Usva flourishes after quiet pandemic

After two years of drudgery due to the Covid restrictions, Usva is looking to the future. Students are taking classes at the cultural centre again and next year’s programme is all but complete.

‘We’re actually doing really well’, says Usva staff member Marlou Berends. Sure, the pandemic was a problem, especially for the student board. ‘They sign up because they want to learn about the arts and cultural sector, but they can’t do that if that sector is dead.’ 

But now that the restrictions have been lifted, people are signing up for courses again, attending student theatre performances, and visiting SPOT Groningen. The student board is also back at work. 

Photo by Zuzana Ľudviková

Loyal fans

The cultural centre allows students to take relatively cheap courses on arts and culture. ‘You can come here to act, make music, dance, paint, all sorts of things’, says Berends. Because of their ‘loyal fans’, the centre has no issue with course attendance.

‘We get around two thousand students a year and it’s going really well’, she says. ‘We offer a few dance courses that people keep coming back to year after year. They know exactly when registration opens, and the lists slowly fill up.’

It’s a different story with theatre performances, which are both in English and in Dutch. ‘They’re not always as successful’, says Berends. ‘But nothing has changed much in that sense from before the pandemic. Personally, I’d like to reach out to students at the Hanze more. We mostly have UG students now.’

Photo by Zuzana Ľudviková


Events organised by the student board are also successful again in attracting visitors, such as last Friday’s Lazarus Festival. The first edition of this free festival in the Noorderplantsoen was a roaring success. People were treated to live music by Groningen artists and up-and-coming talent from elsewhere in the country. There were workshops and food trucks. 

‘And now, the season is almost over again’, says Berends. The team is looking forward to next year, the schedule for which is nearly full, she says. ‘We’ll be working together with SPOT again, as well as with Studium Generale. Expect big things.’


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