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A visit to the Meet-o-theek in Forum Groningen

21 February 2023

On the sixth floor of Forum Groningen, in a corner of the Smartlab, you can find the very first ‘meet-o-theek’ – a library for measuring instruments – of the Netherlands. The collection currently comprises 67 tools, such as wildlife cameras, air quality monitors, smart plugs, telescopes and various microscopes. This way, devices that are too expensive to purchase for some, are available to anybody that would like to use them.

On Thursday 9 February Sebastiaan walks in to borrow a telescope. He is in luck: two brand-new models have just arrived! Sebastiaan plans to look at the planets and stars with his five-year-old son who is being taught about space at school. Together they would like to observe planets, such as Venus and Mars, or maybe the moon. Sebastiaan says that he will probably return when bats can be spotted in nature, to borrow a bat cam.

‘Oh, does it also measure temperature, humidity, etc.? Cool!’

After Sebastiaan, a young man is next. He would like to borrow a CO2 meter to measure the fluctuation of the CO2 level in his room when opening a window. Sil, a student assistant at the meet-o-theek, explains how to use the device and which values are shown on the screen. ‘Oh, does it also measure temperature, humidity, etc.? Cool!’, the young man replies enthusiastically. He says that he read about the meet-o-theek in the UKrant. Upon Sil’s recommendation, he also takes home an air particle meter to see what kind of influence opening a window has on the amount of small and larger particles of particulate matter in his room.

A telescope is displayed in the Smartlab | Photo Science LinX
A telescope is displayed in the Smartlab | Photo Science LinX

Taïs enters the Smartlab and walks in a straight line to the corner of the meet-o-theek. She has a whole list of devices she would like to borrow. She is going to perform an experiment with a friend, who suffers from hearing loss. Together, they would like to measure the level of ambient noise at several locations in the city. Unfortunately, there is a waiting list for the sound level meter.

Luckily, there are a few things on her list which she can take home immediately. Sil explains that the manuals are unfortunately still in Dutch. Not practical for Taïs, as she is from Argentina and speaks English here. However, she has already found a solution: she previously borrowed a telescope at the meet-o-theek and found an English manual for it online. She reads the user agreement – also in Dutch – using Google Lens. Taïs leaves the Smartlab satisfied, with a water hardness meter, a smart plug and the last telescope.


The meet-o-theek is part of the CurioUs? project, a collaboration between Science LinX, the Aletta Jacobs School of Public Health, and Forum Groningen. The goal of the project is to stimulate curious northerners to experiment with science and technology, so that they can take a look at their own environment and possibly improve it.

The catalogue is expanded with new instruments on a regular basis or extra instruments if there is high demand. For example, there is a current waiting list of 34 people who would all like to use one of the 10 different infrared cameras. These cameras are pretty popular this winter, as they can be used to check if hot air is leaking out of your house or if cold air is coming in anywhere. Despite the waiting list, most people go home with a device they’d like to use.


In June 2021, the lending of measuring instruments started as a pilot, with 13 instruments available. By now, the existence of the meet-o-theek has gained more publicity in Groningen and the surrounding area. From October onwards there has been an increased demand for the instruments. Already 174 times an instrument has been loaned. Most of the borrowers reside in the city of Groningen, but people in the surrounding areas also know where to find the meet-o-theek.

Walk-ins are regularly held on Saturdays. The measuring instruments are then displayed in the Smartlab, so that visitors of the Forum can take a look at the different devices and try them out. On Saturday 28 January, roughly 150 visitors walked in. Two young visitors experimented extensively with a Smartscope; an instrument that becomes a microscope when combined with a smartphone. Its lens makes even the smallest details become visible to the naked eye, e.g. leaf veins or your fingerprints.

Two young visitors observe a leaf using a Smartscope | Photo Science LinX
Two young visitors observe a leaf using a Smartscope | Photo Science LinX

More information

The meet-o-theek is open every week on Thursday evenings. More information about borrowing and reserving measuring instruments can be found on the Forum website. To be able to borrow something at the meet-o-theek, a Forum Card is needed which can be requested at the counter of the Forum for free. Ideas for new measuring instruments can be sent by email to

Text by Myrna Kooij

Last modified:21 February 2023 5.30 p.m.
View this page in: Nederlands

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