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Bucket list for first year students in Groningen

Date:27 September 2019
Additional bucket-list activity: enjoy the view of the Martini Tower from the VVV building on the Grote Markt
Additional bucket-list activity: enjoy the view of the Martini Tower from the VVV building on the Grote Markt

Your first year of being a student is a year full of new impressions, experiences, friends and overall a new way of life. It can be pretty overwhelming or stressful at times but trust me, you’ll look back at your first year and smile in memory of all the fun things you did. To help you a little on your way, I’ve compiled a bucket list of the best things to do as a first-year, based on things I’ve done myself and things I regret not having done. 

1. Climb the Martini Tower 

While it might seem like something only tourists do, this is a must-do activity after arriving in Groningen. Wherever you go in the city (legend has it that you can see it from the top of the Eiffel Tower), you can see the Martini Church tower. So why not see what the view is like from up there? After climbing the 311 steps, well you’ll be out of breath, but you’ll also be seeing Groningen from a completely different perspective. Pro tip - don’t go on a day that it is rainy or misty. Definitely does not make the climb up (and down) worth it. 

2. Party in the Poelestraat until the clubs close 

I actually didn’t do this in my first year, so eventually made up for lost time by doing this in my third year. A word of advice, it’s probably a lot more fun to do when you are first years and still full of energy, because leaving a club at 7 am when you are in your 3rd year is no fun. The city is always advertised for its clubs that have no closing time - so experience it! Wait until the bartender turns on the lights in the club and tells you he would like to go home because it’s 7:15 am. You can stumble home in broad daylight and get yourself a post-party snack at the Friday farmers market on the Vismarkt. 

3. Transport your furniture from IKEA with a bakfiets

Living alone means not having your parents being able to drive you (or your furniture) places. You might at some point in your first year decide you don’t like your desk chair or you would actually prefer a double bed over a single. Without a car and being unable to walk home with it, you’ll need a bakfiets. It definitely is not the easiest thing to bike on but is for sure an experience. 

4. Go to one of Groningen’s many festivals

Noorderzon, ESNS, Paradigm, WinterWelvaart, KadePOP, Nazomeren, StadsPark live, Hullabaloo - the list goes on. Groningen has countless festivals, each having its own personality and experience. Attending a festival in Groningen should be a priority on your bucket list. Whether it's enjoying the underground techno scene at Paradigm, the winter-wonderland feeling at Winter Welvaart or popular international headliners at Stadspark Live a Hullabaloo - there will be a festival that suits your interests. 

5. Visit Oosterpoort 

You most likely already visited the Oosterpoort for the Welcoming Ceremony - so congrats! You can already check that one of your lists! However, there is a lot more to experience at the Oosterpoort. Every month there are countless different events, ranging from classical music to national bands to international artists. The atmosphere is a lot more intimate than larger music venues, which gives it something special - and it’s right in the middle of Groningen!

6. Go on a “snack bar” tour

Everyone has their own preference for their after-clubbing snack (kebab, pizza, kaas-souffle, eierbal). But how do you know which snack bar is best for you? That's right - a snack bar tour. I did this in my first year together with 2 friends, and we went around the city and tried our preferred snacks in 4 different snack bars. Since then, I’ve known which place sells the best kaas-souffle. 

7. Make your own coffee-house bingo card 

This bucket-list point is kind of the same as the last, but then for coffee-houses or cafes. Us millennials love to spend our money on coffee and cakes - and Groningen knows that. Oude Kijk in ‘t Jat has around 10 different places to get a cappuccino or a cup of tea. So how do you know which you like most? That’s right, you make a list of all the cafes in Groningen, and you make your way through them in your first year. Then when you return for your second year, you’ll know exactly where to go. 

8. Try an interesting ACLO class 

Like I said, your first year is a time for new experiences. Why not try a weird sport that on no other occasion you would consider trying? The ACLO offers wall climbing, bungee super fly, jumping fitness, aquarobics, pole dancing, and many, many more. My favorite is definitely aquarobics and labooca - it might look ridiculous but it is a great way to exercise and have fun. 

9. Go to the Groningen Museum 

You’ve definitely biked or walked past it - the Groninger Museum. Even if you aren’t a museum kind of person, you should still go while you’re a student. Students at the University of Groningen are allowed free access, so even if you only want to go in for a half-hour or to avoid the rain - it’s possible. There is a wide variety of exhibitions and every few months there is a key exhibition by famous artists. 

10. Go to the Hoornsemeer or Paterswoldsemeer

Just south of the city, there are the “great lakes of Groningen”, the Hoornsemeer and Paterswoldsemeer, two lakes connected to each other and surrounded by nature. A very popular spot in the warmer months to go swimming, SUPing or renting boats - and also a popular place when it gets really cold and the ice is thick enough to go skating. Especially if you are from a country where you can’t go ice skating in winter, skating on the lakes is a for-sure bucket list activity (makes the harsh cold a little less depressing). 

Hopefully, you’ve gotten some inspiration from this blog post - let us know in the comments below what your first bucket list activity is going to be! 

Tags: First Year

About the author

Hey! I’m Danique, a Dutch/American studying International Relations and International Organizations with a mild obsession with coffee, cats, and rowing. If you can’t find me, look for the girl (almost always) wearing pink and writing blogs.


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