Dua Lipa in Vera. Photo by Ludo Raedts

No associations, no friends?

How to meet new people

Everyone says that the best way to make new friends is to join a student association. But what if associations aren’t your thing? Maybe you don’t want to be forced to go to the pub or go through embarrassing hazing rituals. So why not check out Vera or start a dinner club?
Avatar photo

Door Joas de Jong

14 August om 12:22 uur.
Laatst gewijzigd op 22 November 2020
om 16:16 uur.
Avatar photo

By Joas de Jong

August 14 at 12:22 PM.
Last modified on November 22, 2020
at 16:16 PM.
Avatar photo

Joas de Jong

Studentredacteur Volledig bio Student editor Full bio

Club Vera

Did you know that U2, Dua Lipa, and Editors all played seminal Groningen club Vera before they made it big?

Vera is still the best place to go see alternative and exciting bands before they start playing bigger venues. When the club was founded it was a reformed student association, but it slowly became the best underground music club in the Netherlands. They also host dance nights, shows films, and much more.

There are two hundred volunteers on hand to take care of everything. They tend bar, take care of bands, man the cloakroom, etc. In return, they get to attend concerts for free. The volunteers all get along and often form friendships. There are plenty of opportunities to do fun things and get to know great people.

Take to the stage

If you want to get to know people quickly, the best thing to do is join a theatre club. Nothing forms a bond faster than messing up on stage (only during rehearsals, obviously), sharing fake emotions, or looking a stranger deep into their eyes. 

Fortunately, Groningen has more than enough to offer when it comes to theatre. You can join the Groninger Studenten Toneel or GUTS and put on a play with your fellow students. You do need to pay a fee to be a member, but you’ll be able to backstage work, as well.

While it might be scarier, doing improv comedy might just be even more effective in introducing you to other people. You can take workshops at Stranger Things Have Happened and its members organise courses at USVA three times a year. 

Join a dinner a club

Do you think that being unable to cook means you can’t join a dinner club? Nonsense! The only way to learn how to cook is by doing it, so you might as well make some friends while you do so. is a national website where people can ask for others to join their dinner clubs. Not because they love cooking so much, but because they want to meet new people. 

You could also suggest a weekly dinner night in your student house if there isn’t one already. 

You could also visit De Globe. Food at this gastropub is cheap and they regularly organise international dinners. Sharing a meal allows you to meet new people and learn about each other’s cultures. 

Reading, writing, debating

The simplest way of making friends is by spending time together. It’s a great way to get to know each other without forcing it. And if you happen to share the same interests, it’s even easier. 

Music lovers can go to Bragi. With a hundred members, this is Groningen’s largest student music club. You can train you lungs in the main choir, learn to harmonise with the a cappella choir, or lend your instrument to the orchestra. Mira is Bragi’s smaller equivalent, although it’s just as much fun. 

If you love reading, check out Flanor: this literary club has approximately 150 members divided into various book clubs. They also organise lectures and invite writers. Dancers will love The Blue Toes. Do you like debating? Check out debating society Kalliope or join Toastmasters, where they teach public speaking. You’ll definitely meet some people you like!

Storm the barricades

Nothings brings people together like a common goal. It’s up to you to determine what that goal is. 

Groningen has several organisations that aim to make the world a better place. The Groningen Feminist Network is the place to be if you want to fight for inclusiveness and gender equality. The members meet regularly and organised debates and campaigns. 

Extinction Rebellion and Fridays for Future also have a lot of students as their members. They regularly organise protests to complain about global warming – or they did before the coronavirus struck, anyway. They also organise sit-ins and other forms of protest. 

Let’s not forget good old Amnesty International, though. They organise write-in protests and debates to draw attention to human rights violations around the world. 

Make your voice heard

Have you always been interested in politics? Political youth organisations like the JOVD, the CDJA, the Jonge Democraten, and DWARS all have sizeable divisions in Groningen, and you’ll get to know people who want the same for the country that you do. You can have endless discussions during drinks and debate nights with people in your own club, but there are also regular nights where you can talk to people on the other end of the political spectrum. It also allows you to increase your political acumen and grow your network.

You can also get involved in university politics and join one of the student parties that sit on the university council or one of the many faculty councils. If you want to truly make a difference, join political party Student & Stad; they’re well-established in city politics. They recently opposed the enforcement of the alcohol ban in the Noorderplantsoen.

If you’d rather stand up for you fellow students’ interests,  The Groninger Studentenbond (GSb) has a myriad of committees and work groups you can join. You can help students who are in conflict with their landlord, or do research into issues in Groningen’s student world. This year, the GSb studied the divide between internationals and Dutch students.


Sports bring people together. We don’t just mean watching a game together. So why not find like-minded people to help you shed the freshman 15? 

You can join a classic rowing club (Gyas, Aegir), or play football (at Knickerbockers or Forward), but you can also go nuts at survival club Moddervet or go mountain climbing with GSAC.

If you’re more of a runner but you don’t like doing it alone, running app Strava will help you find groups that go running together in Groningen. It’s a great motivator and it’ll allow you to chat to other people while you’re running. 


Notify of

De spelregels voor reageren: blijf on topic, geen herhalingen, geen URLs, geen haatspraak en beledigingen. / The rules for commenting: stay on topic, don't repeat yourself, no URLs, no hate speech or insults.


0 Reacties
Inline Feedbacks
View all comments