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  • Writer's pictureHenrike Laing

Groningen Calls on Young Professionals: Come Back to Us!

Updated: Feb 2

While skilled professionals are needed all over the Netherlands, Groningen now wants to convince young people to come back to the north. But for some, it does not seem to be an option.

To fill vacancies, the city of Groningen tries to convince young professionals to come back. © Henrike Laing

According to the organizers from Economie Groningen, the Groningen recall campaign is primarily aimed at young people born between 1988 and 1998, who either come from Groningen, have studied here or have lived here. Many of them now live in the Randstad area of the Netherlands, which includes big cities such as Amsterdam, Rotterdam and The Hague.

With its campaign, Groningen now wants to show that the city offers various opportunities in the directions of energy, health and digitalization, and can provide lifestyle benefits that people in the Randstad are missing out on. As a result, the city hopes to gain new inhabitants and fill up vacancies.

“[Groningen] feels safe”

Isa Dols grew up in Groningen and moved away to Delft for her studies. Leaving her hometown was not a decision against Groningen, but for a certain study program, the 24-year-old says: “Going to Delft was the most logical, easiest path.”


Over time, Delft has become her home. “It feels like my place. And Groningen more the one for my parents.“ In addition to her social environment, Isa enjoys the flexibility and short distances that Delft gives her. "Rotterdam is close and you can experience many more cultures here. That's great and different from Groningen."


Nevertheless, the campaign seems to be right in assuming that Groningen's surroundings and atmosphere are not similar to what other cities are offering. "I miss the nature that is around Groningen. And the fact that it is such a young city, that is what I loved. And it feels safe. It is just the combination,” Isa says.

As Groningen Economie defines on their website, characteristics of young professionals in the focus of the campaign: living in the Randstad and thinking there are limited jobs and chances outside that area © Screenshot Website Economie Groningen

Now, with her job in Delft as well as friends and partner, moving is not an option for her. But her plans for the future are still unclear and in a few years she might reconsider working and living in Groningen, she says.


“Moving to Groningen would feel like moving abroad”


Groningen, however, will not be able to convince everyone with their campaign. Puck Rouffaer grew up in Amsterdam and, like many, came to Groningen to study. Now she is away again, in the big city of The Hague, and there will be no going back to Groningen for her.


“Moving to Groningen would feel like moving abroad to me,” Puck says and explains how Groningen is just too far away from her friends and family, and costs would be too high to travel all the time. Living in such a small town, which feels to her “like a bubble” would just not fit her needs anymore, Puck says.

Puck Rouffaer during her time as a student in Groningen, exploring the nature. © Puck Rouffaer

Staying in Groningen long-term was never something Puck considered. “When I was studying, we all thought – when you want to work, we have to move away from Groningen. I am not sure anymore if that’s true or not, but for us back then we did not think it was an option.”


Students have left, and will continue to leave, because they see no future in Groningen, neither personally nor professionally. However, Groningen is trying to attract professionals and fill the vacancies. Time will tell how many matches there will be and whether the campaign will succeed.


To further guide interested people in their considerations, young professionals who moved away can register and win a spot in the “Groningen Experience” which aims to underline again different benefits of the city and job opportunities.

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