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Groningen, a northern province

The northern part of the Netherlands: the province of Groningen

The University and the city of Groningen have a unique character, largely due to their situation in the north of the Netherlands. Unlike the western part of the country with its densely populated urban areas, the province of Groningen is predominantly rural and quite unspoiled. As is the case in many parts of Holland, a large area of the province lies below sea level, and land was reclaimed here until well into the 19th century. As a result, the coastal area (towards the "Wadden-Sea") offers a limitless view in all directions, well worth a visit by bike. The area is also a special subject of interest for biologists and environmentalists both at the University and nationally.

The Dutch Climate

Moderate summers and changeable winters characterise the Dutch climate. Freezing temperatures and snow are not uncommon in the winter months from December to February, so warm clothing and a winter coat are highly recommended. Summer days are warm, though never uncomfortably hot, with the changeable weather and frequent rain making a lightweight, waterproof jacket an indispensable accessory. In autumn and spring, the temperatures are moderate, mostly ranging between 5°C and 15oC.

The Dutch Language

Although Dutch remains the national language of the Netherlands, you will find that almost everyone in the Netherlands is able to speak English well, not only within the University, but in daily life too. Furthermore, many people understand and speak German. We appreciate your effort to speak Dutch though, so you are most welcome to take an introductory course of Dutch, though this is never obligatory!

National and other holidays

In the Netherlands, most holidays are related to the Christian calendar. There are a few additional holidays: the first day after Christmas, the first day after Easter and the first day after Whitsuntide. During the holidays, most universities will keep their services open, but they might be limited.


Until 31 December 2001 the Dutch currency was the guilder (usual abbreviations: NLG, Dfl, Hfl, or ƒ), but since 1 January 2002, all guilders have been exchanged for Euros (abbreviated to €). One guilder is the equivalent of € 0.45 and 1 € is the equivalent of NLG 2.20. From 1 January 2002, Euros will be the only currency in most countries of the European Union.

Costs of living

As a result of fairly low inflation rates since the beginning of the1990s the Netherlands still enjoys one of the lowest costs-of-living in Europe. Here is an indication of the cost of some basic items on a student budget.

  • Housing: Euro 250-340 per month (this is not cheap!)
  • Food: Euro 180 per month
  • Spending money: Euro 55 per month
  • Insurance: Euro 35-55 per month
  • Language courses: Euro 100-450 per course
  • Security deposit: ± Two weeks rent
  • (Accommodation)
  • Bicycle: Euro 45-110 (to buy a good second hand bicycle)

More information on the Netherlands

For more information on the Netherlands, please go to

Some publications worth reading are: Living in Holland, published by Nuffic (offering an overview of the culture, and detailed descriptions of the practicalities of living in the Netherlands), The UnDutchables, by C. White & L. Boucke (providing a humorous overview of Dutch culture and customs) or else, Culture Shock! Netherlands, by H. Janin (a more serious overview for those newly settling in the country).

Laatst gewijzigd:18 januari 2016 13:57