holland (see figure). Such use of a part to designate its whole is sometimes called by the Latin term pars pro toto. Other examples are Russia for the (former) Soviet Union, and England for the United Kingdom.
The name "Holland" for the Netherlands is used colloquially by the Dutch themselves, especially in relation to football, where the national team is sometimes cheered on with the cry "Holland!" The name is used in international promotion, too, because "Holland" is the best known worldwide.
In the provinces furthest from Holland, notably Friesland, Groningen and Limburg, the word Hollander is frequently used in a pejorative sense, to refer to the perceived superiority or supposed arrogance of people from the Randstad – the main conurbation of Holland and of the Netherlands. As a natural reaction people from these provinces do not always appreciate being called Hollander.

"Dutch" refers to the inhabitants of the Netherlands and their language, and is used as an adjective meaning "coming from or belonging to the Netherlands". This lexical difference between the noun and the adjective is a peculiarity of the English language and does not exist in the Dutch language. Dutch is spoken not only in the Netherlands but also by the Flemish community in Belgium (in the Flemish Region and the Brussels-Capital Region), in parts of northern France (around Dunkirk), and in Suriname, Aruba and the Netherlands Antilles. Its southern dialects are sometimes called Flemish. Afrikaans, spoken in South Africa and the southern part of Namibia is derived from the Dutch language and closely related to it.
The English Dutch, the Dutch dietsch, and the German deutsch are cognate words. They have the same etymological origin, deriving from the Common West Germanic theodisca, which meant "(language) of the (common) people". During the early Middle Ages, the elite mostly used Latin and the common people used their local languages.
In the 1930s, Nazi Germany sought to "re-unite" the Dutch language area by referring to it as Dietsland.
In the United States, the term "Dutch" has sometimes been used instead of Deutsch to mean German or to indicate a German origin: Dutch Schultz, the Pennsylvania Dutch, "the Flying Dutchman" for Honus Wagner, etc.
The Netherlands is a geographically low-lying country, with about 20% of its area and 21% of its population located below sea level, with 50% of its land lying less than one meter above sea level. Significant land area has been gained through land reclamation and preserved through an elaborate system of polders and dikes. Much of the Netherlands is formed by the estuary of three important European rivers, which together with their distributaries form the Rhine-Meuse-Scheldt delta. Most of the country is very flat, with the exception of foothills in the far southeast and several low-hill ranges in the central parts.

Okay that is about The Netherlands and now something about the city Groningen where I live.

Groningen (province)
Groningen is the northeastern most province of the Netherlands. In the east it borders the German state of Niedersachsen (districts of Leer and Emsland), in the south Drenthe, in the west Friesland and in the north the Wadden Sea.
The Wadden Sea (Dutch: Waddenzee, German: Wattenmeer, Low German: Wattensee, Danish: Vadehavet, West Frisian: Waadsee) is an intertidal zone in the southeastern part of the North Sea. It lies between the coast of northwestern continental Europe and the range of Frisian Islands, forming a shallow body of water with tidal flats and wetlands. It is rich in biological diversity. In 2009, the Dutch and German parts of the Wadden Sea were inscribed on UNESCO's World Heritage List.

The capital of the province is the city of Groningen.

Groningen (city)
Groningen is the capital city of the province of Groningen in the Netherlands. With a population of around 188,000, it is by far the largest city in the north of the Netherlands. Groningen is a university city, inhabited on average by about 50,000 students.
History
The city was founded on the northernmost point of the Hondsrug area. The oldest document referring to Groningen's existence dates from 1040. However, the city already existed long before then: the oldest archaeological traces found are believed to stem from the years 3950 BC–3720 BC, although the first major settlement in Groningen has been traced back to the 3rd century AD.
In the 13th century, when Groningen was an important trade centre, its inhabitants built a city wall to underline its authority. The city had a strong influence on the surrounding lands and made its dialect a common tongue. The most influential period of the city was the end of the 15th century, when the nearby province of Friesland was administered from Groningen. During these years, the Martini Tower was built, which loomed over the city at (then) 127 metres tall, making it the highest building in Europe at the time. The city's independence came to an end when it chose to join forces with the Spanish during the Eighty Years' War in 1594. It later switched sides, joining the Republic of the Seven United Netherlands.
In 1614, the University of Groningen was founded, initially only for religious education. In the same period the city expanded rapidly and a new city wall was built. That same city wall was tested during the Third Anglo-Dutch War in 1672, when the city was attacked fiercely by the bishop of Münster, Bernhard von Galen. The city walls resisted, an event which is celebrated with music and fireworks on 28 August (as "Gronings Ontzet" or "Bommen Berend").
The city did not escape the devastation of World War II. In particular, the main square, Grote Markt, was largely destroyed in April 1945, at the Battle of Groningen.



Canadian soldiers during the Battle of Groningen >

However, the Martinitoren, its church, the Goudkantoor, and the city hall were not damaged. The battle there lasted several days.

Goudkantoor (Gold Office), 1630s, Groningen
Cycling
Groningen has been called the "World Cycling City", since 57% of journeys within the city are made by bicycle. The city is very much adapted to the wishes of those who want to get around without a car, as it has an extensive cycle network, good public transport, and a large pedestrianised zone in the city centre.
Bikes outside the University, Groningen
Jill and Ian from the UK write on there blog:
Groningen has banned cars from the city completely, leaving buses and bikes and feet as the only means of moving from place to place. Every citizen seems to own a bike. Whereas in Germany there are neat, sedate cycle routes with their own traffic lights, here in Holland it is a free for all with cyclists weaving their way amongst the pedestrians. It is actually quite frightening and takes ages to cross the road as bikes appear from nowhere and their riders always seem to have their minds on something else. Mobile phones and i-pods are the most common, but other eat their lunches as they go and everyone has bags dangling from their handlebars. We saw one mum on her bike with four carrier bags and two children – one asleep on a seat in front, another up behind. She was weaving her way amongst other cyclists and pedestrians. We just hoped her mobile didn't ring!
Canals and the river A surround the city centre. These are crossed by low swing bridges that are opened to allow boats to pass through. We watched as hundreds of cyclists were forced to wait until one of the bridges was back in place. Immediately they sped off, straight into those coming the other way! Outside the university thousands of bikes were lined up. How did the owners ever find their own one again?
This is very near my house and no, I am not on this picture.
And Mario Ragucci an American Bicycle Rider in Groningen comments,
 
You should check out America and you would understand why . I was impressed and shocked :-) Having no cars around for a bicycle person is the way it should be,
You are lucky to live there in Groningen.

And back to the Blog of Jill and Ian from the UK:
In the large market square there were stalls selling fabrics. This is so rarely seen now in England but the tradition of making clothes seems as popular as ever to judge by the speed of sales. Even we bought some fleecy blue material as cushion covers for Modestine (there small camping car). We managed a perfectly coherent conversation with the stall holder, us speaking English and him Dutch. It's a strange language. Some things are so obvious while others are totally incomprehensible. It has many elements of both German and English.
So that's all about my home city Groningen

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