Hello everyone and welcome to my blog!

This blog is created for the course 'Passions of Tourism' of the University of Groningen. My name is Tessa and I am a 19-year-old student. In this blog, I will impersonate a tourist and visit several places in Groningen, about which I will write while using some knowledge about the study of tourism.

Have fun reading!

maandag 8 februari 2016


With this last blog, I conclude my journey through Groningen. I hope you all enjoyed my experiences and their theoretical connections. I am glad that the places I pass by everyday have now received some extra thought and attention from me. Places such as the Folkingestraat, the Noorderplantsoen and the Academy Building. Moreover, it is nice that I have finally visited places that I wanted to visit for a long time, such as the Groninger museum.

Hopefully the theories I used in my blogs will be somewhat clearer now, for you, the reader. And hopefully you might start thinking about the questions I posed in my blog yourself: What is tourism? How is it constructed? What are important tourism sights in your environment and why? The answers I have given in my blog are not final and open for discussion, so let’s discuss!

I would like to thank you for reading my blog!

- Tessa

zondag 7 februari 2016


In 2015, the Folkingestraat has been awarded the name of “the most fun shopping street of the Netherlands”.[1] It is filled with small, alternative shops and it has existed since the 11th century. It also has a rich Jewish cultural history, with a Synagogue placed at one of the ends of the street.

Being ‘the most fun’, you would say that the Folkingestraat needs to have something unique in comparison to other shopping streets within and outside of Groningen. It is true that, if you compare it to the Herestraat (a bigger shopping street in Groningen), the atmosphere is different. There are no big stores such as the H&M, but small, unique shops. The award was given to the street after people could vote for their favourite street.

What is interesting is that, although the Folkingestraat is ‘most fun’, it is definitely not the most popular. In the Herestraat it is most of the times way busier. The fact that people have voted on this specific street might have to do with the performance (see blogpost: Groninger Museum) of the street. It presents itself as being one of a kind, thus people take over this opinion. Or, people go there to manifest themselves as ‘alternative’, thus the street gets an ‘alternative’ image. It stays the case that the ‘most fun’ shopping street has to fulfil the requirement of having something special (and not being mainstream). If you vote for the awards, the Herestraat and the Kalverstraat (Amsterdam) are definitely not in the race. Although I do not know if the Folkingestraat is 'most fun', I agree that it is fun and that you should definitely visit it!

- Tessa

[1] "Groningse Folkingestraat is 'leukste straat van Nederland'," NU, accessed February 6, 2016, http://www.nu.nl/groningen/4000925/groningse-folkingestraat-leukste-winkelstraat-van-nederland.html

Academy Building

As stated before in the blog on the Noorderplantsoen, story-telling is an important part of touristic experiences. Not only the fact that it contributes to the construction of someones social identity makes research of narratives interesting, also the question how the telling of a story changes within different settings provides enough research material.[1] The Academy Building is an important place for me, as a student. Most of my lectures are held here as well as important ceremonial occasions. It is not a tourist place in the sense that you can visit it (while its open for everyone I have not seen any tourists walking around in the building), but the sight is very determining for Groningen as a city.

If I would pretend I am a tourist who enters the building, I would encounter a dignified interior with high stairs and stained glass windows. This stately look might be something that impresses me and will lead to an incentive to tell stories about it. As stated in the article (see footnote), stories of tourist experiences should have an ‘entertainment value’ (which is less the case when telling stories about daily-life). The story about the Academy Building might thus be exaggerated, for example, by saying that the interior would be similar to the interior of a Royal Palace!

- Tessa

[1]Scott McCabe & Clare Foster, "The Role and Function of Narrative
in Tourist Interaction", Journal of Tourism and Cultural Change 4 (2006): 194-215, accessed January 22, http://dx.doi.org/10.2167/jtcc071.0

Groninger Museum

On the 1st of February, I went to the Groninger Museum with the rest of my seminar group (from Passions of Tourism, see introduction). We met up with the art director, Andreas Blühm, who told us something about the history of museums in general and the history of the Groninger museum in specific. He also explained us the reasons of the museum's succes: both the location and the unique architecture. The museum is location on the bridge between the station and the city centre, which means that everyone who visits Groningen by train has to pass the museum. Moreover, the architecture is modern and eye-catching, with lots of colours.

Hazel Tucker, a tourism scholar who has researched tours in New Zealand ethnographically, lays her focus on the way tourist performances are constructed. In her research, she describes the interaction between the tour guide and the tourists.[1] In a museum, a similar experience occurs.  Here, the way the museum presents itself influences how tourists perceive it, and the other way around: how the tourists perceive the museum influences how it is presented. Mr. Blühm explained that the museum is not known for its collection, but more for its role in the region and its ‘look’. Stating this, the museum attracts different tourists than for example the Rijksmuseum or Van Gogh. These tourists know what is inside the museum and come to see, for example, the Nachtwacht. Thus, they might only focus on a specific piece of art, while people who visit the Groninger Museum come in more ‘open minded’. This is just an example of how the performance of a museum influences the mindset of tourists. It could also work the other way around: because tourists are attracted by the ‘look’ of the museum, it is not necessary to find a popular piece of art in order to attract the tourists. In the end, I would like to thank Mr. Blühm for his interesting lecture.

