University of Groningen; a short guide to the student life

Chrisa Lepida | Live the World

November 23, 2022

Continuing my “Promoting Erasmus and studying abroad” pages, I now introduce you to the University of Groningen. Let’s suppose that you are an Erasmus student or in general a student planning to study abroad for a semester or so. What are the factors that you would take into consideration before choosing your next destination and university? How would you organise your background research? What are the things that you’d love to know about your university in advance? Here’s a short research I did about one of the biggest universities in the Netherlands that welcomes thousands of Erasmus students every year.

Welcome to the University of Groningen!

The University of Groningen is a public research university in the city of Groningen in the Netherlands. The university was founded in 1614 and is one of the oldest universities in the Netherlands as well as one of its largest. The University of Groningen offers a varied range of interesting, highly regarded degree programmes. As a student, you will receive high-quality supervision and have many options to choose from. The University of Groningen has been awarded the ‘Best Traditional University in the Netherlands’ quality label. Many very talented people in a variety of disciplines have studied or worked at the university during the 400 years of its existence, including four Nobel Prize winners, the first female University student in the Netherlands, the first female lecturer, the first Dutch astronaut and the first president of the European Bank.

The life in the city

Groningen is located in the north of the Netherlands and it’s known for its rich history, lovely canals, perfect green areas and old medieval buildings. Amongst Dutch nationals Groningen is widely recognized as a bustling metropolis of the North, and has one of the largest urban centers in this part of the country. Groningen has much to offer in terms of culture and history, and has a series of well-known and well-respected museums. The most famous of these is the Groninger Museum, which has recently been overhauled and is now one of the most modern and innovative of its kind. The city has regularly been voted as the best in the Netherlands for its nightlife - due largely to the thriving custom of the bars and nightclubs, provided by the student population. Nearly 6,000 international students study in Groningen annually from over 120 countries. Living in Groningen without speaking Dutch is not a problem; you will be able to order food, shop for clothes and even take sport classes in English. The University of Groningen has strong international connections, which means that you can easily spend part of your degree studying abroad.

Life tips;

1) Learn some of the language. Of course, most Dutch people can speak English fluently but showing that you are at least trying to speak their language will go a long way. 2) Get a bike. It’s just a MUST. You can’t adjust into the Dutch culture without a bike! 3) Visit more places than just Groningen. The Netherlands has lots to offer. It’s not all just coffee shops and red light districts. 4) Be careful crossing the street. Well, that goes for every country right? 5) Enjoy your time abroad!

Housing and accommodation;

To help international students to find a pleasant place to live, the University of Groningen has reserved accommodation with SSH Student Housing. SSH is a non-profit housing corporation, specialized in accommodation for students and PhD’s. SSH offers short stay contracts for the length of an educational period in the first year of stay. You can book a room with all necessary furniture and appliances for 5 months (exchange students, 1 semester) or 10 or 12 months (2 semesters). PhD’s (some times with partner) can rent an apartment for a longer period.

Finding your own accommodation

Most students prefer living in a private room in or around the city centre or near the university’s Zernike Campus. Groningen municipality, University of Groningen and the Hanze University of Applied Sciences have a common website This website gives you a lot of information on housing and living in the city of Groningen and its neighborhoods. It also refers to some major providers of rooms in the city and some frequently used websites. You will find answers to frequently asked questions or you can mail a question or comment.

Important info;

Average rental in shared accommodation; 420 euros. Monthly food cost; 226 euros. Average lunch price at a restaurant; 15 euros. Average Fitness subscription; 23 euros. Beer Price at a bar; 4 euros.

..and of course do not forget to join the local ESN community!

ESN works in the interest of all international students, not just for Erasmus students. ESN offers a clear introductory programme for all international students to introduce them to the laws, rules and customs of their host country.

Pack your bags and choose Groningen as your Erasmus or studying abroad destination! Cheers!

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