Groningen has a relatively small population (193,000), but still the 8th biggest city of the country. It is the cultural center of the northern Netherlands. The large number of students living in Groningen (37,000) makes the city the perfect place for going out, partying and for enjoying the almost daily cultural events. With its great nightlife, warm people and not much tourists a great place to CouchSurf! Groningen has two universities: The Rijksuniversiteit Groningen and the Hanzehogeschool (Hanze University).
In 2006, Groningen was elected "de beste binnenstad" (the best city centre) of the Netherlands.
Zwolle and Leeuwarden (the capital of the province of Friesland) are only one hour train ride away respectively!
- 1 How to get around
- 2 Looking for a place to rent?
- 3 Couchsurfing Meetings
- 4 Night Life
- 5 Things to see and do
- 6 EMERGENCY LIST
How to get around
The best way to get around in Groningen is by bicycle, you can rent one at the central station for 5 euro a day. You can reach the center by bicycle within 20 minutes from almost anywhere in the city.
Most places are well reachable by bus, here is a map with the buslines.
When you are already in the city a car isn't very usefull, in the very center of the city cars are prohibited and arround it, its very difficult and fairly expensive to park.
Looking for a place to rent?
Getting a place in Groningen is not quite easy. I tell everyone who wants to live in Groningen to be not too picky. You should be glad when you even find something that's not next to the railroad track or costs like a month wage. It will get easier when you are actually living here. But for now that’s probably not going to help you. Most students share a house with a couple of others. As a newcomer it can be quite hard to get one. A good site is: http://www.easykamer.nl. Easykamer offers their website in 12 languages and has partners all over the world. Another great option is going to local grocery stores. Some people place ads for rooms there, or you can put your own ad there. Be careful though girls, there are some weird people! Ads in local newspapers may also work, but again, be careful with leaving your phone number. Signing in at Lefier (institute for renting rooms for students) is also a good idea. There are a couple of student apartment buildings that often have free rooms. The downside is that most of these apartment buildings are really really ugly and depressing and the rooms are very small, but if you’re really in trouble you can never be too picky. http://www.lefier.nl/ If you’re really desperate, try: http://www.directwonen.nl/. The prices they ask are ridiculously high, but at least they almost always have a room to rent. For foreign exchange students there are special arrangements. I don’t know how that works, but you can check this yourself: http://www.rug.nl/corporate/index Last but not least: The CouchSurfing Groningen Group: Looking for a house http://www.couchsurfing.org/group.html?gid=14797
There are regular monthly gatherings attended by a relatively large number of people. Eevery first Friday of the month a meeting is held in bar Vestibule, Oosterstraat 24, Groningen. We also have a Mid-of-the-month-Meet-Up, and a random bar meeting both on 'random' places.
Groningen is a University city and the largest center in the northern Netherlands. Its cultural scene is vibrant and remarkable.
At night you can go out to some of the about 160 bars Groningen counts. Most bars are surrounding the 'poelestraat' and the 'kromme elleboog'. The bars surrounding 'the poelestraat' are mostly visited by students and other young people. Because there is no law on the closing time in Groningen it starts to get fun late on the evening. Start your evening for example at jazzcafe de Spieghel, 'de zolder' located above coffeeshop dees where you can smoke your joint, de drie gezusters (with 20 bars the biggest bar of the Netherlands, counting the beer turnover the biggest of Europe) or bars surrounding the 'kromme elleboog' at 22:00 and move on to the dancing bars after 1:00. Best nights to go out are Thursdays (mostly students), Fridays and Saturdays A bit more outside the city center, near the Noorderplantsoen park you can find cafe de Minnaar and a bit closer to the city center cafe Kult more relaxing and not a party cafe.
In the Oosterstraat you can find Vera Club for the international pop underground, every week there are about 3 or 4 concerts, a movie night, a free downstage concert and the weekly Swingavond (every saturday). Outside the citycenter you can find the homebase of the Drum n bass group Noisia. Simplon, where you can find more DnB, techno and pop/rock performances.
Things to see and do
- Het Groninger Museum is a museum where multiple exhibitions of mostly modern art can be seen. The building is a piece of modern art itself.
- Het Noordelijk Scheepvaartmuseum is a museum that shows the history of shipbuilding and shipping of the northern parts of the Netherlands from the Middle Ages until the present day. In two medieval buildings dating from the fifteenth century a wide variety of subjects is covered.
- The Nederlandse Stripmuseum is a museum about dutch cartoons. In the museum you can find unique pieces from history. Children can learn how to draw cartoons themselfs.
- The De AA Kerk is a church from 14th century. It is currently not used as a church anymore but used for exhibitions and other cultural events.
- The Martini tower is built in the 16th century, it's 97 meters high. Curently it is not possible to climb the tower.
- De Grote Markt and De Vismarkt are two large market squares in the center of the city. On 'De Grote Markt' you can relax on a terrace with a view on the martini tower. Tuesday, Friday and Saturday there is a market from 8:00 untill 17:00 where you can buy for example dutch cheese or 'stroopwafels'.
- You can take a canal cruise through the channel that surroundes the center of the city. For groups with 8+ persons you can rent a private boat.
- het Noorderplantsoen is a little park which is loaded with people when the weather is nice.
- The prinsentuin is a nice rose and herb garden. Within the garden there is a little shed where you can buy very good tea which you can drink sitting peacefully between the berry bushes on the gras.
In case of an emergency: If you are in trouble or if you have witnessed a crime, call 1-1-2 from any telephone. This call is free of charge but should be used only in case of an emergency.
To report a crime: To report a non-emergency minor crime, call the local police station at 0900-8844.
Here's a list of the local police stations:
- Basiseenheid Centrum
- Rademarkt 12
- Basiseenheid Noord
- Korreweg 3
- Basiseenheid Zuid
- Queridolaan 5
- Basiseenheid West
- Diamantlaan 168
- Basiseenheid Oost
- Parkallee 20
Note that if you need instant medical help, the nation-wide emergency telephone number, 112, will give you an ambulance very quickly and the doctor on board will contact the hospital on the way there.
- The University Medical Center Groningen (UMCG) is one of the largest hospitals in the Netherlands.
- Hanzeplein 1
- 9713 GZ GRONINGEN
- +31 50 361 6161
- Martini ziekenhuis
- Van Swietenplein 1
- 9728 NT GRONINGEN
- +31 50 524 5245
MEDICAL ADVICE HELPLINE
For medical emergencies after office hours, at weekends and on public holidays call 0900 9229 (or +31 50 316 8400) and check this website. As most things will be in Dutch ask some help from your host. Please note that this service is not free.
020 694 8709 gives you the nearest 24hr. pharmacy.
EMBASSIES & CONSULATES
LAST-MINUTE HOSTEL & TRANSPORT
Always make sure you are aware of ways to get to your host's home, but also out of it as well, should you need to.
To my knowledge, there are two hostels in Groningen:
- Bud Gett Hostels Groningen, Rademarkt 3 (050 5886558)
- Simplon Youth Hostel, Boterdiep 73-2 (050 3135221)
Taxi numbers: 0800 2929032, 050 525422, 050 3180600, 050 8507283
RAPE CRISIS UNIT
Sexual abuse helpline: 0900 899 8411
THE IMMIGRATION ADVISORY SERVICE