/groh"ning euhn/; Du. /khrddoh"ning euhn/, n.a city in the NE Netherlands. 162,952.
* * *▪ The Netherlandsgemeente (municipality), northern Netherlands, at the junction of the canalized Drentsche Aa and Hunze rivers and several canals. Although it probably existed in the 9th century, little is known before 1040, when it was given, along with the neighbouring districts then known as the Gorecht, to the bishops of Utrecht by the emperor Henry III. Originally an agricultural settlement, it developed into an important commercial centre on the Aa River, providing ships for the Crusades in the 12th century and joining the Hanseatic League c. 1282. By the 14th century, Groningen was a practically independent aristocratic republic that controlled the (Frisian) Ommelanden (Surrounding Regions) between the Ems (Eems) River and the Lauwerszee and maintained a tight monopoly of trade in the area. It passed to the duke of Gelderland in 1515 and to the emperor Charles V in 1536 and suffered numerous sieges and occupations in the wars of the 16th century. Held by the Spanish from 1580, it was constantly at war with the surrounding Ommelanden until it was taken by Maurice of Nassau in 1594. It successfully resisted a siege by the bishop of Münster in 1672, and its fortifications were improved in 1698 by Baron Menno van Coehoorn (Coehoorn, Menno, baron van), the Dutch military engineer. The city was controlled by the French from 1795 to 1814 and by the Germans during World War II, when it suffered heavy damage.Groningen has a university (1614) and several museums, including the provincial museum. Historic landmarks are the Martinikerk (St. Martin's Church; 1452), A-Kerk (a Gothic church; 1253), the old Ommelanderhuis (former extraterritorial venue of the representatives of the Ommelanden) in the refugium of an abbey, picturesque homes for old people, and 16th- and 17th-century houses. The painters Jozef Israëls (Israëls, Jozef) and Hendrik Willem Mesdag were born in Groningen.Now one of the most important cities in the northern Netherlands, it is a shopping and commercial centre with a considerable trade in cereals, oilseed, lumber, and cattle. Its industries include sugar refining, metallurgy, food-processing, and asphalt and steel manufacturing. Pop. (2007 est.) mun., 181,613; urban agglom., 343,163.▪ province, The Netherlandsprovincie, northern Netherlands, drained by numerous short rivers and canals, including the Ems (Eems), the Hoen, the Reit, and the Winschoten canals. The province occupies an area of 906 square miles (2,346 square km) between the Wadden Sea and the Ems Estuary (to the north and northeast), the German border (southeast), and the provinces of Drenthe and Friesland (south and west) and includes the Frisian island of Rottumeroog.The early history of the province is chiefly one of almost continuous conflict between the town of Groningen and the surrounding districts known as the Ommelanden. Although Groningen acquired a dominant position in the region, the disputes persisted; the Ommelanden subscribed to the Union of Utrecht (1579) and the revolt against Spain, while the town of Groningen remained loyal to the Spanish king. After 1594 the two were united into one republic, but until the French occupation the Ommelanden kept their own government and sometimes their own army. Only in 1795 were the two merged into one province.The sandy ridge of the Hondsrug extends from the Drenthe Plateau to the town of Groningen. The northern part of the province is flat and consists of marine and sandy clay, particularly in the estuaries reclaimed in the Middle Ages and the polders reclaimed later along the northern coast. This rich agricultural region produces wheat, barley, oats, potatoes, sugar beets, oilseeds, and pastures for livestock (especially in the Ommelanden around the capital). Except for the sandy islands of the Westerwolde region, the southeastern part of the province was an extensive peat bog until the end of the 16th century. Reclamation and the transformation of the sandy subsoil by manuring and fertilizing created an agricultural region (Groninger Veenkolonien). The morass along the German border had long been considered a natural frontier and so was left in its impassable condition until the second half of the 19th century. Agriculture in this region has specialized in rye, oats, and potatoes for the starch industry; this type of agriculture has been adopted by the adjoining regions of Westerwolde and the Woldstreek. Intensive cultivation creates a large residue of straw, used in local strawboard factories. The southwest of the province (southern Westerkwartier) has mainly sandy soil that supports mixed farming and cattle raising. Horse breeding and equestrian sports are a favourite activity among the wealthy in many of the agricultural regions of the province.Groningen, the capital and only large town, has varied industries. The largest natural gas field in The Netherlands underlies most of the north central part of the province. The Veenkolonien is the most industrialized district of the province, with potato flour mills; paper and cardboard factories; engineering, shipbuilding, chemical, and electrical industries; and textile and hosiery factories. There is sugar refining and dairy processing in the north, and Delfzijl, connected with Groningen by the Ems ship canal, is a busy port with chemical industries (salt). Winschoten is a marketing and shopping centre. Pop. (1983 est.) 560,700.
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