Out on the town with: Mai | Soaking up the tranquility at the Hortus Botanicus

There’s so much to do in Groningen that you really need a guide to help you uncover the city’s hidden gems. Every week, UKrant’s student editors share their cultural agenda with you. What’s their favourite venue and which events in the upcoming week are absolutely not to be missed?

Hangout: Hortus Botanicus

Opportunities to interact with students from all over the world are not hard to come by in the city. But who knew the opportunity to interact with nature from all over the world is only a twenty-minute bike ride away from the Grote Markt? 

The Hortus Botanicus is a safe haven for any stressed out city-dwelling student. Even though the bike ride to the gardens is lovely in itself,  I must say in this case it is all about the destination, not the journey. 

The vast area of the gardens seems to stretch far beyond its 20 hectares – it seems to stretch all over the world, and sometimes even to different periods in history. At the Hortus, you will find, among other things, a Chinese garden with bamboo and waterfalls, a Celtic garden with stone formations that look thousands of years old, and a birth tree calendar as well as a medicinal herb garden.

Sometimes the most relaxing breaks are just a bike ride away from your house

Coming from a country populated mostly by trees and lakes, I frequently find myself missing the tranquil peace of nature. At the botanical gardens, I encounter little fragments of this nature-induced tranquility in the form of meadows, ponds, and a seemingly infinite number of plant species such as the Malus prunifolia (crabapple) and lavandula angustifolia (lavender). 

All of us enjoy and deserve breaks, and sometimes the most relaxing breaks don’t involve flying across continents to another busy city. Sometimes a relaxing break can just be a welcome moment of solitude in a botanical garden a bike ride away from your house.   

Hortus Botanicus
Kerklaan 34, Haren
Opening times: 10 a.m. – 5 p.m. daily
Entrance fee: 9.50 euros, students 6 euros

 Where you’ll find me this week:

The Global Music Here & Now Band promises to bring its listeners tunes from all corners of the earth, and best of all, it’s free! As a music lover and a techno hater, I sometimes struggle to find musical events to enjoy, but this one seems to hit the nail on the head.  

On Sunday, this wonderful market of all things old and new and random is once again in town. As I have way too many things already, I am going mostly for the live music, food trucks, hammocks and to say hello to the three pigs that wander around freely in the garden.   

The cheapest and arguably coolest cinema in town is screening Joyland, a drama exploring themes such as sexual and social identity in the context of Pakistan. Sounds like a refreshing break from the domineering Hollywood romcoms and franchise movies.  

VERA is showcasing works of a renowned Japanese experimental filmmaker, Takashi Ito. I am expecting to be exposed to some amazing visual pieces with complex themes. I am even prepared to be a bit uncomfortable with the possible eeriness that accompanies a title like Haunted Light

The ACT committee at USVA will perform their annual play, and this time that’s The Physicist. I am excited to witness the culmination of a lot of hard work, and to enjoy an evening with a form of art that is rarely within a student’s budget: theater. 

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