11 April 2023

Even in these digital times, going to the movies is still a very popular activity. Whether you’re going to see an action-packed blockbuster with friends, that new sequel that you’ve been dying to see for years, or a drooly romcom with your favourite person, seeing a film on the big screen is a fun break from your daily life. Regular cinemas only show a small selection of the films that are out there, however, there’s a lot more to explore. Luckily, Groningen has all kinds of places to see a movie, all of them with a different program.


I’ll start with the regular cinemas. Pathé is located in the heart of Groningen at Zuiderdiep. If you’re looking for sensation, this is the kind of cinema you want to go to. From an extensive snack area to 3D HFR experience, you can see the biggest blockbusters here with all the comforts you need. Occasionally the cinema offers some special screenings, such as opera, a live concert or a Hollywood classic. It also organizes some special actions such as the Dikke Duo Dagen, when students get a discount. Prizes for regular seats usually range from 12 to 14 euros. If you live in city center, Pathé’s location is ideal.


Like Pathé, Kinepolis is a regular cinema that simply screens the biggest movies at a given time. It feels a lot bigger, though, and there are more screening rooms and seats, giving a bit of an American feel to it. This spaciousness is also a reason it feels less crowded. Kinepolis is located at Euroborg, close to Europapark train station, so you’ll have to travel a bit longer from the city center. The cinema offers an overall very relaxed experience, so it’s worth it. Just as Pathé, prizes for regular tickets range from 12 to 14 euros.


The majestic Forum building at Nieuwe Markt offers a wide variety of activities, including a cinema. In Dutch often referred to as ‘filmhuis’, this is the kind of cinema that screens more independent and arthouse films, as well as old, more experimental classics from influential filmmakers such as Jean-Luc Godard or David Lynch. This is a good place to start expanding your knowledge or taste in films, or to stay updated on what’s happening today in the world of film. If you’re usual picks are big Hollywood blockbusters, be warned: a lot of these films expect a much longer attention span from their audience than you might be used to. They are often beautiful, surprising, or touching, however, in ways that mainstream, big-budget productions often lack. Regular tickets for students cost 9.50 euros.

Vera Zienema

Zienema organizes an independent film program within Vera, the famous music venue in Oosterstraat. Like Vera itself, it has been around for decades. Every Tuesday night there is a screening in the mainstage, with a wide variety of films such as arthouse, independent or documentary. What makes Zienema so special is the laid-back atmosphere and cheap tickets, which allows people who wouldn’t usually go to see an arthouse film to experience it and discuss it afterwards at the bar. In addition, Zienema often organizes specials such as Q&A’s with directors and even live music with films. Another good thing about Zienema: it’s fully run by volunteers, which allows for tickets to cost no more than five euros.

RKZ Bios

The RKZ Bios (from the Dutch word bioscoop meaning cinema) is located in the former Roman Catholic Hospital at Hereweg, also known as RKZ. It was founded in 1980 when the hospital was squatted and has remained there since. Needless to say, the location makes for a very unique experience. The place that is now a screening room even used to be a chapel, used as a place of prayer in the hospital. Times have changed, but the independent squatters feel of the place hasn’t left. It screens films ranging from recent arthouse/independent to old classics and documentaries. Like Zienema, RKZ Bios is relatively cheap due to the way it’s organized: as a student you can get a ticket for just five euros.


Finally, this list wouldn’t be complete without DOT. It’s the most special film experience you can have in Groningen, in the sense that it’s really different from any other theater. DOT is a giant sphere at Stadsstrand (or Vrydemalaan), which contains a ‘full-dome 3D theater’. The dome-shaped room is basically one big screen that surrounds you, creating a very realistic experience of the images projected. DOT screens films ranging from arthouse to Disney classics, but is especially known for its space-related projections called the live planetarium, when the stars and planets literally surround the audience. Every Tuesday night astronomers from the University of Groningen come and explain live, and sometimes live music is organized with these planetariums. Regular tickets cost 7.50 euros. DOT is one of only twenty dome theaters in the world.

So, whatever kind of film you choose to see, and whatever kind of cinema suits you best: Groningen has got you covered. Have fun!