Groningen, the Netherlands

Geographically, Groningen is rooted in the northern region of the Netherlands. While it is an old city with roots that can be traced back to the Iron Age, population-wise it’s one of the youngest in Europe; the high student population in Groningen brings the average age of the town down to 36. Groningen is a lively student-city with around 50,000 (international) students. It’s no wonder then that the city’s slogan is “Nothing tops Groningen” (in Dutch: “Er gaat niets boven Groningen”).
During your time in Groningen, you’ll get to experience everything the city has to offer, from a vibrant art and music scene to a unique, student-inspired nightlife. The city itself has everything you need, from open-air street markets to popular fashion chains. There’s also a lot to explore outside the centre: stroll along the canals, visit the iconic coloured houses at Reitdiephaven or challenge yourself by climbing Europe’s tallest freestanding climbing wall.

Campus Life 

The university buildings are situated all around Groningen and the city’s surroundings. The 11 faculties are based in 150 different buildings around the city. As an ISLANDS student, you will be receiving classes at the Zernike Campus. This campus originated in the late 1960s of the last century on the northern edge of the city of Groningen. An intensive ecosystem was created for public-private cooperation with knowledge institutions, numerous companies and facilities such as Innolab Chemie Groningen, Zernike NanoLab Groningen, Energy Transition Center EnTrance, Energy Academy Europe, Cube050 incubator and the Zernike Advanced Processing facility. This gives the location Zernike Campus an increasingly clear profile focusing on energy, chemistry, life sciences and big data.
Daily thousands of students, entrepreneurs and researchers visit the campus. That’s why more and more shops are located at the campus, resulting in various places to buy food and drinks, as well as eat.


Your general daily expenses include food, books, clothes, public transportation, and leisurely activities. You will also need to take into consideration the costs of housing and insurance.
However, experience shows that students will spend on average €800-1.000 per month, not including tuition costs. The estimate below does not include unforeseen costs and should be used as a general indication of the costs of living in the Netherlands. 

You can find a full overview of average costs of living on the RUG website.


Finding somewhere to live can be daunting, especially if you are moving to the Netherlands for the first time. Around 10,000 students will all be looking for a room at the same time in Groningen, so start your search as soon as possible. It is your own responsibility to find a place to live. The University of Groningen does NOT provide accommodation for students.
Through the housing organisation SSH (Short Stay Housing), a limited amount of temporary housing has been made available for international double degree students. For more information, please visit the housing platform At Home in Groningen. Further housing opportunities can still be found via the Roomfinder.
You can find more information and tips on how to find accommodation on the dedicated RUG-webpage on accommodation.

Leisure Activities 

While its history can be traced back to 300 BC, today Groningen is a vibrant student city with the youngest population in the Netherlands – one in four people here is a student! That means there’s always something to do, with various art and music festivals, theatres, cinemas and performance venues catering to all tastes, whether you prefer to watch or want to join in. The Groninger Museum with its world-renowned contemporary art exhibitions and the 133-year old Stadsschouwburg, one of the oldest and best-looking city theatres in the Netherlands, are must-visits, too. 

Many students are active in student associations outside of their studies. Groningen has something for everyone, ranging from sports associations to political-, cultural- and study associations. These student associations are a lot of fun and give you experiences you’ll remember your entire life.

Public Transport

Groningen has a compact city centre, making it easy to get around on foot, by bicycle or via public transportation. Recently named the “biking capital of the world” it’s no surprise that Groningen has a fantastic biking infrastructure, everything is just a short bike ride away.
The Netherlands has a very efficient and reliable public transportation system, but you are advised to purchase a public transport pass (OV-chipkaart) to take the best advantage of it. You can apply for a public transport pass via the OV-chipkaart home-page. It is possible to upload credit on the card and use it to check in and out of the various public transport systems without having to buy tickets each time. Just remember that you must always check in and out every time you get on or off a bus, train, metro or tram. The 9292 app is very useful when planning a trip, as it takes all the different transportation companies you can use into account.


Language Courses

Are you worried about language differences? The Netherlands ranks 2nd in the 2018 EF English Proficiency Index; most Dutch citizens can switch almost effortlessly from Dutch to English and will do so when they notice you’re an international who doesn’t speak Dutch. But if you would like to learn a new language or improve your language skills for study, work, or simply because you enjoy it, The University of Groningen Language Center offers courses in a range of languages to students.
The Language Centre also offers Dutch language courses at various levels and for various target groups. Thanks to the teaching methods developed by their teachers, you will learn Dutch very quickly. The Dutch courses begin at multiple different times throughout the year.