Old stomping grounds

Back to Grunn

University
Eerste slide: Voorpagina met Chapeau en kop

old stomping grounds

Back to Grunn

2-1 intro
Sooner or later, many students from Groningen make the move from the north to elsewhere in the Netherlands for work or another study. But sometimes, the city calls them back.
By Simone Harmsen / Photography by Reyer Boxem / Translation by Alain Reniers

Crawling out of the pub at half six, running into someone you know every time you get some groceries and partying in the Noorderplantsoen in your swimming trunks. What a great city. Nevertheless, many students from Groningen inevitably move away from the north for work or to continue their studies.

Those who are unable to stop thinking about the city will have a great day on 24 June. This is when the first ‘Groninginnedag’ takes place: a national homecoming day in Groningen, which will include camping in a cardboard tent on the Grote Markt. It promises to be a day filled with nostalgia. However, for some, one day of recalling happy memories is not enough: they want to move back to Groningen. The UK spoke with five people who missed the home of the eierbal too much.

3-1
3 Sarah Lemanschik

Sarah Lemanschik

Master’s student of change management Frankfurt

3 Sarah tekst

‘It’s the people who make it great’

During her Bachelor’s programme, Sarah Lemanschik, originally from Germany, travelled through Bolivia. She is still looking for a good place for her Erasmus exchange when she meets a couple from Groningen. ‘They said: you have to come to Groningen! That and the fact that the education is much better here resulted in me coming to Groningen’, she says.

Lemanschik got her Bachelor’s degree in Frankfurt, Germany. ‘No, it’s not the well-known major city, but a city with 60,000 people close to the Polish border: very boring.’ Life in Groningen treats her so well that she extends her stay to a year up to mid-2015. ‘I don’t really like big cities. I don’t like the anonymity. And in Groningen, everything is so close by; you never have to go far.’ However, after a year in Groningen, she really had to return to Germany to finish her studies.

But Groningen keeps calling to her, and with her BA degree in hand, she returns for a Master’s programme at the RUG in September 2016. ‘I primarily came back because of the quality of the education. Moreover, I used to kick box in Groningen at Deltaserat and trained a lot. I missed that. I also knew all my friends through that association.’ These friends are possibly the biggest reason for her return: ‘I think the city alone is never enough reason to go somewhere. It’s the people who make it great’, says Lemanschik.

The student is currently writing her thesis at ING Amsterdam. But she really does not feel like moving to the Dutch capital. ‘They already hinted that I could do my internship there as well. But I think that I’ll look for a Groningen start-up company for an internship.’

4-1
4 Maarten Aarse

Maarten Aarse

English and literature Brussels

4 Aarse tekst

‘You get to know the city in a different way’

Maarten Aarse traded in a career in Brussels for a teacher training programme in Groningen. After studying English at the RUG, Aarse ended up as an intern at the Association Européenne des Convervatoires (AEC) in Utrecht. He received a permanent position there and, after a few months, the entire organisation moved to Brussels. But Aarse and his wife had trouble finding their way there. ‘The city is big and cold. Contact is mostly fleeting.’

The two have a nice house at the edge of the town of Tervuren. ‘I had great colleagues, but it was difficult to really integrate with the people in Tervuren. It was hard to create a social life.’ During that time, he met up with an old friend. ‘She’s always been very ambitious. She did doctoral research at Oxford and always used to tell me that I should be more ambitious. And then there we were: she worked at our old secondary school and I was in Brussels.’

The meeting got him thinking. ‘I always used to feel that going back to Groningen was like ‘starting from square one’. After my conversation with her, I thought: why not? It really doesn’t matter what others think if this is what makes me happy!’

Once back in Groningen, finding a job proved difficult and Aarse registered for the teacher’s programme English. ‘At first, I was afraid that going back to Groningen would be like trying to find the feeling you had back when we were students.’ But this was not the case, even though Aarse is once again back in class. ‘You’re in an entirely different stage of your life now than you were then. It’s no longer a case of going out and living the student life. You do all sorts of other things and thus get to know the city in an entirely different way.’

5-1
5 Meike Lubbers

Meike Lubbers

Criminal law attorney Utrecht

5 Lubbers tekst

‘She probably failed’

Up for a job at the Zuidas? ‘I wouldn’t want to be caught dead there!’, Meike Lubbers, a criminal law attorney in Groningen, laughs. The status of a job in the Mecca of the Dutch business world and the corresponding ample salary do not really interest her, she says. Lubbers: ‘That really isn’t me. When I walk around in Amsterdam, I feel like a village hick. I really don’t feel the need to go to bars and pubs, always going out. If I can get some exercise after work, I’m happy.’

