Practical and Dutch Support
It can be difficult to find a room in Groningen. Here are some tips that might help you find one! First: there are some handy websites that can help you in your search, for example Kamernet. Kamernet is a website where hundreds of new rooms, studios and apartments are placed on, on a weekly basis. If you want to arrange a viewing or want to be invited to a “hospiteeravond” you will need to get in touch with the landlords or roommates by responding to the advertisement. You need a Premium Account to be able to respond. Second, Facebook has some pages where people post when they are looking for a new roommate. For example the -kamer in groningen- Facebook page. Last tip, ask around! Ask your fellow students, friends or other people you know that live in the city if they know if there is a room available for you.
In Groningen the best way to get around is on a bike. Perhaps you have an old bike at home that you can use in the city or you might want to buy one. It is not recommended to buy a brand new bike, since they often get stolen. There are many shops in Groningen that sell second hand bikes. It is also possible to get yourself a Swapfiets. For a fixed price a month you get a Swapfiets bicycle and they ensure your Swapfiets bicycle always works. Positive about this is that you won’t have to worry about fixing your bike in case it breaks down. However, overall it could be more expensive compared to a secondhand bike.
With flue season coming up fast, it may be that you end up needing a doctor to look you over to cure you for your ailments. Doctors are available throughout the city, some are exclusively for Dutch patients, but there are a number of international doctors you can register with. Google is the best place to search for GP’s (General Practitioners) surgeries (Huisarts in Dutch) but note that some may turn you down if you live too far away. One option available to all students, regardless of distance, is Studentarts, which provides care in English at 2 locations in Groningen (at Zernike and the UMCG). You can register with them on their website: https://www.studentarts.nl/en/
(Note: you need to have insurance).
If you’re moving to Groningen from abroad, it’s advisable to get a Dutch bank account. A lot of services can only be paid with a bank account in NL, especially when it concerns monthly automatic withdrawals. Next to that, paying with debit card is very normal here!
Even the smallest amounts can be paid by card. Some cards won’t work however, and a Dutch one will make life easier for you. Most banks will offer cheaper services for students, so keep an eye out for that.