Every year in mid-August, Groningen hosts the increasingly popular Festival Noorderzon (w noorderzon.nl), a ten-day blend of theatre, music, film and performance art. About a third of the events are free, many of them staged in the Noorderplantsoen park, a fifteen minute walk north along Nieuwe Kijk in ’t Jatstraat. Come night-time, food stalls and drinking-holes surround the lake in the park, while folk stroll along the lantern-lit paths or chill on the lake’s stone steps to the sound of Afrobeat, Latin, funk, rock, jazz or ambient music. Other entertainment includes circuses, mime, puppetry, videos and installations. Hotels get busy, so if you’re planning to visit around this time you’d do well to book in advance.

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