University of Groningen (UG)
Rijksuniversiteit Groningen (RUG)
Latin: Academia Groningana
MottoVerbum Domini Lucerna Pedibus Nostris (Latin)
Motto in English
The word of the Lord is a light for our feet
TypePublic research university
Established1614; 407 years ago (1614)
PresidentJouke de Vries[1]
RectorCisca Wijmenga[2]
Academic staff
3,600 employees (in 2020)[3]
Administrative staff
6,250 employees (27 May 2021)[3]
Students34,000 (in 2020)[3]
4,350 (in 2020)[3]
53°13′9″N 6°33′46″E / 53.21917°N 6.56278°E / 53.21917; 6.56278Coordinates: 53°13′9″N 6°33′46″E / 53.21917°N 6.56278°E / 53.21917; 6.56278
UG Red, Black & White[4]
AffiliationsCoimbra Group
Guild of European Research-Intensive Universities

The University of Groningen (abbreviated as UG;[5] Dutch: Rijksuniversiteit Groningen, abbreviated as RUG) is a public research university in the city of Groningen in the Netherlands. Founded in 1614, the university is one of the most traditional and prestigious in the Netherlands. The institution has been consistently placed among the top 100 universities worldwide and top 50 in Europe, according to leading ranking tables.[6][7][8][9]

The University of Groningen has eleven faculties, nine graduate schools, 27 research centres and institutes, and more than 175-degree programmes. The university's alumni and faculty include Johann Bernoulli, Aletta Jacobs, four Nobel Prize winners, nine Spinoza Prize winners, one Stevin Prize winner, royalty, multiple mayors, the first president of the European Central Bank, and a secretary general of NATO.[10][11][12]


Ubbo Emmius was the first rector magnificus of the University of Groningen
Ubbo Emmius was the first rector magnificus of the University of Groningen

The institution was founded as a college in 1614 in an initiative taken by the Regional Assembly of the city of Groningen and the Ommelanden, or surrounding region. There were four faculties – Theology, Law, Medicine, and Philosophy.[13][14][15]

The coat of arms of the university was confirmed by The Estates of the City and County of Groningen in 1615. It consists of the provincial arms, charged with an open book inscribed with the abbreviated words VER/BVM/DNI LV/CER/NA, short for Verbum Domini Lucerna Pedibus Nostris. The shield is surmounted by a golden crown of five leaves and four pearls.

In the first 75 years of its existence about 100 students enrolled every year.[citation needed] Almost half of the students and lecturers came from outside the Netherlands – the first rector magnificus, Ubbo Emmius, came from East Frisia in modern-day Germany, for instance – but at the same time there was already a close relationship between the University and the city and the surrounding region.[citation needed]

The development of the University came to a standstill at the end of the seventeenth and during the eighteenth century because of theological differences of opinion, a difficult relationship with the Regional Assembly and political problems that included the siege of the city by Bommen Berend in 1672.[citation needed] On average two to three hundred students were registered with the University at any one time during this period.

The 19th-century main building in 1858
The 19th-century main building in 1858

During the French occupation between 1775 and 1814 the University of Groningen was administrated by the Imperial University of Paris. Unlike Leiden University, it was not shut down and the institute was renamed Imperial University of Groningen (Keizerlijke Universiteit Groningen). During this time period, it remained the only open university in the Kingdom of Holland.[16] In 1815 after the Napoleonic Wars, at the same time as Leiden and Utrecht, the university gained recognition as a national college of higher education, but this was followed by discussions about closure. The situation improved when a new main university building, the Academiegebouw, was constructed in 1850, a building that was largely financed by the people of Groningen. A fire completely destroyed the building in 1906.

In the meantime, the Higher Education Act of 1876 had radically improved the position of the university, which was renamed the "Rijksuniversiteit Groningen" (RUG). Teaching took place in Dutch and Latin and the university was given a research as well as an educational duty.

