Moving to Groningen

If you’re even just thinking about relocating to Groningen, then you’ve definitely come to the right place! Moving to a new country and acclimating to a new culture can sometimes be a bit overwhelming, which is why we have developed a complete city guide for Groningen. Here we have compiled all of the information that you will need, including finding the perfect housing, recognizing the best neighborhoods and the most exciting places to go when you’re an incoming international student in Groningen.

Plus, the best part is that you can find everything that you’ll need in one place. Welcome to Groningen!

About Groningen

If you’re hoping to immerse yourself completely in the cultural center of the region, you’ll quickly understand why Groningen attracts those interested in design, art and architecture. Additionally, you’ll find bustling cafés and restaurants, historic theatres and festivals that draw attendees from all across the continent.

Once you visit the city center, you’ll quickly find that its charming streets and unique shops have an appeal that can’t be matched. In fact, they spin a story that tells of exciting retail adventures and plenty of places to meet new people in this vibrant epicenter. This could be why it has been known as the best city center in all of the Netherlands!

Groningen is a true student city, boasting the youngest population in the Netherlands, making it a fun-filled destination for students. It also has a rich past, illustrated by its numerous historic warehouses, courts and buildings. Its inspiring architecture also provides a stunning backdrop for a locale with real innovation.

Dutch language

While living in the Netherlands, it’s probably no great shock to find that the official language is Dutch. However, what you may not know is that the people of the Netherlands have a wonderful grasp of the English language, and are typically eager to illustrate their English-speaking prowess.

When doing practical things in Groningen, such as opening up a bank account or finding your way to the newest nightclub via public transportation, residing in a city with people who can mostly speak two different languages can be extremely useful. Of course, picking up some basic phrases in the native language can be appreciated, but you’ll soon find that residents will quickly switch to English, should it be more helpful to you.

Thanks to this, Groningen is becoming more widely known each year as a world-class international city, making it more and more common to hear English spoken on the streets. Actually, if you listen closely, you’re bound to hear even more languages — perhaps even your own native tongue!

Weather in the Netherlands

The climate may not be the top reason that you’ll find the Netherlands such an attractive option for your international studies, but there are plenty of others. It does have moderate summers and mild winters, but it also has a good amount of rain, meaning that you should be sure to spend your time out and about whenever there happens to be a pleasant day in the forecast. Throughout the year, the climate can be a little unpredictable. In the winter, you can expect temperatures at 7°C (19.4F), and in the summer, it can get up to around 30°C (86F). Keep in mind that it’s best to always have an umbrella or a jacket with you, as the weather can frequently change its mind, even multiple times during the same day.

Public holidays

The Netherlands has quite a few public holidays. You’ll want to remember that a lot of businesses will be closed on these days, so try to plan accordingly.

On January 1st, New Year’s Day, most people are relaxing from a long night out on New Year’s Eve, just like any location across the globe. In fact, in nearby Rotterdam, the entire day is deemed as for "recovery and cleanup," and the city pretty much comes to a halt for a full 24 hours.

Easter is also a very popular holiday, and it’s a time when families get together and share a traditional meal. If you’re invited to experience this with a local classmate, you’ll be sure to enjoy the large grill that is set up, allowing everyone to prepare their own meats. It’s a great prelude to enjoying your eggs the following morning!

On April 27th, the Dutch people celebrate Kingsday, which definitely ranks among the best holidays of the year! This gigantic street party begins with everyone dressing in orange and drinking and dancing the night way. In Amsterdam many revelers also rent small boats to bring the festivities to the canals. You can also expect craft or second-hand markets, selling wares like antiques, furniture, toys, books, clothes and anything else you can imagine.

Sinterklaas (Sint-Nicolaas) comes around on December 5th, and it is a celebration of the Dutch Christmas and Santa Claus. In Dutch tradition, this much-loved bishop arrives in the Netherlands each year, beginning in mid-November and not leaving until December 6th, giving out treats and all sorts of presents to all of the children in the city. Sinterklaas is almost identical to Santa Claus, except that he hails from Spain, instead of the North Pole! For adults and students who want to celebrate Sinterklaas, games are played, or gifts are exchanged between "secret friends," often including a unique craft, a poem or another type of small gift. Plus, this is the only time of the year that you can buy pepernoten (delicious spiced cookies), so be sure to stock up!

And then there’s Christmas! But the exciting news is that in the Netherlands, it is celebrated on two days: both December 25th and 26th. During this fun national holiday, people gather together to exchange presents and share a delicious Dutch meal. Many families opt to serve grilled steaks, deer or ostrich meats.

Facts about Groningen

  1. Groningen boasts the youngest average city population in all of the Netherlands!

  2. Groningen also is home to the smallest hotel, the Grand Hotel de Kromme Raake.

  3. It also hosts Europe’s largest student event, KEI Week.

  4. You can happily expect the nation’s lowest housing prices.

  5. Like festivals? Groningen has one of the world’s top five photo festivals known as Noorderlicht.

  6. You can have drinks at Europe’s largest bar, De Drie Gezusters.

  7. It has the highest percentage of students enrolled in higher education.

  8. Groningen is proud to have the Netherlands’ most beautiful building, the Gasunie.

  9. You can find the most delicious cup of coffee at Doppio in the best city center in the country.

  10. One of Groningen’s most well-known residents is Ranomi Kromowidjojo, an Olympic swimming gold medalist.

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