During her Bachelor’s programme in law that she did here from 2005 to 2010, her classmates constantly talked about how they were moving to Amsterdam after they got their degree. It is the place to be as a law student. ‘If everyone tells me to do something, then I really don’t want to anymore’, Lubbers sniggers. After her Master’s programme in Utrecht, she wanted to go to the United States for six months. According to many, New York really is the place to be. ‘So I went to Nashville.’

After Nashville, she worked at the Public Prosecution Service in Utrecht for a while, but she didn’t really like her work. Whereas most law students choose a career in the Randstad, she decides to seek her luck in the north. Lubbers: ‘They’ll never say it out loud, but I know that some people think “she probably failed”. As if you’ve failed when you leave the Randstad.’

Lubbers likes the relaxed atmosphere in Groningen. But do not underestimate a job as a criminal law attorney here. ‘The pressure is just as high. But I have a lot more freedom. At those large firms, you first work for the partners and other attorneys. Here, I immediately got my own cases. And yes, you can earn a lot more money in Amsterdam, but I don’t really care.’

‘I grew up in Deventer and love the countryside and the calm. I think that’s why I like Groningen so much.’ Is there nothing she misses here? ‘I don’t see my friends that often. They did move to the Randstad. A visit will easily take up your entire weekend.’ Laughing: ‘And there’s no cricket club here! I come from a cricket family.’

 

6-1
6 Alain Reniers

Alain Reniers

Translator Heusden (Brabant)

6 Reniers tekst

‘It’s good we moved away for a bit’

‘When two enormous nerds go to live in Brabant, then that’s not always a good thing. It’s better to live in a city than in a village in that case!’, Alain Reniers says with a grin. Together with his family, he lived in the town of Heusden, Brabant for nearly four years.

He and his wife, both Groningen graduates, have trouble finding their way there. Their friends still live in Groningen and they do not ‘click’ with the people around them. Reniers: ‘We ended up in a sort of social isolation.’

And so Reniers returned to Groningen with his family last year, the place where he studied English up to 2012. And he likes it. ‘Groningen is nice and provincial. It’s a city that feels like a village. Everyone knows each other, it seems.’

He does not think that Groningen being far removed from ‘the rest of the Netherlands’ is an issue. ‘I think people from Groningen look less at what the rest of the country is doing. It means, I think, that Groningen develops more independently. It carves out its own path. But I might be looking at things through nostalgia goggles.’

Nevertheless, he does feel that the move to Brabant was wise. ‘It’s good we moved away for a bit to break away from student life’, he says. ‘If we had stayed, we might’ve not been able to build our company. In Heusden, we simply had to work on it. I’m convinced our translation agency would not have developed so quickly if we’d stayed in Groningen.’

7-1
7 …

Isabella van der Ouderaa

PhD in marine biology Amsterdam

7 Tekst Ouderaa

‘I wanted to leave before I got stuck in a rut’

‘I didn’t see myself spending my entire future in Groningen’, Isabelle van der Ouderaa, a PhD student at the RUG, says. ‘I thought it was too small, I probably wouldn’t even be able to get a job here. I thought to myself, I’ll leave before I get stuck in a rut.’

But the labour market in Amsterdam  did not turn out to be all that great, either. ‘After graduation, I had to look for a job. This was difficult. My secondary job became my primary job and I ended up looking for a job for 18 months.’

At a party, a friend said something about a PhD position at the RUG. The irony is that Van Der Ouderaa wound up moving back to Groningen four years after leaving. ‘When I left in 2012, I didn’t intend to come back here. I want to leave again after my PhD. It isn’t related to Groningen as a city, it’s a great place, but it’s just too far removed from everything! The beach or a visit to Haarlem are easy to do from Amsterdam.’

Her family lives in the central Netherlands and her girlfriend also still lives in Amsterdam. And even though she likes it here, she does notice there is a difference with her time as a student in Groningen. ‘When I go out now, then everyone around me is 19 or 20 years old and that’s about it. You really have to look for spots that have people of my age.’

Even though she found her PhD position here, she is still convinced that career opportunities are better in the west: ‘I really think that it will be easier for me to find a job in the Randstad once I’m done.’ But she also knows that the options are limited as a marine biologist. If you want to get a job outside of academia, then employers often require you to have several years of experience, she found. ‘And for research, you need to be in Den Helder, the NIOZ on Texel, Wageningen and Groningen. That about covers the leading positions.’