The 20th-century main building in 2009
The 20th-century main building in 2009

The University of Groningen developed during the first decades of the twentieth century. The number of faculties and courses grew steadily while the number of students grew rapidly. When the university celebrated its first 300 years in 1914 there were 611 registered students; this had grown to 1,000 by 1924. After a drop back during the Depression, and in particular during the Second World War, the number of students grew rapidly from 1945 to reach 20,000 in 1994. In recent times there are about 32,700 students registered at the University of Groningen with the number of foreign students again growing steadily, and following the tradition set by the first Rector Magnificus, the number of German students and researchers has grown strongly in recent years.

In March 2015, the RUG signed an agreement with the China Agricultural University to establish a campus in the Chinese city of Yantai. This would have made the RUG the first Dutch university to open a campus in China.[17] The plan was heavily criticised, mainly due to worries about the restriction of academic freedom caused by censorship in China.[18] In January 2018, the plans were cancelled by the Executive Board of the UG, based on the "insufficient support for the project".[19]

Facts and figures

University rankings
Global – Overall
ARWU World[7]69 (2020)
CWUR World[20]103 (2021-22)
CWTS World[21]149 (2021)
QS World[22]=128 (2022)
THE World[6]=80 (2021)
USNWR Global[8]=92 (2021)

Key facts and figures about the University of Groningen are:[3]

Students numbers
Students numbers

The university operates under the BSA system, under which a first year undergraduate (bachelor) student must achieve a certain number of ECTS in order to progress to the second year. This varies from 30 ECTS to 45 ECTS among various degrees.[24]

The University of Groningen is a member of the so-called Excellence Group of universities in Europe. The Excellence Group has 56 members, which is 1.3 percent of the approximately 4,500 European institutions of higher education.[25]

The university's Center for Information Technology (CIT) houses an IBM Blue Gene/L supercomputer and data center of Target used by the LOFAR project as well as a Virtual Reality and 3D-visualisation center.[38]


Academy Building of the University of Groningen in 2019
Academy Building of the University of Groningen in 2019
Duisenberg building (Faculty of Economics and Business)
Duisenberg building (Faculty of Economics and Business)
Harmonie building of the Faculty of Arts and Law
Harmonie building of the Faculty of Arts and Law
Faculty of Medical Sciences
Faculty of Medical Sciences
Linnaeusborg (Faculty of Science and Engineering)
Linnaeusborg (Faculty of Science and Engineering)
Bernoulliborg (Faculty of Science and Engineering)
Bernoulliborg (Faculty of Science and Engineering)
Faculty of Science and Engineering
Faculty of Science and Engineering
Smitsborg (Donald Smits Centre of Information Technology, CIT)
Smitsborg (Donald Smits Centre of Information Technology, CIT)
Kapteynborg (Astronomy)
Kapteynborg (Astronomy)
KVI-CART Research institute
KVI-CART Research institute

The University of Groningen is organized in eleven faculties that offer programmes and courses in the fields of humanities, social sciences, law, economics and business, spatial sciences, life sciences, and natural sciences and technology. Each faculty (cf., College in the USA or School in Europe) is a formal grouping of academic degree programmes, schools and institutes, discipline areas, research centres, and/or any combination of these drawn together for educational purposes. Each faculty offers Bachelor's, Master's, PhD, and Exchange programmes, while some also offer short certificate courses.

Since 2014, the RUG also has a partly independent liberal arts college, University College Groningen (UCG).[39][40]


The various faculties are housed around the city. Most of the faculties- including the faculties of Law, Arts and Philosophy are located in and around the city center. The university's original building, which acts as the main administrative building, lies exactly in the center of the city at the Broerstraat. The faculty of medical sciences is located close by at the University Medical Center Groningen(UMCG). The Faculties of Economics and Business, Spatial Sciences, and Science and Engineering are housed in the northern outskirts of the city, at the Zernike Campus, named after Nobel Prize winner Frits Zernike. The Zernike campus is also shared by the Hanze University of Applied Sciences, the other big university in the city, making the total number of students studying there around 40,000.[41]

