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50th Anniversary of our Sports Centre

07 September 2017

Netherlands v. Germany in women’s volleyball friendly, three lectures on sporting icons, a dragon boat race, Campus Trail and a magazine

The Sports Centre of the University of Groningen and Hanze University of Applied Sciences is turning 50. This golden anniversary will be celebrated from 9 to 15 September and the theme is ‘50 years on the move’. The Sports Centre at Blauwborgje 16 was one of the first residents to move into the Paddepoel Complex in 1967. Fifty years later thousands of students and staff of the University of Groningen and Hanze University of Applied Sciences visit the Sports Centre on the Zernike Campus during the week and at the weekend. Manager Johan Poppinga: ‘The Sports Centre plays an important role in the city of Groningen. We meet the sporting needs of around 20,000 people.’

The Sports Centre has a packed anniversary programme that includes a women’s volleyball friendly between the Netherlands and Germany on 9 September, Studium Generale lectures on Johan Cruijff, Usain Bolt and Michael Jordan (13, 20 and 27 September), a spectacular dragon boat race (14 September) and the first Campus Trail on Friday 15 September. Always wanted to know what goes on behind all those doors at Zernike Campus? This four-mile run will take you not only through the grounds of the Campus but also right through buildings such as Linnaeusborg, Energy Academy Europe and the Willem Alexander Sports Centre. Get your colleagues, fellow students, friends and family to join you in this new sporting event. Register at:

Sportcentrum Illustrated

A special magazine will be published next week to mark the anniversary: Sportcentrum Illustrated, with a nod to its famous American counterpart. Alongside evocative descriptions of the highlights and lowlights of the last 50 years and interviews with top athletes and today’s students, the magazine has contributions from famous residents of Groningen, including University of Groningen Rector Magnificus Elmer Sterken (basketball) and Paul van der Wijk of the Executive Board of Hanze University of Applied Sciences (volleyball).

Editor Kaj Reker is proud: ‘It took about half a year’s work to put half a century of the Sports Centre on paper. We amateur researchers/writers, not to mention experts by experience, went on a fascinating journey through the highlights and lowlights of the last 50 years. It was a very special experience. We laughed a lot and shed the odd tear. We didn’t even dedicate a separate chapter to Pieter Tilstra, despite him being the boss for the most part of those 50 years; he was responsible for keeping things going in good and bad times and for earning the Sports Centre its reputation, which still holds true today, as the best student sport facilities in the Netherlands. Tilstra may not have his own chapter, but his presence is felt throughout: nearly all the articles began with the question: what was his role? And it was always clear.’

The 60-page limited edition is available at the Sports Centre reception from 15 September.

Press note :

For more information please contact:

Appendix: Programme

Women’s volleyball: the Netherlands v. Germany

Saturday 9 September, 5 p.m., Martiniplaza, Groningen

The Dutch women’s volleyball team led by coach Jamie Morrison will play a friendly against Germany in preparation for the European Championship in Azerbaijan/Georgia.

Tickets: EUR 10 from the Sports Centre reception or

Sporting Icons: lectures in collaboration with Studium Generale Groningen

Time: 8 p.m. Tickets: EUR 4 per lecture (EUR 2 with SG card), students free. See

  • Wednesday 13 September: Johan Cruijff, inimitable. Johan Cruijff didn’t just change football, he changed the Dutch language and logic too. What made him so unique and how did he change the game of football? Speakers include: Cruijff biographer Auke Kok, top coach/retired footballer and technical director of FC Groningen Ron Jans and former Ajax player, former international player and former Cruijff teammate Klaas Nuninga. With a contribution by Mr Ajax Sjaak Swart. The moderator is retired sports journalist Henk Kok. Where: University of Groningen and Hanze University of Applied Sciences Sports Centre, Blauwborgje 16, Groningen
  • Wednesday 20 September: Usain Bolt, speed and bravura. Usain Bolt is the fastest man in the world. He ran the 100 metres in a world record 9.58 seconds, 37.6 kilometres per hour. Three gold medals at three successive Olympic Games. What is the secret of Lightning Bolt? Speakers include: sprint coach Bart Bennema, former decathlete Chiel Warners, movement scientist Bert Otten, sports psychologist Nico van Yperen and sprinter Marit Dopheide. The moderator is athletic trainer and commentator Wycher van den Bremen. Where: University of Groningen Academy Building, Broerstraat 5, Groningen
  • Wednesday 27 September: Michael Jordan, superstar. Michael Jordan is considered to be the best basketball player ever. His legendary leaping power earned him the title ‘Air Jordan’ and ‘His Airness’. Speakers include: former international and Donar legend Hein Gerd Triemstra, top American player and sports scientist Drew Henderson, former top player Rianne de Roos, marketing expert Grietje Pasma and sport psychologist Nico van Yperen. The moderator is Janka Stoker, Professor of Leadership and basketball player. Where: University of Groningen Academy Building, Broerstraat 5, Groningen

Dragon boat race: the battle of the Faculties and Schools

Thursday 14 September, 4 p.m., on the lake outside Duisenberggebouw on Zernike Campus Teams of staff from the various faculties and schools of the University and Hanze University of Applied Sciences will row against each other in a battle for the highest honour.

Campus Trail

Friday 15 September at 2 p.m., University of Groningen and Hanze University of Applied Sciences Sports Centre, Blauwborgje 16, Groningen

A special four-mile run, not just on the roads and through the grounds but also right through the Zernike Campus buildings. For more information and tickets see:

50 Years Sports Centre
50 Years Sports Centre
Last modified:26 October 2021 1.18 p.m.
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