In a welcome transformation, the first of 28 trees slated to rejuvenate the Grote Markt were planted Friday, marking a significant step forward for the city, the Groningen-based news site Sikkom reports.
Amid the bustling scene, city council members Mirjam Wijnja and Rik van Niejenhuis, who appeared to have missed the memo about “Bring Your Own Shovel and Helmet Day,” hastily purchased Barbie building sets at the local toy store, SoLow. They watched with anticipation as the young sapling was lovingly placed into its new home.
The planting of the trees is part of a larger project to redevelop the Grote Markt. The project also includes plans for new paving, lighting, and seating. The goal of the project is to create a more vibrant and welcoming space for residents and visitors alike.
Cooling down under the trees
As temperatures soar during the summer, the urban environment can turn into a scorching concrete jungle. The extensive Grote Markt, despite being the lively core of the city featuring restaurants, the Martinitoren, the Stadhuis, and even more open-air cafes, provides little relief from the heat. Yet, despite the Grote Markt’s importance to the city, steps are only now being taken to address its heat problem.
In the summer, when the sun shows no mercy, these trees will offer the simplest form of relief: shade. Moreover, the city promises that in spring and autumn, they will grace the square with beautiful colors.
For over a thousand years, the Grote Markt has stood barren at the foot of the Martinitoren, with the rare exception of a stray tree. However, never before has the square seen such an extensive introduction of 28 new trees. Eighteen gleditsias and ten honey locust trees are set to provide the Grote Markt with the coveted shade.
Sustainable irrigation and shady gathering spot
The new trees will not lack for care. A nifty irrigation system will ensure they receive rainwater during dry spells, with water basins lying at a depth of one and a half meters to store this precious resource. In fact, rainwater collected by the Stadhuis will also contribute to keeping the trees hydrated. Thirst will certainly not be an issue for them.
The old wind rose that once adorned the center of the square will make its return in the form of a matching bench, providing a delightful place for people to bask in the abundance of shade. The new and improved Grote Markt will be unveiled starting in May next year, offering both respite and aesthetics.