The university has libraries in three locations: the main one at the city center, one in the Duisenberg building in Zernike Campus, and one in the faculty of medicine, that includes a vast array of books and online material for students. The library at the city center also has a Starbucks on its premises. The university has also recently opened another campus in Leeuwarden, Friesland, referred to as "Campus Fryslân", that offers multiple disciplines in both undergraduate and postgraduate levels.[42]

Student life

The city of Groningen is known as the student city of the Netherlands; around one-third of the city's residents are students at either The University of Groningen or at the Hanze University of Applied Sciences. The university, through ACLO,[43] offers a wide range of sporting activities, and courses. Almost each sport has its own association, and offers the use of its facilities at discount rates for students.[44]

The university also has multiple student societies that organize social events for its members, as well as student and study associations, that are mostly concerned with specific faculties and courses.

The use of bicycles as the means for transport is particularly prevalent for locals and students alike, and has integrated, labelled bike paths from the city center to Zernike. The city is popularly referred to as "The World Cycling City" because of this.[45]

Student housing

The University of Groningen does not have student accommodation. It does, however, offer students with accommodation via SSH Student Housing, which operates student houses in various locations in Groningen, and various other cities within the Netherlands.[46] A significant number of students live in private accommodations within the city, however. A recent addition to the housing options for students is The Student Hotel as well. The Dutch government has strict laws for private accommodations for both tenants (students) and the landlords, so that fair rent prices, and renting conditions can be maintained.[47]

In 2018, the university received national attention due to the housing crisis in the city of Groningen. Due to the fact that most incoming students at the university are primarily from other parts of the country, or the world, there has been a lack of housing options for students.[48]


Research schools, centres and institutes

Humanities and Social Sciences


Economics & Business

Life Sciences

Science and Engineering[56]

Graduate schools

The University of Groningen's Graduate Schools are organized somewhat different from its international counterparts.[57] The main difference is that the Graduate Schools do not contain all Master's programmes; Graduate Schools manage and facilitate the two-year Master's programmes: top master's degree programmes and Research master's degree programmes.

Notable alumni

Notable alumni of the University of Groningen include:[58]

