Bell Foundry Museum, as seen from the side and front. With cherry blossom trees in front of it
Netherlands,  Road Trips

Groningen Road Trip: Eems and Oldambt Route

The Netherlands has lots to offer. Although flat, the landscape differs throughout the country. This Groningen road trip showcases the beauty of the most Northeastern part of the Netherlands, close to the border with Germany. Groningen is both a province and a city in the Netherlands. This road trip concentrates on part of the province, not on the city. So when you ask yourself “Is Groningen worth visiting?”, a simple Yes is the answer, just look at this Eems and Oldambt road trip.

Groningen Road Trip

We followed the route set out by the ANWB, which you can find here in Dutch. There’s a map provided on the site. The following towns and cities are included:

  • Scheemda
  • Heiligerlee
  • Winschoten
  • Blauwestad
  • Beerta
  • Finsterwolde
  • Oostwold
  • Midwolda
  • Nieuwolda
  • Woldendorp
  • Termunterzijl
  • Delfzijl
  • Appingedam
  • Steendam
  • Siddeburen
  • Hellum
  • Schildwolde
  • Slochteren
  • Noordbroek

Length: 85 kilometers/53 miles

Duration: 3.5 to 4 hours.

Town by Town Itinerary

Another one-day road trip from the ANWB, just like the Flower Route, the Lek and Linge Route and the North Veluwe Road Trip, but with a totally different scenery. No tulips, heathlands and sand drifts, but polders, a harbor city and farms.

A polder
A polder


One of the churches at Scheemda, seen with a stepped gable
One of the churches at Scheemda
A stepped gable church at Scheemda
A stepped gable church at Scheemda

The first town you’ll pass on this road trip Groningen is Scheemda. A small farming town. The town has beautiful churches with stepped gables.


Monument at Heiligerlee, a statiue with two persons on it, one dying in the hands of the other
Monument at Heiligerlee

An important town in Dutch history. Here is where the Eighty Years’ War or Dutch War of Independence started. A revolt of the seventeen provinces (which are today the Netherlands, Belgium and Luxembourg) against Philip II of Spain. The latter was the sovereign of the Habsburg Netherlands. The first battle of that war took place in 1968 at Heiligerlee. There’s a statue and a museum on this battle in Heiligerlee.

Bell Foundry Museum, as seen from the side and front. With cherry blossom trees in front of it
Bell Foundry Museum

Further Heiligerlee has a bell foundry museum, which is situated in the former bell foundry.


One of only 3 places in the province that gained city rights. Winschoten gained these rights in 1825. The city has a Steam Pumping Station Museum. Steam pumping stations where used to keep the polders free from water. The pumping station here is one of the last ones still working on steam.

Winschoten has 3 windmills, the Dijkstra mill is the largest of the three. In the city center is a free standing tower of 41 meters/135 feet d’Olle Witte, which can be climbed in the Summer.


A controversial project from the 1980s. The polder North of Winschoten would be “drowned”, thus creating a large recreational and living area. The ambition was to build and sell 1480 luxurious condos. In 2006 they started to sell the plots of land and houses, in 2020 some 400 had been sold. However the selling of houses is going fast(er) since 2020.


A small village that originated as a peat extraction village. Peat extraction was done a lot in this area.  


Near the village of Finsterwolde is nature area De Tjamme, which consists of forests and swamps. A bird rich area.


A small village that has a protected townscape.


Church at Midwolda with a beautiful tower, as seen from the side
Church at Midwolda with a beautiful tower

A town with large farmstays and small worker houses in between. In the 19th century gentleman farmers or landowners had enough wealth to let others work their land for them. Those workers lived in small houses, while the landowners had the money to enlarge their houses. This gap became larger and larger.

At the border of town lies the Ennemaborg, an estate going back to the year 1400.


A village idyllically situated on the Termunterzijldiep (a lake).


A small village through which the International Dollardroute runs. A biking trail following the Dollard river through Germany and the Netherlands.  


A wierde village and shrimp harbor is what this small village consists off. A wierde is an artificial dwelling mound. They can be found throughout this area. On the mounds the houses were built and the live stock was kept. The mounds provided safe ground, before dykes were invented and floodwater still interfered with day to day life.

