7 March 2024

Groningen has many beautiful streets, but not all of them receive the same amount of attention. Some streets, even though they are in the city centre, are simply a little more hidden or underappreciated. One of the streets that deserves a bit more praise, in my opinion, is Zwanestraat. I'll highlight a few examples on why this is a wonderful little street, and why you should visit it more.

Specialty stores
Zwanestraat may not be a very long street, but it has quite a lot to offer when it comes to specialty stores. The biggest of these is Van Beek, an art supply store. It's technically just outside of Zwanestraat, where it meets Stoeldraaierstraat, but I'm still mentioning it because it's a great place to visit. Whether you're working onprofessional artwork, like to work with your hands as a hobby or need an original present, chances are high you'll find what you're looking for at Van Beek. They also have beautiful, hand-crafted wrapping paper for gifts.

If you're in need of some new cooking gear, you may want to try Cookinglife Groningen. This place doesn't just have the latest pans and pots, but also cutlery and crockery. In other words: everything to upgrade your kitchen and dining set.Talking about kitchens, if you're looking for anything home-related you might also want to try Woonzooi. I'll be honest, it might not be the store for students, either taste-wise or budget-wise, but it's a good place to find a nice vase or a cushion for your mother-in-law. They also have some smaller (and thus relatively affordable) items you might want to take home yourself.

Now, if you're a Dutchie, or trying to live more like a Dutchie, or if you just really love cheese, there is De Kaaskop. The specialty store for cheese in the city centre. It's the perfect store to expand your taste palette or find a snack that's a little more boujee than your regular bag of chips (maybe for a nice date?). If you're a vegan or trying to consume less dairy, there are also some options for you here, including plant-based cheeses!

For coffee and tea there's Simon Lévelt. If you're a coffee or tea burgundian, they've got some nice brews for you. They also sell their own blends for iced tea in the warmer days, which are deliciously fruity.

The perfect lunch
Zwanestraat has some great lunch places. Perhaps the best known among them is Bagels & Beans, as it is a lunchroom chain throughout The Netherlands. They have some really nice options, including many vegetarian and plant-based ones. They also serve fresh juices and a personal recommendation is the Pulled Paddo bagel.

For a more classic Dutch lunchroom you can visit the Ugly Duck or De Swaen, where they serve typical sandwiches or 'belegde broodjes', including kroketten. The Bakkerscafé is similar, but apart from a lunchroom it's also a bakery, so you can get fresh loafs and pastries here.

The only place to get dinner that's in the actual Zwanestraat is Olympia, a nice Greek restaurant that opens in the evening. But given the street's location, many other dinner options are nearby.

When it comes to clothing stores there is absolutely no shortage in Zwanestraat. What's typical here is that you'll mostly find boutiques: small, independent clothing stores. From gentlemen's shoes to lingerie, there are so many of them that I won't bore you with going over them all. Instead I just encourage you to go out there and explore, because these tiny shops are really easy to pass by without noticing.

It may not feel like it, but Zwanestraat is actually one of the younger streets in Groningen's city centre. It was named after Die Witte Swane, a house on Grote Markt in the location where Zwanestraat now begins. It was purchased by the city in 1610 to start the construction of the street. Until this day, many historical buildings remain, many of which are now monuments. My advice is to look up a little from all the shop windows, and notice the beautiful buildings that house them. You will see many extravagant 17th-century facades, roofs and windows, which definitely gives you a sense of history.

That's all there is to tell about Zwanestraat! Hopefully this will make you notice this beautiful, little street a bit more and encourage you to explore it, because you won't regret it.