Mobile version

OLD STOMPING GROUNDS

Back to Grunn

Sooner or later, many students from Groningen make the move from the north to elsewhere in the Netherlands for work or another study. But sometimes, the city calls them back.
By Simone Harmsen / Photography by Reyer Boxem / Translation by Alain Reniers

Crawling out of the pub at half six, running into someone you know every time you get some groceries and partying in the Noorderplantsoen in your swimming trunks. What a great city. Nevertheless, many students from Groningen inevitably move away from the north for work or to continue their studies.

Those who are unable to stop thinking about the city will have a great day on 24 June. This is when the first ‘Groninginnedag’ takes place: a national homecoming day in Groningen, which will include camping in a cardboard tent on the Grote Markt. It promises to be a day filled with nostalgia. However, for some, one day of recalling happy memories is not enough: they want to move back to Groningen. The UK spoke with five people who missed the home of the eierbal too much.

Sarah Lemanschik
MASTER’S STUDENT OF CHANGE MANAGEMENT

Frankfurt

‘It’s the people who make it great’

During her Bachelor’s programme, Sarah Lemanschik, originally from Germany, travelled through Bolivia. She is still looking for a good place for her Erasmus exchange when she meets a couple from Groningen. ‘They said: you have to come to Groningen! That and the fact that the education is much better here resulted in me coming to Groningen’, she says.

Lemanschik got her Bachelor’s degree in Frankfurt, Germany. ‘No, it’s not the well-known major city, but a city with 60,000 people close to the Polish border: very boring.’ Life in Groningen treats her so well that she extends her stay to a year up to mid-2015. ‘I don’t really like big cities. I don’t like the anonymity. And in Groningen, everything is so close by; you never have to go far.’ However, after a year in Groningen, she really had to return to Germany to finish her studies.

But Groningen keeps calling to her, and with her BA degree in hand, she returns for a Master’s programme at the RUG in September 2016. ‘I primarily came back because of the quality of the education. Moreover, I used to kick box in Groningen at Deltaserat and trained a lot. I missed that. I also knew all my friends through that association.’ These friends are possibly the biggest reason for her return: ‘I think the city alone is never enough reason to go somewhere. It’s the people who make it great’, says Lemanschik.

The student is currently writing her thesis at ING Amsterdam. But she really does not feel like moving to the Dutch capital. ‘They already hinted that I could do my internship there as well. But I think that I’ll look for a Groningen start-up company for an internship.’


Maarten Aarse
ENGLISH AND LITERATURE
Brussels

‘You get to know the city in a different way’

Maarten Aarse traded in a career in Brussels for a teacher training programme in Groningen. After studying English at the RUG, Aarse ended up as an intern at the Association Européenne des Convervatoires (AEC) in Utrecht. He received a permanent position there and, after a few months, the entire organisation moved to Brussels. But Aarse and his wife had trouble finding their way there. ‘The city is big and cold. Contact is mostly fleeting.’

The two have a nice house at the edge of the town of Tervuren. ‘I had great colleagues, but it was difficult to really integrate with the people in Tervuren. It was hard to create a social life.’ During that time, he met up with an old friend. ‘She’s always been very ambitious. She did doctoral research at Oxford and always used to tell me that I should be more ambitious. And then there we were: she worked at our old secondary school and I was in Brussels.’

The meeting got him thinking. ‘I always used to feel that going back to Groningen was like ‘starting from square one’. After my conversation with her, I thought: why not? It really doesn’t matter what others think if this is what makes me happy!’

Once back in Groningen, finding a job proved difficult and Aarse registered for the teacher’s programme English. ‘At first, I was afraid that going back to Groningen would be like trying to find the feeling you had back when we were students.’ But this was not the case, even though Aarse is once again back in class. ‘You’re in an entirely different stage of your life now than you were then. It’s no longer a case of going out and living the student life. You do all sorts of other things and thus get to know the city in an entirely different way.’


Meike Lubbers
CRIMINAL LAW ATTORNEY
Utrecht

‘She probably failed’

Up for a job at the Zuidas? ‘I wouldn’t want to be caught dead there!’, Meike Lubbers, a criminal law attorney in Groningen, laughs. The status of a job in the Mecca of the Dutch business world and the corresponding ample salary do not really interest her, she says. Lubbers: ‘That really isn’t me. When I walk around in Amsterdam, I feel like a village hick. I really don’t feel the need to go to bars and pubs, always going out. If I can get some exercise after work, I’m happy.’

