Bored and Broke in Groningen? (Part 2)
There will be times when you’ve fully acclimatized yourself in the city, where you know your way around your neighbourhood and the city centre and know all the important hallmarks of student life and nightlife but you still happen across moments of boredom. It can be a day or a period of in-between days where you’re waiting for that specific event on that specific day, or you just don’t feel like staying at home but don’t feel like spending a lot of energy going out either. What can I do here that involves spending nothing but still provides me with an experience? Well hopefully, if you have a bike or other cheap transport, here are some of my favourite free things to do in Groningen (Part 2).
Go to the Gym!
Naturally, this is considered a free activity if you have a gym membership. There are a number of gyms to choose from in the city, and there are definitely some student favourites aside from the main fitness gym at ACLO. Choosing your gym mainly depends on the location of your accommodation. ACLO is recommended if you live more north but even if you’re in the city centre it’s only a 20-minute bike ride up to Zernike. However, in the city centre, the gyms are TrainMore (Munnekeholm) and BasicFit (Westerhaven). Outside of the RING, you have BigGym, BasicFit again, and Sportcentrum Balili which are in relatively close proximity if you live near Vinkhuizen or in the northeastern parts of Groningen. A student favourite is TrainMore, because in their contract the more often you use the gym the less you have to pay. After enough visits, it does become free…
Of course, if you’re bored, need to be alone but away from the routine setting of your room, there are a myriad of other places to look to, right in the city centre!
Stadspark. If you like parks but the Noorderplantsoen has gotten redundant from too many visits or there is no space due to a festival that’s set up there, head down south of the city to the Stadspark where there is a much bigger space to get lost, many little paths that go off the beaten track, and even small bodies of water to gaze at that bring you back into feelings of calm. I once was so overwhelmed by my studies that after class I took my bike to the Stadspark, parked next to a large pond, sat against a tree and fell asleep. It does wonders, I guarantee you.
There are also other smaller parks scattered amongst the city outside of the RING that contains large ponds, peaceful ducks and abrasive geese– just like any average park. E.g. Oosterpark, Pionenpark, Paddepoelpark, Park Selwerd, just to name a few.
If you need a place to work and study quietly but again, away from home, I recommend the RUG library in the city centre for its spacious rooms and comfy corner booths, as well as the fact it’s open until midnight on weekdays. The Groninger Forum libraries are also quiet spaces, though it’s open until 5-6pm. Coffee Company is a bustling but easy place to work. Plus, there’s coffee. The large bookstore, Boekhandel Van der Velde in the Grote Markt has a second floor where there are tables you can work and comfy armchairs to read in. It is practically a Bibliophiles’ heaven.
Museum Visit for that Cultural Immersion
As always, the Groninger art museum is free entry for all students studying in Groningen. It hosts some of the most provocative exhibitions in the contemporary art world. Which, personally, always surprises me with every visit because I wonder how could anyone persuade global artists to exhibit in one of the most artistically and geographically isolated cities in Europe? Nevertheless, earlier this year, the Groninger Museum opened an exhibition of works by the renowned David LaChapelle, an American photographer who has incorporated the flashy side of popular culture by photographing some of the biggest names in media. Namely, the Kardashians, Miley Cyrus, and David Bowie. This exhibition continues to run until October 28th, so take your visit soon! You can find out more about the museum’s current and upcoming exhibitions on their website: http://www.groningermuseum.nl/en/exhibitions