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University Medical Center Groningen

Health Issues

First aid

In case of an emergency, stay calm, call the National Emergency Phone Number:


mention clearly that you either need police, ambulance or fire-brigade , your location and your name. You can call this number in case of medical emergency, accidents, fire and burglary. Do not call this number unless the situation is urgent! For less critical situations, you can reach the police at:

0900 8844

In case of accidents or emergencies, any hospital will provide first aid. Look for the entrance marked EHBO or Spoedeisende hulp (SEH).


Groningen has two hospitals:

University Medical Center Groningen (UMCG)

Hanzeplein 1, P.O. Box 30001, 9700 RB Groningen, Tel. (050) 361 6161

Martini Hospital

Van Swietenlaan 4, P.O. BOX 30033, 9728 NT Groningen, Tel. (050) 524 5245

Pharmacies and chemists

Medicine can be obtained from a pharmacy (apotheek) or chemist / drugstore (drogist). Well known drugstores are: Kruidvat, Trekpleister, Etos and DA. There is a big difference in the Netherlands between the two options mentioned above. Doctors’ prescriptions for medicine can only be handed in at the pharmacy. Each area of the city has at least one pharmacy.

The opening hours of pharmacies are: Monday-Friday 8.30 a.m. – 6.00 p.m. At night, during the weekend and on public holidays most pharmacies are closed, but there will be a notice on the door or window stating the address of the pharmacy on duty. The chemist / drugstore sells lighter drugs, without prescription, for common complaints such as headaches, toothaches, and diarrhoea. They also sell toiletries. The opening hours of pharmacies, chemists and shops are the same, usually 9.00 a.m. - 6.00 p.m.

Alcohol & Drugs

To many foreigners the Netherlands have the reputation of being tolerant, where much is allowed and little is forbidden. This is only partly true. Nevertheless, we would like to issue a warning.

The use and possession of drugs (including soft drugs like hash and marijuana) is illegal. The possession or use of small amounts of soft drugs is ‘allowed’ in private surroundings. In the Netherlands this is called the ‘gedoogbeleid’, which means as much as: It is illegal, but you don’t get prosecuted for it. Dealing of soft-drugs is absolutely prohibited. Users are allowed to possess soft-drugs until a maximum of 5g. Sending drugs to an address in your country of origin means considerable risks for both the sender and the recipient. The use of and dealing is punishable by law.

Groningen is renowned for its conviviality and this is proved by the number of cafes. Some cafes have happy hours, stated hours in which selected beverages are cheaper. Experience has shown that mainly students take advantage of the price reduction and tend to consume rather a lot in that one hour. Take into account that excessive alcoholic consumption within a short time is very bad for your health (and for your surroundings). It is important to know that you have to be 18 years or older to buy alcoholic drinks. It is not allowed to buy alcoholic drinks and pass them on to persons under the age of 18.

In the Netherlands you are not allowed to drink alcohol in public area's such as on the streets or in public transport.

Last modified:17 January 2020 2.32 p.m.