During her Bachelor’s programme in law that she did here from 2005 to 2010, her classmates constantly talked about how they were moving to Amsterdam after they got their degree. It is the place to be as a law student. ‘If everyone tells me to do something, then I really don’t want to anymore’, Lubbers sniggers. After her Master’s programme in Utrecht, she wanted to go to the United States for six months. According to many, New York really is the place to be. ‘So I went to Nashville.’

After Nashville, she worked at the Public Prosecution Service in Utrecht for a while, but she didn’t really like her work. Whereas most law students choose a career in the Randstad, she decides to seek her luck in the north. Lubbers: ‘They’ll never say it out loud, but I know that some people think “she probably failed”. As if you’ve failed when you leave the Randstad.’

Lubbers likes the relaxed atmosphere in Groningen. But do not underestimate a job as a criminal law attorney here. ‘The pressure is just as high. But I have a lot more freedom. At those large firms, you first work for the partners and other attorneys. Here, I immediately got my own cases. And yes, you can earn a lot more money in Amsterdam, but I don’t really care.’

‘I grew up in Deventer and love the countryside and the calm. I think that’s why I like Groningen so much.’ Is there nothing she misses here? ‘I don’t see my friends that often. They did move to the Randstad. A visit will easily take up your entire weekend.’ Laughing: ‘And there’s no cricket club here! I come from a cricket family.’


Alain Reniers
TRANSLATOR
Heusden (Brabant)

‘It’s good we moved away for a bit’

‘When two enormous nerds go to live in Brabant, then that’s not always a good thing. It’s better to live in a city than in a village in that case!’, Alain Reniers says with a grin. Together with his family, he lived in the town of Heusden, Brabant for nearly four years.

He and his wife, both Groningen graduates, have trouble finding their way there. Their friends still live in Groningen and they do not ‘click’ with the people around them. Reniers: ‘We ended up in a sort of social isolation.’

And so Reniers returned to Groningen with his family last year, the place where he studied English up to 2012. And he likes it. ‘Groningen is nice and provincial. It’s a city that feels like a village. Everyone knows each other, it seems.’

He does not think that Groningen being far removed from ‘the rest of the Netherlands’ is an issue. ‘I think people from Groningen look less at what the rest of the country is doing. It means, I think, that Groningen develops more independently. It carves out its own path. But I might be looking at things through nostalgia goggles.’

Nevertheless, he does feel that the move to Brabant was wise. ‘It’s good we moved away for a bit to break away from student life’, he says. ‘If we had stayed, we might’ve not been able to build our company. In Heusden, we simply had to work on it. I’m convinced our translation agency would not have developed so quickly if we’d stayed in Groningen.’


Isabella van der Ouderaa
PHD STUDENT OF MARINE BIOLOGY
Amsterdam

‘I wanted to leave before I got stuck in a rut’

‘I didn’t see myself spending my entire future in Groningen’, Isabelle van der Ouderaa, a PhD student at the RUG, says. ‘I thought it was too small, I probably wouldn’t even be able to get a job here. I thought to myself, I’ll leave before I get stuck in a rut.’

But the labour market in Amsterdam  did not turn out to be all that great, either. ‘After graduation, I had to look for a job. This was difficult. My secondary job became my primary job and I ended up looking for a job for 18 months.’

At a party, a friend said something about a PhD position at the RUG. The irony is that Van Der Ouderaa wound up moving back to Groningen four years after leaving. ‘When I left in 2012, I didn’t intend to come back here. I want to leave again after my PhD. It isn’t related to Groningen as a city, it’s a great place, but it’s just too far removed from everything! The beach or a visit to Haarlem are easy to do from Amsterdam.’

Her family lives in the central Netherlands and her girlfriend also still lives in Amsterdam. And even though she likes it here, she does notice there is a difference with her time as a student in Groningen. ‘When I go out now, then everyone around me is 19 or 20 years old and that’s about it. You really have to look for spots that have people of my age.’

Even though she found her PhD position here, she is still convinced that career opportunities are better in the west: ‘I really think that it will be easier for me to find a job in the Randstad once I’m done.’ But she also knows that the options are limited as a marine biologist. If you want to get a job outside of academia, then employers often require you to have several years of experience, she found. ‘And for research, you need to be in Den Helder, the NIOZ on Texel, Wageningen and Groningen. That about covers the leading positions.’

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