Must-do activities in Groningen
The 050 bucket list
Cycle like a Dutchie
Ready, set, cycle! This tip seems obvious considering you moved to the Netherlands, but for those of you who haven’t heard yet about the Dutch love of cycling: get a bike!
Even though you may live in the city centre, a bike is absolutely necessary. Not just as a means of transportation, but also to feel a little like a local during your stay. Many great places in Groningen, such as the Hoornsemeer, the Stadspark or the ACLO sports center, are further away from the centre, so having a bike will definitely pay off.
Whether you go for a rental bike or decide to rock the streets in style on your omafiets (‘grandma bike’), having a two-wheeled companion is a real asset.
One important tip: always remember where you parked your bike. Otherwise enjoy trying to find it in the sea of bikes you’ll find all over town.
Survive the UB
It’s the first week of class and you realize your lecturer was dead serious when he dropped an insane workload on you. Panicked and desperate, you try to find a place to study. Obviously, the university library (UB) comes to mind.
You picture a quiet place with equally stressed out, but motivated students that support each other’s academic endeavours. And sure, maybe these students can be found somewhere deep in the UB’s dens of knowledge. But get ready for a reality check.
From nail biting desk neighbors to annoying ‘Oh my God! You won’t believe what just happened!’ phone calls in front of the study room entrances, the UB provides endless inspiration for an Emmy-worthy Netflix series.
The library is also one of Groningen’s secret flirting hotspots. Let’s be honest here, you wouldn’t mind getting a sexy wink from your desk partner in between writing your thesis and trying to understand economics, right?
But watch out for exam periods. Either be prepared to stand in line before the doors open in the morning or be creative in finding alternative study spots.In case these examples don’t give you enough reason to check the UB out and cross this experience off your bucket list, feel free to check out your fellow students’ UB pet peeves.
Conquer the Martini Tower
You can’t miss it when you come to Groningen: the Martini Tower. Standing 96.8 meters tall, it’s one of the city’s most famous buildings. It offers an incredible view of Groningen from above, and climbing up the over 300 tiny steep stairs to the top also counts as full-body workout.
Don’t feel like you need to scale the Martini Tower immediately. Instead, pick a sunny and clear day in Spring to experience the landmark’s full potential. Grab your friends and go explore Groningen from above.
Standing on top of the Martinitoren, as the Dutch call it, is also a great opportunity to snap a picture for your Instagram, to let everyone know you arrived in your temporary home.
Need more ideas to step up your Instagram game? We collected a few of the coolest spots in the city to make your followers jealous.
Eat an eierbal
One of the advantages of choosing Groningen of all cities in the Netherlands for your studies is getting to enjoy the regional delicacy eierbal. This deep-fried snack, which you can find at basically any snack bar in Groningen, consists of a hard-boiled egg wrapped in ragout and breadcrumbs.
But no eierbal is like the other. Although the basic recipe is always the same, the spices might differ, depending on the snack bar you buy it from or the Dutch grandma that treats you to this traditional snack.
Eierballen can be enjoyed at any time of day, but are preferably served as borrelhap (drink snack) or served as after-party stomach filler at the snack dealer of your choice.
The eierbal also has cultural value to Groningen. In 2017, the eierbal was recognized as intangible heritage by the Kenniscentrum Nederland.
Still not sure if this crunchy egg ball is for you? Just check out what last year’s international students had to say about the eierbal.
Make up your own bucket list
Groningen is one of the Netherlands’ most vibrant and exciting student cities, so the best advice we can give you is to come up with your own bucket list.
There is always something to do in Groningen. From comedy performances and parties to cultural events or interesting public lectures at the university. Find out what you like best and try to squeeze as many interesting events into your hectic study life as possible.
Also, don’t be scared to ask your fellow students or any Dutch friends you might acquire during your stay for tips on what to do in the city or bar recommendations.
Most importantly though: just grab your backpack, get on your bike and explore all the little daily adventures Groningen and its residents have to offer.
Photos by Valeska Schietinger