Lock at Termunterzijl, as seen from a bit further away, with part of the harbor visible
Lock at Termunterzijl
The lock, the 'doors'as seen from above and side
The lock
Harbor as seen from the lock bridge
Harbor as seen from the lock bridge

There are a beautiful lock and lock bridge from 1725. You’ll have an excellent view on the harbor from in top of the bridge.

A bit further is the bosom pumping station from 1930, which now functions as a museum.

The Punt van Reide is a nature reserve with lots of birds. The sunken villages of Oosterreide and Westerreide are located here as well, swallowed by the river Dollard.


The graves to commemorate the two swallowed towns
The graves to commemorate the two swallowed towns
The statue of a hand, a large hand, with waves below on the wrist, two buildings in the palm of the hand
The statue of a hand
The industry at Delfzijl
The industry at Delfzijl and the Waddenzee
The industry area at Delfzijl, with the graves in the front on the dyke and windmills in the back
The industry area at Delfzijl

The largest portcity in the North of the Netherlands. The town was founded in the 13th century. Monks built locks in the river Delf, this way creating the village. In the 1960s and 1970s a large industrial area was created at Delfzijl harbor. Two small villages had to disappear to create such a large industrial area. There’s a monument of a hand to safeguard the last resting place of these towns against the ever coming industry.

There’s the Muzeeaquarium, a museum on the sea and the shipping industry.


A city that gained its city rights already in 1327. The city still has picturesque bridges and medieval streets perfect to wander around. The city has something unique, with its hanging kitchens. At the back of the houses on the Damsterdiep, the kitchens hang above the water. This was done to save space. The Museum Stad Appingedam showcases the history of the city.

Appingedam is one of the Groningen tips for exploring when visiting this province.


A small village situated on the Schild lake.


A town that has been inhabited since the Stone Age.


A small village that came into existence in the year 1000.


A small village that came into existence in the 10th century as a peat extraction area.


A famous town in the Netherlands, since this is the area where gas is won since 1959. The contribution of the gas winning to the Dutch economy has been enormous. However there’s been a huge downside for the villages and its people in the area. Earthquakes, caused through the gas winning, have havocked almost every house in the area, with consequences for its inhabitants.

Fraeylemaborg is a house that was built before 1300. First a house made of stone, around 1800 it was changed into a neo classical style with an English landscape style garden.


A small village that came into existence as a peat extraction village in the 10th or 11th century.

Where to Eat

We drove this route back in April 2021, when there was still a lockdown. All museums and restaurants were closed, also the terraces of restaurants were closed. Take out was the only thing allowed.

Kibbeling in a plastic tray with ravigotte sauce on the side
The fish stall
The fish stall

We had kibbeling from Vishandel Landman, a fish stall next to De Remise in Delfzijl. It was really delicious kibbeling. Kibbeling is a traditional Dutch food.

Sadly no other places we had the opportunity to try out.

Where to Stay

Fletcher Familiehotel Paterswolde is a nice hotel to stay at in the province of Drenthe, close to Groningen.

When to Visit

Rapeseed field, a sea of yellow flowers
Rapeseed field
Rapeseed field with a windmill in the back
Rapeseed field with a windmill in the back

The route is beautiful all year long. In April and May the rapeseed will be in bloom. Providing whole fields of beautiful yellow flowers.

Hiring a Car and Airports

We drove the route with our own car. When hiring a car, we have excellent experiences with Hertz, Alamo and Stern.

When arriving by plane before embarking on this road trip: Groningen Airport Eelde, located 32 kilometers/20  miles from the starting point. Bremen Airport (Germany) is 166 kilometers/103  miles away. Amsterdam Schiphol Airport, located 234 kilometers/145 miles from the starting point.

This Groningen Road Trip Showcases Such a Different Side of the Netherlands

The Netherlands has so much diversity in its landscapes.

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  • Sophie

    This Groningen road trip looks perfect. I love the architecture in the Netherlands but have never been to this part. The churches in Scheemda look particularly beautiful. I can’t wait to have the chance to follow this itinerary. Thank you.

  • Indrani

    I am a diehard road trip fan and Netherlands is one country I haven’t explored much yet. I am especially in love with the windmills, I could just pick up a souvenir. Loved reading through the intereting info you have added about each of these places. Saving up this info so that Travel Gods get kind with me to grant me another opportunity.

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