Let us introduce Groningen

Groningen is the largest city in the north of the Netherlands, with a young, dynamic and highly-educated population. Its 230,000 inhabitants enjoy a high quality of life. It is home to several top-ranking knowledge institutes and exciting start-ups. We are recognized as a breeding ground for innovation, attracting many forward-thinking entrepreneurs. This vibrant student city is also the region’s economic driving force. Newcomers are welcomed warmly: Groningen is home to over 144 nationalities. We have lost count of the number of innovative projects that have flourished in this fertile environment, focusing on themes such as sustainability, healthy ageing and digitalization. And the key to the success of each of these projects has lain in collaboration: collaboration with both public and private partners but also, and most importantly, collaboration with the end users – our city’s residents and visitors.

Groningen: a greener, healthier and happier city

For its current coalition period, Groningen City Council has set itself several major targets, one of which is to improve the quality of life of its residents. It seeks to foster an inclusive society in which participation is welcomed, individual voices are heard and everyone feels at home. To that end, ambitious plans are in place to stimulate energy transition, neighbourhood renewal, healthy living, social inclusion, job opportunities, mobility and education.

Groningen in Europe

Groningen is already involved in a wide range of innovative European Projects, including the Smart City Lighthouse Project ‘Making City’ and several projects on the uptake of hydrogen. Since many of Groningen’s ambitions are shared by other cities across Europe, European cooperation makes perfect sense. Indeed, we have found that it is precisely this cooperation that accelerates and improves existing innovative projects and inspires new ones. It provides the perfect platform for sharing best practices and learning from each other. We are enthusiastic participants in several European networks and have a satellite office in Brussels, the heart of Europe, to help us stay abreast of interesting developments and opportunities.

Groningen’s goals within Europe

Time and again over the last decade, we have experienced firsthand what can happen when we link up with other European cities and organizations to achieve shared ambitions. Groningen believes in facing global challenges together. Many of the issues we face as individual countries within Europe are also issues that we have in common. The key to finding the best innovative solutions lies in our willingness to exchange knowledge and foster cross-border cooperation. As a Europe-oriented city, we have defined our goals and ambitions for the next decade and drawn up a strategy for achieving them. It should come as no surprise that every facet of that strategy has European cooperation at its heart. Our seven priority areas are outlined below:

Energy transition

Groningen plans to be CO2-neutral in 2035. To that end, we are creating socially inclusive district energy plans, in cooperation with our residents. This energy transition process will serve as the driving force towards integral neighbourhood renewal. We will be seeking to upscale the ‘Positive Energy District’ approach and searching for new ways to tackle energy poverty.


We recognize the potential of hydrogen as an important innovative energy carrier and aim to use it extensively in the energy systems of the future. Groningen’s ambition is to play a central role in the development of Europe’s new energy systems and to be involved in the advancement of hydrogen vehicles and infrastructures.

Climate adaption

We see Groningen as a living lab where innovative climate adaptation solutions can be tested. Our aim is to
make optimum use of the science hub located at our city’s Global Center on Adaptation, where the focus lies on innovation and education. As a region, we have the capacity to become a front-runner in climate adaptation.

Circular economy

Groningen is working towards being a 100% zero-waste city by 2030. We are designing a Circularity Hub for waste disposal and we are working on a circular water sewage system, as well as exploring eco-friendly construction methods. We have a designated experimentation zone at our disposal which we can use to develop circular solutions for residential settings.

Quality of life

Improving quality of life is the leading principle of our current coalition agreement. In this context, ourfocus is on social inclusion, green environments, accessible public spaces and healthy ageing. Our aim is to develop ‘Feel-Good Cities’: integral urban development projects that revolve around the well-being of the citizens. We also plan to create a Feel-Good Cities monitor.

Sustainable mobility

Groningen’s ambition is to create an emission-free city centre by 2025. We also envision Groningen as a living lab for the creation of inventive mobility solutions, working together with European partners on the sustainable mobility solutions of the future.

Digital transition

Groningen recognises the growing importance of digitalization. It therefore plans to support all its citizens, regardless of age, in
improving their digital skills. In a European context, it is our ambition to develop hubs for the sharing and development of digital knowledge, such as a ‘Digital Literacy Coalition’. The City of Groningen also wants to find creative ways to improve its municipal digital services.