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Working in the city

The city of Groningen blends the serene Northern life of the Netherlands with a bustling cultural calendar and offers a mix of exciting job opportunities in multiple sectors without the hassle of endless commuting.

Groningen bovenaanzicht Forum martinitoren

Work-life balance

This is why people looking for the right balance between living life and working feel right at home in Groningen. It’s all rather compact, which means that even if you have to cross the whole town to get to work, you won’t find yourself cycling more than 30 minutes.

Life in Groningen is less stressful than that in the bigger European cities. However, this is no ghost town. There’s always some sort of event going on that’s likely to tickle your fancy. The nightlife is very vibrant and has the unique feature of no fixed closing time. During the day, one can explore the shopping streets or visit one of the various markets.

Jobs on offer

Groningen provides an excellent balance in terms of the types of jobs on offer. It’s a city that’s student-centred. Many of them combine their studies with some hours of work on the side. So if you’re thinking of doing a part-time job, perhaps delivering groceries or waiting tables, this is very much possible. Jobs in hospitality for English speakers are plentiful at the moment!

Long-term employment opportunities can also be found at one of the local companies. In fact, around half the student population at the University of Groningen and the Hanze University of Applied Sciences want to remain in Groningen after their graduation. And depending on the sector you’re going for, you might be able to start working with little to no knowledge of Dutch.

“Even though it’s a relatively small city there are quite a lot of companies and a lot of startups. It’s an international city with many international employees,” said one software engineer.

Groningen also reaps the benefits of the triple helix partnerships between the universities, government, and private companies of the city. It drives innovation and the close networks that are created can be leveraged to advance your career and are particularly helpful for startups. You can also find yourself working for one of the major players, be it in academia or perhaps in research at the UMCG.

For a recent line-up, check out this marvelous list of international-friendly companies that hire English speakers.

Living sustainably

Building a life that is sustainable from multiple perspectives is possible in this city. Over 60% of journeys are made via bicycle in Groningen. Many workers spend their lunch breaks outside and go for a quick walk around the park or take a stroll along the canals. When the sun is shining, the packed terraces of the many bars and restaurants are a common sight. Even when the days are wetter and colder, you’re sure to find a café serving piping hot teas and coffees indoors.

You’ll also have the safety net of other job opportunities in the vicinity of the region. A number of Groningen residents commute to other regional capitals. Leeuwarden, the capital of Friesland, is a 40-minute train ride from Groningen, and Assen, the capital of Drenthe, is just 20 minutes away by train.


You won’t be left to fend for yourself if living and working in Groningen sounds like the right move for you. The English-language job platform, Make it in the North, is here to help you find and transition into one of these jobs. The project brings internationals and Northern Dutch companies in touch with each other.

In Groningen, you’ll also have access to the International Welcome Center North (IWCN) which is a one-stop shop for international people living in Groningen, Friesland and Drenthe. It offer services in government formalities, information, and events.

If you’re ready to take the next step, Groningen is a city filled with energy and opportunities waiting to be explored!

By Christoph Schwaiger for Make it in the North