The Netherlands has historically been a country where many religions met. Nowadays, Groningen is one of the most international cities in Europe that also hosts all types of religious associations. 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.
Catholic and Protestant Churches
The Netherlands is a mainly Christian country that is split between Catholicism and Protestantism. The South of the Netherlands is predominantly following Roman Catholicism, meanwhile, the North of the Netherlands is mainly following Protestantism (Calvinist). Most of the churches in Groningen are protestant. The Catholic religious places in Groningen are Sint Franciscuskerk, Sint Jozefkathedraal, and Oud-Katholieke parochial van de H. Martinus.
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 characterized 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 neighborhood.
In Groningen, there has been a large Jewish presence since the 16th century. The synagogue is right in the middle of the center. 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.
Christian Orthodox Church
Since 1968, there is an Orthodox Russian Church (http://orthodoxekerkgroningen.nl/pages/home.php?lang=EN ) in Groningen located at Ganzevoortsingel 2, 9711 AL Groningen. You can follow join the Orthodox Facebook group at https://www.facebook.com/orthodoxchurchgroningen/. The Orthodox Church is for everyone who is a follower of the orthodox believers who are Russians, Bulgarian, Romanian, Greeks, Serbians and many more. The biggest celebrations as Christmas and Easter, there are always many people that celebrate it together.
If you are following the Buddhism religion, in Groningen there are 3 Buddhist centers. You can join the Diamondway Buddhism Center https://www.diamondway-buddhism.org/ where you will easy access to authentic Buddhist teachings and meditations for use in contemporary life. The other meditation center is called Vipassana Meditatiecentrum Groningen ( https://www.vipassana-groningen.nl/ ). This center is also used by Hindu believers since there is no Hindu temple in Groningen. The last Buddhist center is called Rigpa Buddhist Center http://www.rigpa.org/.