Coming to Groningen means that you’re still able to actively profess your religion. This may be a comforting thought, since international students do not only leave their hometown behind, but sometimes also their religious community. Luckily, Groningen has a diverse religious community both within and outside student society.
To start within student society, did you know that there are several religious student associations in Groningen? The largest association of this group is Albertus Magnus, traditionally a catholic association, but these days a non-practicing student association, open to everyone. If you’re looking for an explicit religious association which is still characterised as a typical student association, you might find the Navigators Student Association Groningen more attractive; they are open to Christians of all denominations. This means having everything you’ll find on a student’s agenda: an introduction period, parties, the possibility to join several committees and in addition a regular spiritual night. Though recently opened to all denominations, the association GSV is traditionally the student association for Reformed Christians, together with Ad Tempus Vitae, of which the latter is specifically for students attending the Hanze UAS. If you’re less into the student part of such associations and more into the religious experience, then there’s Ichtus Groningen, an open Christian student association where activities are all related to professing the Christian faith. If you’re not interested in joining an association, but do want to practice your religion, then there’s of course also the possibility to attend church, since there are many Christian communities in Groningen there’s bound to be one in your neighbourhood.
Looking at these religious student associations you might have noticed that the Christian faith is traditionally strongly rooted in the Netherlands, but it has by no means a monopoly on religious life. The Netherlands have historically been a country where many religions may be practised and there has been a large Jewish presence since the 16th century. The synagogue is right in the middle of the centre. Even if you’re not of the Jewish faith it is certainly interesting to take a tour of the synagogue while you’re in Groningen.
In 1983 the Islamic Centre Groningen was founded. One the characteristics of the Islamic community in Groningen are the many nationalities attending the mosque. More than 30 different ones can be found among their members. If you’re an Islamic student coming to Groningen, they will welcome you with open arms.