Groningen is the largest city in the Northern Netherlands, with a population of 187,000, and is the eighth largest city in the Netherlands. Groningen has a university, a university of applied sciences, a school for fine art and design, an academy of music and many more training institutes. It is a young city – half of the population is under 35 years of age. Besides being a university city, Groningen is also at the leading edge in the development of research, innovation and entrepreneurship. Groningen is also known as the “City of Talent”, reflecting the strategic partnership between the municipality of Groningen, the University of Groningen, the University Medical Centre Groningen (UMCG), the Hanze University Groningen and the province of Groningen. This partnership is investing half a billion Euros in the innovation and knowledge infrastructure in the city over the next few years.


Groningen is working to improving customer services through improvements in front-offices and the development/improvement of customer contact centres – these deliver services and information to citizens by answering questions, by transferring calls to relevant departments and by handling some types of service cases. Groningen will improve the handling of e-mails within the municipality, train front office personnel, improve the entrepreneurial front office (which works with local businesses), and develop new e-services. Groningen is leading work within the Smart Cities project to transfer the Dutch “Answer” methodology and framework to at least three transnational partners in the project.
Groningen is currently rolling out a municipal wireless network. Although the network is only in the initial phases of deployment, it is already the largest WiFi deployment in the Netherlands. When completed in 2011, this will be the largest single sign-on WiFi deployment in Europe, and will cover the entire city of Groningen.
Groningen is also working with local SMEs to reduce red-tape and bureaucracy through deregulation, reflecting a growing awareness of the need to reduce the number of laws and regulations affecting local citizens and businesses.