RUG 400: what’s in it for internationals?

The RUG’s 400th Anniversary events have begun, but what’s out there for non-Dutch speakers? 

In case you had somehow missed the message emblazoned on banners, umbrellas and messenger bags over the past year: 15 May marked the 400th anniversary of the University of Groningen. There will be a month-long celebration in honor of this occasion, including lectures, theatre performances and sporting events across the city and the province. There’s an English-language version of the programme of activities, but little indication of which events are available in English.

‘Most of the events are good to go to for anyone, no matter what language they speak,’ says Willemien Bruulsema of the anniversary office. ‘A few are not so good for non-Dutch speakers, like the open air musical theatre production, ‘Voor Eeuwig’.  Most of the lectures are in Dutch as well. ‘

For Infinity, the movie

de filmSo, if you don’t want to see a musical whose lyrics you can’t understand, you should try instead to catch a screening of ‘For Infinity’.  It’s an English-language movie whose star is an international student who has to learn lessons on love and life, both inside and outside the lectures halls. It will be premiering during the Night of Art and Science on 24 May.

While most of the lectures are in Dutch, internationals still have the universe available to them. British astrophysicist Martin Rees will give a lecture on 4 June on the origins and the future of the universe. It will be held in the Aletta Jacobshaal on the Zernike campus at 8 pm.

400 Years of Science

foto-7Scattered across Groningen are exhibitions about the history of the university. In the Aa Kerk, ‘400 Years of Science’ is on display, showing off fascinating and, at times, gruesome specimens and experiments from the University’s past. At the Groninger Museum, the exhibition ‘Student in Groningen’ examines the role students have played over the years in the city. Both are presented in Dutch and English. The University Museum will also have English information for its anniversary exhibition soon.

Cycling Tour

As for physical activities – the Lauwersloop Run, For Infinity Cycling Tour and the Bommen Beren boat race – participants and spectators don’t have to do much talking. If you’d like to take part in a more laid back but still informative sporting event, the Walk For Infinity is a good option. Taking place over two days, it’s a walking tour from the German town of Greetsiel to Groningen based on the life of Ubbo Emmius, the first rector magnificus of the RUG.

Otherwise, just wander around and take in the atmosphere – even if you can’t exactly understand what is being said or sung, you can still celebrate the birth-month of the RUG