Quilt Festival Noord Groningen 2021

Groningen Quilt Show 2021
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Groningen, Netherlands
Flights from London Heathrow, Birmingham, Bristol, Manchester, Cardiff, Leeds & Edinburgh ~ or make your own way there!

An Escorted Tour to the wonderful Quilt Festival Noord Groningen 

10 - 13 June 2021  The Netherlands

If you would like to be kept informed about the 2021 tour, please get in touch and let us know.   

What we love

The show! This is a chance to see world-class traditional, art and experimental quilts displayed in fascinating locations including medieval churches, ancient village halls and beautiful windmills.

The location! Set in the North East tip of the Netherlands, 119 miles from Amsterdam, North Groningen borders the UNESCO world heritage site of Waddenzee, an area of wide open, flat landscapes where the horizon is broken by villages clustered around pretty medieval churches. Groningen itself is a vibrant University city and you will have plenty of time to soak up the atmosphere.

The history! In the 19th century, this region was known for its distinctive samplers embroidered in black thread. 

Experiences you will treasure

  • Two full days at the Noord Groningen Quilt Festival. Immerse yourself in this unique celebration of quilting, meet the artists, explore the historic venues, pick up tips and ideas at the demonstrations and stock up on supplies to take home. 

  • Creating your very own 'stipwerk' book wrap with life-long quilter Herma de Ruiter

  • A private guided tour of the Museum Pakhuis Koophandel in Leeuwarden. Located in a 19th century warehouse, this charming museum is home to a fascinating textile gallery. Highlights include a collection of lace dating back to the 17th century, a unique series of European lace pillows and a very special exhibition of quilts which tell the story of Dutch Indonesia through the memories of those of who made them.

  • Discovering the University city of Groningen. The vibrant capital of this Northern region is filled with historic monuments, lively cafes and wonderful shopping opportunities. We recommend a visit to the Groninger Museum. Designed by the Italian architect Alessandro Mendini, it is a visual treat inside and out. Modern and contemporary art sits alongside a world-renowned collection of Chinese and Japanese porcelain.

  • Experiencing the World Heritage Site Schokland. A place between land and water in the middle of the Noordoostpolder, the  area's 160 archeological sites show traces of human habitation going back 10,000 years. Museum Schokland itself takes you on an extraordinary journey from the ice age to the present day - look out for prehistoric footprints, the remnants of ancient habitations and a reconstruction of a wooden palisade. 

  • Eating freshly caught and smoked fish in a harbour-side cafe in the centuries old fishing village of Urk then taking a stroll through its labyrinth of lanes - or 'ginkies' as they are known in Dutch. 

What people say

"There are so many things to love about this tour! The Quilt Festival itself attracts such a variety of artists and there are so many different quilts to see, from traditional to art and experimental quilts. And then there’s the location. North Groningen borders the Waddenzee, which is a UNESCO world heritage site. It is an area of wide open, flat landscapes with the horizon broken by villages clustered around medieval churches that are worth a visit in themselves. And Groningen is an incredibly vibrant, cultured city." Textile artist Hilde van Schaardenburg 

Why not read our interview with Hilde on our blog 



Return flights to Amsterdam (if flight package is booked)

3 nights bed & breakfast at 4* Apollo Hotel, Groningen

2 evening dinners at the hotel

Local transfers throughout the programme

Services of an accompanying ECT tour manager

2 days entry to Quiltfestival Noord Groningen

Specialist quilt workshop with Herma de Ruiter

Entry to Pakhuis Museum and guided tour with tea and cake

Entry to Schokland Museum 

Lunch at Schokland

Day One, 10th June

Approx 1200h - arrive at Amsterdam Schiphol airport where you will be met by your Tour Manager and begin the journey to Groningen.

Lunch stop at Urk

1530 - arrive at Museum Pakhuis Koophandel, Leeuwarden. Welcome tea/coffee and cake on arrival.

1545 - guided tour of the collection and special quilt exhibition which includes demonstrations.  After the tour you will have time to shop for materials

1700 - depart museum and onward travel to Groningen

Approx 1800 - arrive 4* Apollo Hotel, Groningen . Located in the striking La Liberte building designed by French architect Dominique Perrault, the Apollo Hotel is 20 minutes from Grote Markt. With streamlined, modern bedrooms (all with tea and coffee-making facilities, air conditioning and a lounge area), a 24/7 bar and fitness centre, it is the perfect base for this tour.

Evening - group dinner at the hotel

Day Two, 11th June

Breakfast at the hotel then transfer to Noord Groningen for a full day at the Quilt Festival

Day Three, 12th June

Breakfast at the hotel then transfer to Noord Groningen for a full day at the Quilt Festival

Evening - group dinner at the hotel and speciality workshop with Herma de Ruiter. 

Day Four, 13th June

Breakfast at the hotel

Morning at leisure to explore Groningen

Late morning - check out of the hotel and transfer to Schokland

Lunch at Schokland

Afternoon - continue on to Amsterdam Schiphol for return flights to the UK

Tour ends


Marjan and Rob Ruitenberg launched the Quiltfestival Noord Groningen in 2010 out of their shared passion for quilting. Ten years on, it has grown into a biennial celebration of the art of quilting that draws visitors and exhibitors from across the world. The 2021 edition, the largest yet, will feature traditional, art and experimental quilts by more than 30 outstanding artists from around the world. Their work will be shown in 25 venues, ranging from medieval churches to village halls and windmills, across the area. Highlights to look out for include two Modern Quilt exhibitions, a fashion show featuring traditional Staphorst costume, demonstrations, workshops and, of course, stalls selling a wide variety of textile accessories. 

