Groningen ] ; Gronings: Grunnen) is the main municipality as well as the capital city of the eponymous province in the Netherlands. With a population of 202,567 as of 2017, it is the largest city in the north of the Netherlands. An old city, Groningen was the regional power of the northern Netherlands, a semi-independent city-state and member of the German Hanseatic League. Groningen is a university city: it houses the University of Groningen and the Hanze University of Applied Sciences .
The city was founded on the northernmost point of the Hondsrug area. The oldest document referring to Groningen's existence dates from 1040. However, the city already existed long before then: the oldest archaeological traces found are believed to stem from the years 3950–3720 BC, although the first major settlement in Groningen has been traced back to the 3rd century AD.
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