A Blog by International Students at Leiden University
At the end of last month, I had the chance to visit Groningen, thanks to an interview I had there. I actually visited the city before, with my best friend who studied her bachelor’s there and went to a concert together. After my third time in by far the largest city in the north of the Netherlands, I would like to share some information and insights and hopefully add a destination to your summer bucket lists.
Again, it is the largest city in the north of Netherlands with approximately 230,000 inhabitants and an old city dating back hundreds and hundreds of years. Even though it is in the center of an agricultural area, Groningen is defined by its university, The University of Groningen (in Dutch: Rijksuniversiteit Groningen. The second oldest university of the country, after Leiden, has high rankings in international lists, as other Dutch universities.
However, I think the effect of the university on the city is even bigger, with 25 percent of its population being students. The night life definitely is a proof of that which is vibrant for every day of the week with most bars being open until 5 am.
Once you are out of the beautiful central station, just walking straight will take you to the city center. It is a nice city, however, do not expect as much canals as Leiden has. University’s academic building is one of the oldest buildings in the city and one of the most beautiful, I think.
Even though it is a long distance in Dutch standards which I also got used to by now, Groningen is actually easily accessible from Leiden with direct train line. It takes 2,5 hours. It is the ticket prices which bothers more, rather than the train ride itself. If you have no subscription it will take 26 EURs one way to get to Groningen. However, it is more reasonable with either 40% discount subscription or the weekend free subscription even better. You can combine the visit to the city with a trip to the islands on the northern coast.
Have you been to Groningen? What was your impression of the city? Share in the comments!