Preview – King’s Day in Groningen (2)

King’s Day 2018 in Groningen, the Netherlands, on 27 April will start at the Prinsenhof. Nowadays this part of the building is a nice hotel with a grand café and a restaurant. This is where King Willem-Alexander and Queen Máxima spent the night before their province visit to Groningen and Drenthe on 28 May 2013 started. At 11am the royal family will be greeted by mayor Peter den Oudsten of Groningen and the King’s Commissioner in the province of Groningen, René Paas at the gate of the Prinsenhof.

At the Martinikerkhof between the hotel and the Martini Church there are several activities. They cross the Martinikerkhof (Martini Churchyard) and pass the church on the left side.

In 1439 a certain Willem Wigboldus became the owner of a house and some land. The Prinsenhof thus became the property of the Brethren of Communal Life, of which Wigboldus was a member. Around 1490 they built a big house, which in 1556 became a church and by then was surrounded by several other buildings. The grand café of the hotel used to be the church of the Brethren and this 15th century building is the oldest part of the building left. The first bishop of Groningen Knijff had the building enlarged, before finally taking up residence at it. He died in 1576 of the plague. Afterwards it was the residence of the Spanish Stadtholders George de Lalaing, Count of Rennenberg and Verdugo. Between 1594 and 1795 the Prinsenhof was the Groninger Residence of the Dutch Stadtholders. When they left, the building was used as a chemical laboratry, boarding school and a military hospital. After World War II, until 2005, the local broadcasting company had its seat in the building. Only in 2012 it turned into a hotel.

At the back of the hotel you’ll find the Prinsentuin Gardens. The letters W and A, cut from taxus hedges, refer to viceroy Willem Frederik and his spouse Albertine Agnes. If the royal family arrives a bit early, they could have a quick look there before they start their visit.

Be aware that the main centre will almost fully be closed for cars from 26 April at 7pm to the end of the day on 27 April. (Motor)cycles can’t be parked between 26 april at 6pm to the end of the day on 27 April in and around the royal route. Best way is to leave your car in one of the parking garages outside the city centre, or come by train. The walk to the main centre and the royal area is not that far, about 10-15 minutes.

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