The Mindwise Survival Guide to Studying Psychology – Part 2
Moving to Groningen to study Psychology is an exciting time, but it can also be confusing. We’ve made it easier for you by asking students who have lived in Groningen for a while to share their top tips for learning the city, adjusting to studying at University, and navigating the Department, continuing today with our advice on the best places to get coffee, bread, lunch and the best places to hang out at night.
What do you think? Is there something we’ve missed or neglected? Share your own advice in the comments section below!
Lots of diversity here but also some very clear messages. Most students recommended Black & Bloom on Oude Kijk in ‘t Jatstraat for the “great coffee and unique owner”. According to Yavor, “the owner discourages the use of laptops or smartphones on the premises, so perhaps that would be a lovely place to read your books or chat people up!” Nikolai says ”Black & Bloom is definitely special when it comes to coffee and they also make an excellent hot chocolate”.
Thore suggests Linus Tornqvist, when he’s in town (excellent flat white! – ed.) and Sandy gave us the best advice for Sunday morning coffee and bunch: the Concerthuis. Mr Mofongo, next to the Academy building, was praised for its cappuccino by Anne-Sophie, Tim, and Lena: “Mr Mofongo serves good cappuccino with a small piece of incredibly sticky brownie”. Thole likes the News Café, as does Hilka who is not a coffee drinker but says “you get nice tea at the news café”. Johannes hangs out at Coffee United: “it’s a rather small but very cozy place. You can sit in the lounge and enjoy your coffee while watching all the interesting people of Groningen passing by”. Xenia likes Doppio for the “great cakes”.
The coffee facilities around the University were also mentioned. According to Anja: “You will learn that many students in Groningen hate the Starbucks in the UB and they should! After all that gives us the opportunity to buy huge cups of cheap coffee there without waiting in line” (and recommends Bagels and Beans for something “a little more eccentric than cheap filter coffee”. Tim’s approach was similar: “Maybe you’d be better off if I told you which coffee to avoid. These include Starbuck’s coffee, McDonald’s coffee and any old coffee from a vending machine. Though, this isn’t news to anyone. On the contrary, we have great coffee at the canteen at the faculty” and Lukas agrees that the miCafé at the faculty makes the best coffee around. Boris says that “the faculty of religious studies offers great strong coffee (brewed by a person) in its canteen. It costs 40 cents, which you can just drop in a plate next to the jug.” Laura prefers the UMCG “because [the coffee] is free”. And, if you prefer making coffee at home, Martin buys his coffee beans (and tea) at Simon Levelt.
Maybe the best advice came from Hannes: “Anywhere if you are with good friends.”
Best Place for Lunch
Nikolai likes “Bagels & Beans for food and Flinders in the Norderplantsoen the for the atmosphere. There are also quite a lot of nice places around the Academy building and Harmonie complex which are worth checking out like for example De Soepwinkel which serves delicious soups perfect for a rainy winterday.” Katharina, Marcel, and Charlotte agree!
Hilka suggested Pernikkel and, for the budget-minded, Laura offered LaPlace and Xenia Hema (“always at the end of the month definitely pasta bolognese for €2.50”). One Tim suggested the Pastafabriek and another Mr Mofongo (“Order the ‘Macho Nachos!’ Huge plate of Nachos one can share with up to 3 persons for only €7”).
Lena has a different approach: “I usually make my own lunch or buy a ready-made salade at the supermarket and eat somewhere outside (as long as it doesn’t rain), for example in the Noorderplantsoen or the faculty’s garden” and many others agreed. Boris says: “On a warm day, the GMW garden can be a great place to share lunch with friends”. Lukas brings his own lunch and eats it with others at the Faculty cafeteria and Laura suggests you “bring your own food and eat it in the park (there is a microwave in the faculty!)”
Sandy and Hannes recommend the “the garden of the Academy Building. The restaurant in the basement sells good food”.
But for Flo, ”It’s not where you are, its whom you with!”
Good bread appears elusive for many, but there was good agreement that the bakeries on the market (every Tuesday, Friday, and Saturday on the Vismarkt) is well liked (“There’s one market stall with a good variety of bread (they even offer German bread)”). Ekoplaza was also praised by Thole and Nikolai (“I recently found out that Ekoplaza sells full grain bread which I found to be pretty tasty”). Martin and Katharina both like the Stadsbakkerij Meijer, and Sandy reminds us there are “some new bakeries opened close to the fish market and they look nice” (they are indeed excellent, both Broodje van Eigen Deeg and Bakkerij Blanche – ed.) The Bakkerscafé is also pretty good.
This one was easy, as almost everyone we asked suggested the Uurwerker, behind the Harmonie building. Boris said that “The Uurwerker offers a nice atmosphere where you can enjoy a (not extremely expensive) pizza, baked with wood in a dome oven” and Nikolai agreed that it “makes really decent Pizza that is affordable. Going there will also provide you with the opportunity to try a Belgian speciaal bier at de Pintelier afterwards, as it is located right across the street”.
A couple of people also suggested Napoli and Pizzeria Italia “much more cozy than you would expect from the outside”, “cheap and really big pizzas!“
Thore and Katharina suggested you make your own at home, buying the dough at the Stadsbakkerij Meijer.
“There is a place called Zolder, hidden at Papengang (the small alleyway next to Vera, opposite of Warhol) which has reggae jam sessions every Tuesday and blues jam sessions every Thursday. It is usually enjoyable to listen to, and joining in is absolutely acceptable, so if you have musical aspirations (and preferably skills) that could be the place to unleash your groovy potential” says Yavor (and quite a few others agree). He continues “the aforementioned club Vera sometimes has amazing performances of bands from all around the world” (for example – ed.)
Lena, Martin, and many others recommended the Spieghel, but I know it just closed its doors after many years, so you’ll have to find another jazz café (Anja: “My favourite Jazz café just closed so I dare you to enjoy your first weeks in Groningen enough to let me know the answer to that question by the end of the semester!”)
Other mentions were the Oosterport, of course (Lena: “some concerts at De Oosterport are quite cheap for students, and every first Monday of the month they have a special sirene sale (online) for one event”), the Concerthuis, Simplon, and Paradigm (“does techno count as live music?”). Also, check out the Open Door Sessions.
The cocktails at Mr Mofongo were praised by many. “Hands down Mr. Mofongo, at least if you like good cocktails. For the full experience take a seat right at the bar upstairs and ask the bartender for a personal recommendation. Then you can watch the giant robot arm getting the different spirits needed for your cocktail” says Nikolai. Johannes also recommends the Dog’s Bollocks, which is just across the street from Mofongo.
Lena says “Opium has great cocktails and I enjoy sitting at the canal in the evening, for beer I like de Pintelier or de Toeter”. Boris agrees that “de Pintelier offers a stunning selection of special beers. Highly recommended for any connoisseur”, but Katharina suggests “Speciaalbier Cafe de Koffer – great place to have a beer with friends (extensive beer menu!!!), way less crowded than the Pintelier”.
Hilka and Laura hang out at the Concerthuis, Sandy likes de Boom, Tim Café Time Out, Niklas and Xenia Chupitos and Charlotte the drie gezusters. Finally, Martin suggests Wolthoorn, for the best service in town.