Notable researchers

See also


  1. ^ "[1]" (Press release University of Groningen)
  2. ^ "[2]" (Press release University of Groningen)
  3. ^ a b c d e "Key figures". 14 July 2004. Retrieved 13 June 2021.
  4. ^ "Principal colour". University of Groningen. Retrieved 24 August 2018.
  5. '^ "Rug wordt 'joedzjie". Universiteitskrant. Archived from the original on 27 April 2016. Retrieved 19 April 2016.
  6. ^ a b "World University Rankings 2021". Times Higher Education (THE). Retrieved 17 October 2020.
  7. ^ a b "Academic Ranking of World Universities 2020". Shanghai Ranking Consultancy. Retrieved 13 June 2021.
  8. ^ a b "Best Global Universities Rankings (2021)". U.S. News Education. Retrieved 20 December 2020.
  9. ^ "University of Groningen | Academic Ranking of World Universities - 2019 | Shanghai Ranking - 2019". Retrieved 3 June 2018.
  10. ^ "Prominent Professors | History | University Museum | Public outreach | Society/Business | University of Groningen". Retrieved 5 June 2018.
  11. ^ "Awards and medals | Facts and figures | Our position | About us | University of Groningen". 13 June 2006. Retrieved 9 June 2018.
  12. ^ "Spinoza Prize winners 1996-2020 | NWO Spinoza Prize | Top researchers | Leading research | Research | University of Groningen". Retrieved 11 June 2018.
  13. ^ "Groningen, University of". 22 March 2011.
  14. ^ "University of Groningen: Facts & Figures".
  15. ^ "Article in U.S. News & World Report; accessed on 11 July 2017".
  16. ^ De Keizerlijke Universiteit | Rug 400
  17. ^ "RUG: Yantai van de baan". Thereza Langeler, Rob Siebelink. 31 January 2018. Retrieved 28 November 2018.
  18. ^ "De China-plannen van Rijksuniversiteit Groningen". NOS. Retrieved 28 November 2018.
  19. ^ "Rijksuniversiteit Groningen blaast plan Chinees filiaal af". NOS. Retrieved 28 November 2018.
  20. ^ "CWUR - World University Rankings 2021-2022". Center for World University Rankingsg. Retrieved 12 June 2021.
  21. ^ "CWTS Leiden Ranking 2021 - PP top 10%". CWTS Leiden Ranking. Retrieved 12 June 2021.
  22. ^ "QS World University Rankings 2021". Quacquarelli Symonds Ltd. Retrieved 13 June 2021.
  23. ^ Research Master's and Top (Master's) programmes - website University of Groningen
  24. ^ "Binding study advice (BSA) | Studying at the University | Find out more | Education | University of Groningen". Retrieved 3 June 2018.
  25. ^ "CHE ranking (2010)". Retrieved 31 May 2015.
  26. ^ "Internationale positie". Retrieved 5 October 2017.
  27. ^ "University of Groningen World University Rankings | THE". The Times Higher Educational Supplement. 2015. Retrieved 10 September 2016.
  28. ^ Global University Rankings, retrieved 4 April 2015
  29. ^ "Academic Ranking of World Universities 2019". Shanghai Jiao Tong University. 2019. Retrieved 9 July 2020.
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  36. ^ "Accreditation, assessment and embedding - Organisatie / FEB - FEB - Over ons - Rijksuniversiteit Groningen".
  37. ^ "UKrant". UK. Retrieved 31 May 2015.
  38. ^ "The Cave". Retrieved 31 May 2015.
  39. ^ "Op University College geen zesjesstudenten". De Volkskrant. Retrieved 29 November 2018.
  40. ^ "BA/BSc Liberal Arts & Sciences". Retrieved 29 November 2018.
  41. ^ "Zernike Campus". Groningen - City of Talent. Retrieved 20 October 2019.
  42. ^ "Faculties | Our organization | About us | University of Groningen". Retrieved 11 June 2018.
  43. ^
  44. ^ "Sports associations | Extracurricular activities and associations | Student life | Find out more | Education | University of Groningen". Retrieved 11 June 2018.
  45. ^ Zee, Renate van der (29 July 2015). "How Groningen invented a cycling template for cities all over the world". the Guardian. Retrieved 11 June 2018.
  46. ^ "SSH student housing | Rooms and apartments for students". Retrieved 11 June 2018.
  47. ^ "Housing rights & Tenant's duties - Housing in Groningen". Housing in Groningen (in Dutch). Retrieved 11 June 2018.
  48. ^ "The Student Housing Nightmare". The Dutch Review. 11 June 2018. Retrieved 11 June 2018.
  49. ^ Research School of Behavioral and Cognitive Sciences (BCN), University of Groningen.
  50. ^ Research Institute BCN-BRAIN, University of Groningen.
  51. ^ Cancer Research Center Groningen (CRCG), University of Groningen.
  52. ^ Groningen Institute for Evolutionary Life Sciences (GELIFES), University of Groningen.
  53. ^ Groningen University Institute for Drug Exploration (GUIDE), University of Groningen.
  54. ^ Research Institute SHARE, University of Groningen.
  55. ^ W.J. Kolff Institute for Biomedical Engineering and Materials Science, University of Groningen.
  56. ^ "Research institutes | Research | University of Groningen". Retrieved 15 September 2020.
  57. ^ "PhD programma's". Retrieved 31 May 2015.
  58. ^ "Prominente Groningse hoogleraren". Retrieved 31 May 2015.
  59. ^ Klaas Knot wordt nieuwe president van DNB
  60. ^ (PDF) Changes in publication culture and the Stapel fraud case | ruud abma -

Further reading