One of the exhibiting artists is Hilde van Schaardenburg, whose beautiful contemporary quilts explore "the beauty of the universe, the earth, people, animals and plants."  She will be showing a series of three-dimensional installations in a church. Look out for 'Duet', a co-operative work with her husband Dirkjan van Schaardenburg and 'Waterfall', an electro-acoustic piece featuring a quilt made from materials including crepe georgette, linen and gemstone, combined with a soundtrack by musician Tine Surel Lange. The image below gives a flavour, but we can't wait to experience it live!

Hilde van Schaardenburg Waterfall _ Groningen Quilt Festival

Waterfall by Hilde van Schaardenburg, 2011-2016


Some of you will know Herma from her wonderful quilt designs that appear in international exhibitions, on Instagram, Pinterest and favourite quilting and patchwork publications. Her online tutorials are much enjoyed and widely shared - anyone who's watched one will know how wonderfully informative and hugely enthusiastic she is and how much she enjoys sharing ideas and techniques. 

We asked Herma to tell us what she has planned for this workshop:

Staphorst is one of the last remaining places in the Netherlands where you still find women wearing traditional dress on an everyday basis. They make these costumes themselves and the thing I really like - and which has inspired the workshop - is the multi-coloured 'stipwerk’, or dot-work,  which they use to decorate their workday caps, as well as other areas of the costume. They make it using nails and fabric paint and we’ll be using embroidery to create something very similar in the workshop. The plan is to stitch the fabric onto book wraps so everyone will have a little notebook to take home as a nice reminder of their trip to the Netherlands. It’s really important to me that my students leave the class with something that makes them happy.

Herma Staphorst Textile


Read more about Herma's inspirations on our blog


The eponymous capital of this northern region is filled with historic monuments, lively cafes and great shopping opportunities.

Designed by the Italian architect Alessandro Mendini, the Groninger Museum is a treat inside and out. Modern and contemporary art sits alongside a world-renowned collection of Chinese and Japanese porcelain.

Groninger Museum

The Martini Tower is another architectural highlight. 100m high, it is the city's tallest building and offers spectacular views of Groningen and its surrounding landscape.

Grote Markt, the main square in the heart of the city, is home not only to the Martini Tower, but also the impressive 18th century City Hall and lots and lots of cafes where you can simply watch the world go by. Make like a local and order a regional treat - perhaps an Eierbal (a boiled egg rolled in a savoury ragout, coated in crumbs and fried to moreish perfection - think Scotch egg without the meat) or a thin, crispy, caramel-filled stroopwafel.

Groningen Markt Square

Shoppers should head for the streets surrounding Grote Markt. Folkingestraat is filled with lifestyle shops, galleries and characterful cafes, while the two streets that make up Kromme Elleboog offer high end clothes, jewellery and art. Oude Kijk In't Jatstraat, close to the University, is the best place to find vintage treasures and independent boutiques. 

Flight to Amsterdam with KLM

Flights with KLM

Outbound into Amsterdam Schiphol Thursday 10th June 2021

  • London Heathrow: Depart Heathrow 0840h > Arrive Amsterdam 1100h                 
  • Birmingham: Depart Birmingham 0915h > Arrive Amsterdam 1130h                            
  • Manchester: Depart Manchester 0900h > Arrive Amsterdam 1115h                               
  • Bristol: Depart Bristol 0920h > Arrive Amsterdam 1135h
  • Cardiff: Depart Cardiff 09:45h > Arrive Amsterdam 12:05h  
  • Leeds: Depart Leeds 10:05h > Arrive Amsterdam 12:20h 
  • Edinburgh: Depart Edinburgh 09:10h > Arrive Amsterdam 11:45h              

Inbound from Amsterdam Schiphol: Sunday 13th June 2021

  • London Heathrow: Depart Amsterdam 2030h > Arrive Heathrow 2055h
  • Birmingham: Depart Amsterdam 2105h > Arrive Birmingham 2120h
  • Manchester:Depart Amsterdam 2115h > Arrive Manchester 2135h
  • Bristol:  Depart Amsterdam 2200h> Arrive Bristol 2210h
  • Cardiff:  Depart Amsterdam 21:10h> Arrive Bristol 21:30h
  • Leeds: Depart Amsterdam 21:50 > Arrive Leeds 22:00h
  • Edinburgh: Depart Amsterdam 21:10 > Arrive Edinburgh 21:35


ECT Travel ATOL certificate

Key Legislation

Additional information:

  • This tour requires a minimum of 10 passenger refer to point 7 in our booking conditions

  • Mobility: this tour is generally suitable for most, if you are concerned or have specific issues please let us know ahead of booking

  • Please ensure you have a valid passport (at least six months from the date of travel) and visa (if travelling on a non-EU passport)

  • Travel insurance is required 

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