6 Reasons why Groningen is the best student city in Europe

By University of Groningen

Students on a bridge

So you’re looking for a university where you can receive high-quality education and at the same time have the time of your life with your fellow students? The University of Groningen in the north of the Netherlands offers the best of both worlds. Want to know what makes Groningen the best student city in Europe? In this blog, we share our top 6 reasons!

1. English-taught programmes

The University of Groningen offers over 180 Bachelor’s, Master’s and PhD programmes across a wide range of study fields. The University has 11 faculties, 10 of which are in the city of Groningen and one is in Leeuwarden, called Campus Fryslân. Don’t speak any Dutch yet? Many of our programmes are fully English-taught and there are many students who don’t speak Dutch when they arrive in Groningen. Would you like to learn Dutch during your studies? The University’s Language Centre offers free Dutch language courses for students and staff so you can start learning the basics and meet other international students.

Ambitious students who are looking for an extra challenge can add the University of Groningen Honours College programme to their Bachelor’s or Master’s and in that way further their interdisciplinary knowledge. This is a competitive programme which is aimed at those students with high grades and motivation. Aside from this programme, students can also follow a minor programme within the university or do a semester abroad at one of our many partner universities. In short: you’ll have a lot of opportunities to develop yourself here.

2. Young and international community

What we absolutely love about this city and the university is how international our community is. With students and staff members from all over the world, over 120 nationalities are currently represented at the University of Groningen. Compared to other student cities, the city of Groningen might be a little smaller but don’t let that fool you; you’ll have everything you need here and almost everyone you’ll meet will speak English so it’s really easy to get around. With around 50.000 students in the city, everything is catered to students. In fact, students make up about 25% of Groningen’s inhabitants!

The best way to meet other international students is by joining ESN Groningen, the University of Groningen chapter of the global Erasmus Student Network. Did you know that our chapter is the largest in Europe? ESN Groningen organises fun activities and excursions throughout the year which gives you the chance to meet new people and discover the Netherlands.

3. Vibrant student life

Groningen has a very active student life and there are always events organised for students by students. Student life in this city is characterised by the large number of student associations we have. Whether you’re interested in sports, arts, parties and travel, or meeting students who share the same religion, there is truly something for everyone. A lot of students choose to become active in these associations during their studies at the UG. Joining a student association is a lot of fun as it gives you the opportunity to make new friends and meet students from different (study) backgrounds and you can gain useful skills by participating in committees and boards. Curious? Our student Luc wrote a blog about whether student associations are really worth the hype.

4. So many sports

The ACLO is the overarching student sports organisation in Groningen and is the largest of its kind in the Netherlands. There, you’ll find different sports associations ranging from tennis and football to gymnastics and dance. The ACLO has a large swimming pool and also offers drop-in classes and short courses in all kinds of different sports, all of which are included in the price of just 59,95 euros for the whole academic year. With two locations in the city, doing sports before or after your classes is both affordable and convenient.

You’ll quickly notice that students in Groningen like to stay fit – take for example the fact that they go everywhere by bike. It’s also really easy to reach the surrounding towns and countryside by bike, which is perfect when you have some free time on the weekends.

5. Nightlife and festivals

Groningen is known for its amazing nightlife and for not having closing times, which basically means that you can party as long as you can keep on dancing. Whether you’re into sing-along classics, techno, pop or live bands – with the large number of clubs and venues, you’ll quickly find your favourites.

If you’re a music lover, you might have heard of the music festival Eurosonic/Noorderslag (ESNS). It’s a massive event, taking place every January. ESNS aims to promote European music and the festival is known for helping new artists have their big break on the international music scene. Artists like Dua Lipa, George Ezra, Her and Aurora have all started their successful careers at ESNS in Groningen. During the festival, you can attend performances in over 40 venues around the city, from concert halls to pubs. Definitely a must-visit!

6. Groningen is green

When we say Groningen is green, we mean the beautiful nature in and around the city but also the many efforts to promote sustainability here. There are several parks around the city, all just a short walk or bike ride from our faculty buildings. As soon as the sun is out, parks like the Noorderplantsoen and the Stadspark are filled with students, music and happy vibes. In the south of the city, you’ll find the Paterswoldsemeer and Hoornsemeer, two lakes where you can go for a swim in the summer or just enjoy a nice walk near the water.

Within the Groningen student community, sustainability efforts have become more popular in the last few years. The University of Groningen has a department called the Green Office which is dedicated to creating awareness about sustainability by organising events such as clothing swaps, workshops and documentary screenings. Groningen also has a local market and many second-hand stores where you can find anything from food to clothing and furniture. This is perfect for your student budget and you’ll be helping the environment so it’s a win-win.

Ready to join us at the University of Groningen? Check out our website for more information.

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