The normally-huge party is slightly dampened this year due to the Coronavirus pandemic
Each August 28 Groningen enters into a party mood- with flags everywhere, music in ‘Gronings’ and some stadjers taking the day off work. That’s because today is a kind of national holiday for the city, known as as “Bommen Berend” (Bombing Bernhard).
Usually, the city would celebrate with a huge fireworks display, and perhaps a fun-fair. However this year due to the Coronavirus pandemic, celebration will be somewhat smaller in scale.
The city is celebrates that it was besieged by the Bishop of Munster in the summer of the year 1672. That year the young Dutch republic was attacked from three sides: by French, English, and Munsterian troops.
But under the leadership of another German (warfare was fairly mercenary-heavy at that time) – Carl von Rabenhaupt – Groningen managed to withstand the siege. It could then use its troops to support other ‘free Dutch states’ against French and English troops.
Since then, Groningen has celebrated the anniversary on 28 August. If the Bishop of Munster had won, the Netherlands would have looked very different: Groningen would have come into the lands of the Bishop of Munster and likely would have been included in a unified Germany more than 200 years later.
More information can be found on The Northern Times’ profile of the holiday from 2018.
Image of Christoph Bernhard von Galen (Bishop of Munster at the time). By Wolfgang Heimbach. Collection of the Groninger Museum.