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5 Graduation and goodbye gift ideas

Date:30 June 2022
These maps of Groningen are the perfect graduation gifts!
These maps of Groningen are the perfect graduation gifts!

The summer break is near, which also means that graduation season is upon us.

You’ll see happy students around the Academy Building taking the perfect graduation picture with their diploma and their families and groups of people walking happily through the streets of Groningen with flowers in their arms. However, graduation also means  that some of our friends will be moving away from the city, or even the country, which makes this time of the year bittersweet. You are probably looking forward to your summer vacation and exams being done , while the time to say goodbye to some friends also approaches. To make this time a bit easier, I collected five nice gift ideas and places that hopefully will help you choose. 

Dutch food & snacks 
Friends of mine who left the Netherlands, occasionally request to bring them specific Dutch snacks when we see each other. One of them keeps asking for pepernoten and real Dutch stroopwafels, and another one is missing the typical Groninger snack ‘eierballen’. No matter what they like to eat or maybe drink, Giving such gifts to friends  will bring back memories for them. Also, it is a really easy gift to buy, as you just need to step into the next supermarket to  find everything you may need. I would probably miss ‘kaas souffles’ the most, but they might be rather hard to transport.

Groninger food & delicacies
In addition to the point above, if your friends are moving to another Dutch city, typical Groninger food can be the way to go. Various stores that focus on selling cheese, like  Kaaskop and some smaller delicacy stores in the Folkingestraat have Groninger Mustard, sausages or small pots of honey and jam.It might not be a typical gift, but definitely a memorable one!  

One of my favourite decorative gifts are small posters and maps from Groningen. I personally love giving them to friends as goodbye gifts, because they are easy to carry and pack in suitcases and can easily be personalised. You can mark their favourite locations, old apartments or other special places on the map and combine it with a gift card from their favourite cafe. You may have seen various ones in cafes and some of the small stores all over town, like at Waar, het KadoCafe or the Groningenstore

If you are looking for practical and funny gifts, this is the one for you. This has surprisingly been one of my favourites to give and for my friends to receive. If your friends are leaving the country, you can get them some typical Dutch motives, like windmills or bikes. You can find them at stores like Hema or other clothing stores all over town. It is something that will definitely be used and is also not taking up too much  space. There are some Groningen themed ones as well that you can find at the Forum in the giftshop. My friends have randomly sent me pictures when they are wearing them, which is a great way to make sure they do not forget you.

To make sure your friends will come back and visit you, you can give them a gift card from your favourite cafe or restaurant. Almost all food and drink spots offer them and sometimes let you add a personal message to it. Think about places you liked to meet for lunch or coffee during busy study days, or bars you went to to celebrate the end of exams. For sitting outside, in one of my favourite spots in Groningen, Zondag or Mahalo in the Noorderplantsoen. If you rather want to sit in the heart of the inner city de drie Gezusters or other cafes around the grote markt are perfect for that. Not having to figure out where to go when you are meeting up in the city makes the reunion even better. Of course, we hope that our friends will visit Groningen from time to time anyways, but this is a nice and easy way to ensure they will!

Gift places to start at

The Ishop
If you are still unsure or want more inspiration I would like to point out two places to start searching for the perfect gifts. The first one is the Ishop located at the Oude Kijk in Het Jatstraat. As it is the official University of Groningen store you can find everything in UG theme and with the UG logo.

My top Ishop buys are the following three. 
- The traditional UG hoodie is almost a musthave for every student or graduate. It is super comfortable and a great way for showing your university pride outside the city.
- Number two is definitely the wine glasses with the UG logo. They also function as a great moving in gift when your recent graduate friends settle into their new apartments. 
- Last but not least, the university stojo sustainable coffee cup. It it sustainable, easy to carry and looks super nice. 

Those are just a few of many and when you’re looking for graduation gifts that remind your friends of their university time, you'll definitely find something here!

Groningen Store
If you are specifically looking for Groningen or Dutch themed gifts, check out the Groningen Store at the Forum or online. As mentioned before, you can find socks and posters, but also many other gifts that might surprise you. For example, you’ll  find clothing that declares your love for Groninger eierbal or candles in the shape of the Martinitoren or the Forum.  

If you know someone who will be one of the many graduates this summer, I hope this blog helped you to figure out a nice  gift. Finding the perfect goodbye gift can be a nice distraction from thinking about having to actually say goodbye. Enjoy the time you have left with your friends, as time with friends is usually the best gift to give anyhow.

About the author


Hi! I am Anna, a 22 year old International Relations and International Organization student from Germany. Next to my studies, I’m an active member of my international student association but I will still find time to tell you all about my plants or my favourite spots in Groningen.


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