In the days when grain used to line the horizon of the eastern part of Groningen, that very horizon was regularly traversed by a steam locomotive. Idle locomotives were housed in a depot, and twelve of them stood lined up in Bad Nieuweschans. Today, De Graanrepubliek fills the impressive halls: Groningen grain today.
The old locomotive depot provided room for eight – and later twelve – steam locomotives, each with its very own segment. The roof indicates the number: twelve saddle roofs in a row. Until 1935, the locomotives would leave their segment in this crescent building to drive to a giant turn-table at the front of the shed. From there, the rails would lead them where they could. The trains have meantime been replaced by grain. Strange? Not at all really, because in the late 20th century, the Noorderlijke Graanhandel already used the shed as a grain store.
Currently De Graanrepubliek cooperative society is established in the old depot. Farmers and traditional small-scale companies collaborate here to let as many people as possible taste the magnificent Groningen grain. Be sure to come over and taste that beer and bread, buy pasta and see how the mill crushes oats into oatmeal. The story of Groningen as a granary comes back to life between the bricks and cast-iron pillars of the grand industrial heritage.