Vibrantly coloured streamers have brightened up the city centre of Groningen for the past couple of years. Who is behind the rainbow trail through the city?
This story was updated at 12:03 p.m. on Tuesday, 10 July.
A short video of biking through the Folkingestraat on Thursday went a little bit viral on The Northern Times’ Facebook page, so we wondered: what’s the story behind these decorations?
This is what the Folkingestraat looks like this summer – similar decorations adorn the Zwanestraat and the Oude Kijk in ‘t Jatstraat.
Back in 2016, business owners on the Zwanestraat, the Folkingestraat and the Oude Kijk in ‘t Jatstraat were looking for a way to show off their streets during the summer months. Karin Lucas, owner of Bonbon Atelier Luca on the Grote Kromme Elleboog, came up with the idea to hang up colourful umbrellas above the shopping areas.
In 2017 and 2018, the Zwanestraat, Folkingestraat and Oude Kijk in ‘t Jatstraat have strung up a rainbow of streamers above the streets to keep the tradition going. Kim Hoedjes, the former chairperson for the Oude Kijk in ‘t Jatstraat association, says that the fact that the streamers are hung up in June, which is Pride Month, is simply a coincidence, but she is just fine with people ascribing a connection to the rainbow-coloured decorations.
Jacobien Mansholt, owner of Holtbar and the coordinator of the decorations project this year, seconds that sentiment: “there is a purple streamer on the Zwanestraat, and each street association can choose their own colours, but it’s just a happy coincidence.”
The current representatives for the business owners on each of the streets are Pol de Bruin (Brasserie Midi, Folkingestraat) Cor Dijkstra (Kaaskop, Zwanestraat) and Dilemin Yildiz (No 25, Oude Kijk in ‘t Jatstraat). The costs for creating and hanging up the decorations are covered partially by the business owners themselves, a subsidy from the Ondernemend Groningen Fonds and a contribution from the municipality of Groningen.
Decorating the streets to create a festive atmosphere is nothing new in Groningen: the streets of the city have been lit up in the dark weeks of December for years thanks to a range of Christmas lights which are put in place by the Groningen City Club.
Best shopping street
The Folkingestraat has long been a beloved shopping street in the heart of Groningen and was named the best shopping street in the Netherlands in 2015. The Zwanestraat and the Kromme Elleboog took over that title in 2016. The Academy Building and the Harmonie complex of the University of Groningen are located just off of the Oude Kijk in ‘t Jatstraat, which is also an up-and-coming location for hip eateries, coffee houses and businesses.
Correction: Jacobien Mansholt coordinated the street decorations this year, but she is not the chairperson of the Oude Kijk in ‘t Jatstraat retailers committee. Dilemin Yildiz, owner of the No 25 restaurant, is the current chairperson.