2017 has only just begun and with a new year come new year’s resolutions. Many people write down “travel more” when they think about what they want to achieve in the upcoming year, but not everyone has the budget to travel across the globe. For us students, it’s usually a matter of clever planning, a lot of saving money and a good internet deal here and there which allows us to travel outside of our university town. But you don’t have to go far to really “travel” and especially when you’re on a tight budget, it’s perfect to do some exploring in your own country (or own city, even!). For our 2 year anniversary, Boyfriend and I explored the collegiate town of Groningen, a great city to relax, browse and shop.
// The Student Hotel
Boterdiep 9, Groningen
Coincidence? I think not. Us being (poor) students immediately drew us to The Student Hotel, a brand-new facility just North of the city centre of Groningen. The hotel is part of a chain of student hotels, which offers both rooms for exchange students, traveling students and those who want to get in touch with their inner students during their stay here. It’s colorfully decorated, brand-new and the staff super-friendly. The Student Hotel is perhaps a little bit more expensive than your average student hostel, but it’s incredibly comfortable, welcoming and fun to stay here – definitely worth your time, your sleep and your money.
// Van der Velde Bookstore
Grote Markt 54-55, Groningen
We love books – worship them – and Groningen has a lot of great bookstores to offer. The Van Der Velde Bookstore is situated right in the centre of town, tucked away between the two main squares of Groningen, and has two floors absolutely packed with books. On the ground floor, you can find a great selection of English novels, notebooks and stationary, and an absolute ton of literature. When you climb the (slightly scary) staircases, you find the second floor is full of books about art, science, history and design, and even a little corner where you can sit down with a nice book and drink a cup of coffee.
Gedempte Zuiderdiep 85, Groningen
Besides books, we both also really love food – worship it. There have been countless times when I thought: “If only there was such a thing as a restaurant where you can only need desserts”. Welcome to TOET (Dutch for dessert), a little café smelling so heavenly you have no other choice but to sit down and eat one (or two) of their home-made desserts. If you have a sweet tooth, you’re at the right address at TOET, as there’s an entire list of cakes, pies and desserts to choose from. For the real die-hards there’s a high tea available. Not a big fan of sweet? For those with a love for more savory snacks, TOET offers some great quiche as well.
Folklingestraat 17, Groningen
Groningen is the home of one of the biggest and oldest universities of the Netherlands. It’s a truth universally acknowledged, that wherever students are, hipsters will follow. Groningen is full of hipster shops and cafés, with concept store FOLK being a really great one. It’s a narrow, small store full of one-of-a-kind stationary, striped shirts, poetic postcards and interior accessories.
// Bagels & Beans
Zwanestraat 30, Groningen
Being a student in Zeeland, this means having to live without a Bagels & Beans in the near vicinity. So whenever a Bagels & Beans crosses my path, I simply have to score myself a bagel. Bagels & Beans is, of course, great for lunch, healthy granola smoothie and a giant piece of cheesecake, but I would recommend it to go for breakfast.
// Groninger Museum
Museumeiland 1, Groningen
When you’re ready for a little shopping (or eating…) break, the Groninger Museum is definitely worth a visit. The museum has different exhibitions every once in a while, such as the David Bowie exhibition a couple of months ago, and the current exposition is all about Auguste Rodin. The sculptor is perhaps best known for his grand, bronze statues like “The Thinker” and in the Groninger Museum, you can see many of his sculptures, sketches and photographs. Little side note: if you’re a student, make sure to bring your student card or identification, as you get a considerable discount on your entrance ticket!
// Little Lovely Living
Herenstraat 17, Groningen
From walking around and looking at sculptures one can get quite an appetite. If you love hot chocolate, cake and macaroons, be sure to visit Little Lovely Living, situated in one of the major shopping streets of Groningen. Tucked away between high street stores, you can enjoy what might just be the best hot chocolate I’ve ever had. Your drink comes in the tallest glass possible, topped with a mountain of whipped cream, glitter, chocolate, caramel, marshmallows and even a hint of fireworks. While you’re enjoying all that glorious sweetness, browse around the shop full of lamps, light boxes, posters, stationary and interior items.
And those were some tips and recommendations for a little trip to Groningen. This is just a selection of everything this great university town has to offer, so if you’re looking for a little get-away, just take the train up North and you won’t be sorry.