How to get to GRO

Groningen central station

Visa

The Netherlands is part of the European “Schengen” area; 26 countries that allow free travel without border controls at their internal borders. If you need a visum for the Schengen area, you must obtain it from the country that is your main destination in the Schengen area.

You can find information on whether you need a visum to visit The Netherlands here:
https://consular.mfaservices.nl/schengen-visa

You can contact the conference bureau if you need a proof of registration for your visa application: info@gcb.nl .

Corona-rules affecting travel

The Dutch government lifted its Corona-restrictions on travel, leaving only any European Union regulations or those of international airlines to check, especially if your arrive from outside the EU/Schengen Area. To our understanding, this means for passengers with an EU passport or those travelling from another country within the Schengen area, there will be no restrictions/obligations, apart from a health declaration that you should fill out if travelling by plane or ferry. Travel from almost all other countries is also allowed, though mostly a proof of vaccination is required (please do check the exact rules for which vaccines are accepted and for which time period after vaccination), and in some cases an additional test before travelling is needed. You can find the most up to date rules here https://reizentijdenscorona.rijksoverheid.nl/en .

Travel by air

IMPORTANT WARNING: Many airports currently suffer from a lack of staff (security; luggage handling), leading to very long queues; at Amsterdam Airport these are currently quite extreme. Make sure to arrive earlier at the airport than you may have done before the pandemic.

Amsterdam Schiphol Airport (AMS)

The most common way to fly in to The Netherlands is through Amsterdam Schiphol Airport (AMS).

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From Schiphol Airport, the easiest way to travel Groningen is by train. The  train station is located directly beneath the airport, within easy walking distance of luggage claim areas. Main rail lines in The Netherlands are operated by Nederlandse Spoorwegen (NS), you will recognize it its yellow and blue colors. Just follow the signs that direct ‘to trains’.

Groningen Airport Eelde (GRQ)

Groningen has a small airport: Groningen Airport Eelde (GRQ), which currently only has flights to some popular holiday destinations. Further information and a list of all destinations can be found here.

Groningen Airport is accessible by bus 9 (Groningen – Eelde).

Travel by train

Groningen can easily be reached by train, also with just a few connections from Germany, France, Belgium, England.

Domestic Train Tickets

You will have to purchase a single-use chip card (this is your train ticket) to Groningen at the ticket counter or at the yellow and blue ticket-vending machines that you will find in the luggage claim hall and by every entrance to the train terminal. You can purchase tickets from the machines only by using your Credit Card or a Debit Card with the Maestro logo. The vending machines do not take other Credit Cards or American Debit Cards.

If you use a single-use chip card or OV-chipkaart please make sure you check in and out; hold your OV-chipkaart up against the NS card reader at/near the gates/entrances to the platform.

You can also buy your ticket online and simply print it yourself (see NS website). This allows you to take care of everything whenever and wherever it suits you. All you have to do is complete the journey details, pay for the order, download and print your e-ticket. This means that you can board the train straight away!

Regular domestic Dutch trains do not use seat-reservations. A ticket is valid on the date printed on the ticket on any train on the route. A new single ticket has to be bought for the return trip.

(PS if you travel to other locations in The Netherlands, be aware that some of the smaller rail lines are operated by different companies, which means that you have to check out from one company and check in with the other when changing; this even confuses Dutch people regularly…).

Train schedules

Information on traveling by train is available on NS domestic or NS International.

The journey from Schiphol Airport takes just over two hours and Groningen is the last stop. Direct or connecting trains offer a service to Groningen every 30 minutes. The trains are quite comfortable and (most trains) feature free wireless Internet in all classes and 220V AC outlets in first class. Food and drinks are not sold on the trains –though occasionally a rail catering service may be present in one of the carriages for part of a journey-  so please make sure that you purchase these beforehand at the airport. Please note that trains do not operate at night, check the travel planner for early or late flight connections. The travel planner also gives updates on railroad maintenance works or other disruptions and gives alternative routes. For scheduled work this is available 10 days before travel date. So make sure to check the planner before your trip to make sure you don’t face unexpected delays.

Once you walk out of the station, you will find the busses on your right hand side and taxis on the left.

Travel by car

Please note that car traffic in the city center is restricted and street parking is very limited. There is major construction work at the southern beltway as well. Also be aware of the numerous cyclists that may not exactly follow traffic regulations. There are multiple parking garages located near the center. More information on car parking in Groningen, including the street parking regulations, can be found here.  Read here about our road work in progress and key traffic projects and discover smart travel alternatives.

Travel by bicycle

If you are very brave, why not travel by bicycle…. https://www.hollandcyclingroutes.com/

If you come on bike, please note that in the inner city in some areas bicycles can only be in bicycle stands or designated areas (or they will be towed…). Locals sometimes take the risk and park anywhere anyway, but if you care about your bike, don’t follow their example! If in doubt, best option is the free underground bicycle parking at Grote Markt, open 24/7. Entry Oude Ebbingestraat 18. Offers 1500 places…. You can also park your bike in the racks behind the Harmonie Building if there are places left (they are located outside, so also available 24/7).

Taxis in Groningen

Taxi Groningen: +31 (0)50 – 549 7676, https://www.taxicentralegroningen.nl/
Taxi Noord: +31 (0)50 – 549 4940, https://www.taxinoord.nl/
Schiphol Taxi Groningen: +31 (0)50 – 850 7519, https://www.schipholtaxigroningen.nl/en/

Planning your journey in the Netherlands

You might find the website https://9292.nl/en very useful for planning your journey in the Netherlands. The planner combines all available public transport – trains, buses, trams, metro, and boats – to provide an optimal route. It also informs you real-time about the current delays and disruptions in public transport.