- Tessa

[1] Hazel Tucker, "Performing a Young People's Package Tour of New Zealand: Negotiating Appropriate Performances of Place," Tourism Geographies 9 (2007): 139-159, accessed January 30, http://dx.doi.org/10.1080/14616680701278497

Groningen and music

Groningen has a lively music scene, which is mainly based on the annual festival Eurosonic Noorderslag. During this music festival, undiscovered artists get the chance to perform and to get picked-up by the radio and by record labels. It takes place in more than 30 venues all over the city and in 2015, it was sold out which meant there were 41.200 visitors with 42 nationalities. Not only the performances are important, there is also a conference for European music professional’s. Moreover, several awards are presented to the most important upcoming musicians in both the Netherlands and the European Union.[1]

Dr. Luis-Manuel Garcia, whose field of study is ethnomusicology, has written about varying music scenes in cities all over the world. During his guest lecture, he explained how music scenes are connected to certain places and how these are in their turn connected to certain emotions or sensations. He has researched this in, for example, Berlin, where he dove into the techno-industry. Some of his conclusions were that Berlin was often picked as techno-city because of its active nightlife and image of tolerance and freedom. Also, techno-tourists are often trying to avoid mass-tourism, and therefore pick Berlin as urban and underground tourism spot.[2]

I would say that Eurosonic Noorderslag, with its goal to find new and upcoming artists, is also trying not to be ‘mainstream’ and is internationally oriented. I believe it is interesting that this festival takes place in Groningen and not in more obvious places like Amsterdam or Rotterdam. This might also directly provide us with an answer: because Groningen is ‘unobvious’ it might be the best place to discover musicians. Also, in a small city like Groningen, it is easy for the venues to all co-operate together. Concerthalls like Oosterpoort and Vera, but also a music store like Plato, all are turned into stages during this festival.
Source: www.popunie.nl

- Tessa

[1] "Over Eurosonic Noorderslag," Eurosonic Noorderslag, accessed February 1, 2016, http://www.eurosonic-noorderslag.nl/nl/info/over-ons/
[2] Luis Manuel-Garcia, "Techno-tourism and post-industrial neo-romanticism in Berlin’s electronic dance music scenes," Tourist Studies (2015): 1-20, accessed February 1, 2016, http://tou.sagepub.com/content/early/2015/12/05/1468797615618037.abstract


The Noorderplantsoen is one of the most popular parks in Groningen. Especially in the summer, it can be quite crowded with people barbecuing or trying to get a tan. There is a big difference between the Noorderplantsoen in the summer and the same park in the winter. Not only based on the weather, but also based on how the park is experienced and ‘talked about’. For this blog I would like to pretend that I am a tourist who visits Groningen two times: ones in the summer and ones in the winter.

According to Scott McCabe and Clare Foster[1], story-telling is an important part of being a tourist. Tourists visit places and afterwards they share their experiences back home. The sharing of these experiences is part of social identity construction, in a way that one communicates ones identity through story-telling. Thus, if a tourist experiences something and shares this experience with others, the way this story is told and the content of this story say something about the tourist himself.

I have visited the park in the summer, which meant I went there to pick-nick, sit in the grass, watch the swans in the pond and see children play on the playground. The summer is the busiest time in the Noorderplantsoen, there are constantly people walking and running and people are sitting everywhere. Half a year later, during the winter, I decide to visit Groningen again and I have a whole different experience. Now, there lies snow and there are no people sitting in the grass anymore. Instead, people are strolling through the park or drinking chocolate milk in Flinder’s Café (a café that lies in the middle of the park).
Now, when I go back and tell my family about these two experiences, I might tell a more positive story about the winter-version of the Noorderplantsoen than the summer-version. I might say something like: “Luckily, there weren’t many people now. I could finally see what the park really looks like.” This says something about my preferences and thus about my identity. On the other hand, I might tell a different story to vague acquaintances and say that the park is best in the summer, because I know they really like warm weather and I adapt my opinion to theirs. Furthermore, I might exaggerate the excitement of walking through the Noorderplantsoen in the summer to make my story more interesting. In short, narratives of tourist experiences change, not only due to the changing experience itself, but also due to the way the story is communicated.

Source: www.fellas.nl

Source: Geert van Duinen

- Tessa

[1] Scott McCabe & Clare Foster, "The Role and Function of Narrative
in Tourist Interaction", Journal of Tourism and Cultural Change 4 (2006): 194-215, accessed January 22, http://dx.doi.org/10.2167/jtcc071.0

Grote Markt and feeling

The Grote Markt (translated as ‘the big market’) lies in the heart of the centre of Groningen. It used to function as a market, however, that function has now mainly moved to the Vismarkt, next to the Grote Markt. The Grote Markt literally is the ‘heart’ of Groningen, as it lies in the middle of the city. Important events for Groningen, such as for example performances from Eurosonic Noorderslag and the broadcasting football events, happen here.

An important, but neglected aspect of tourism studies is the study of feelings. Emotions connect people to places. For example, when a tourism place is religious, this leads to certain emotions (of example connectedness or perhaps the opposite) which somehow creates a connection.[1] I believe that these feelings are also created by the social environment, which means that feelings are ‘affectual’, which means that if one person feels a certain way, another person may copy this feeling.  In the case of the Grote Markt, people see the market as an inherent part of Groningen. If you feel like a citizen of Groningen, or if Groningen holds a place in your heart, it is most likely that the Grote Markt does so too! This is the connection.

- Tessa

[1] Dorina Maria Buda, Anne-Marie d'Hauteserre, Lynda Johnston, "Feeling and tourism studies," Annals of Tourism Research 46 (2014): 102-114, accessed January 22, https://nestor.rug.nl/bbcswebdav/pid-7624556-dt-content-rid-7719174_2/courses/HCRWB0405.2015-2016.1B/Feeling%20and%20tourism%20studies%281%29.pdf