New year, new beginnings!

Happy New Year!

Over the course of 2023, City Central and Connect International will officially become part of International Welcome Center North. All of the members of our international team are looking forward to working more closely together and being the only one-stop-shop to serve all the social, personal and professional needs of internationals in the northern Netherlands.

This closer working relationship also means that there will be a few changes coming to our websites.

From now on, you can find out about and register for upcoming City Central events, such as FietsFriend, Welcome Walks and art tours, as well as Connect’s many activities across the north, right here via Connect’s events calendar.

In the coming months, you will be able to find more information about City Central and Connect’s services at – and you can also already sign up for My Local Friend via the IWCN site! Follow this link to find out more.

And over on social media, be sure to follow us on our new IWCN accounts – – on Facebook and Instagram.

Thank you for your continued support and interest in our activities! If you have any questions, please contact us at: communication [at]

Connect International introduces: student membership!

As part of a closer working relationship between International Welcome Center NorthConnect International and City Central, IWCN is introducing a discounted student membership option for bachelor and master’s students at academic institutions in Groningen, Drenthe and Friesland.

In an effort to share their services with even more internationals in the region, Connect International, the social member club of IWCN, is launching a new student membership option for full-time bachelor and master’s students in the north. 

By making Connect membership more affordable for students, IWCN aims to better serve the future young professionals of the north and give them access to a wider social and professional network in the region.

Membership benefits

Since 1998, Connect International has provided for the social and community needs of internationals in the northern provinces of Groningen, Drenthe and Friesland. The organization was originally founded to serve incoming international professionals and their partners, as well as to bring internationals together – not only with each other, but also with local Dutch residents and regional culture. 

Standard Connect membership is 25 euros per year, and the new discounted student membership is 15 euros (per person per year). All members will have access to:

  • (Most) Connect International, City Central and IWCN events
  • Member discounts for select external events in collaboration with local (cultural) organisations
  • Weekly Tips about upcoming events, activities and special announcements (such as job vacancies for internationals in the Northern Netherlands)
  • Volunteer opportunities to develop activities and host them 

Existing Connect members will now have free access to IWCN and (most) City Central events as well, making a great addition to Connect’s already extensive range of fun and informative activities and clubs, including (but not limited to): 

– Conversation Fun (Dutch and English)

– Coffee mornings

– Welcome Walks

– Running and walking clubs

– Seminars and webinars on topics such as health insurance and renting a home

– Book Club

– FietsFriend: Rules of the Road cycling workshops and outings

– Guided art tours

– Café tours

– Arts and crafts workshops

Joining forces

Over the course of 2022, City Central has been partnering more closely together with Connect International and International Welcome Center North (IWCN)
City Central, Connect and IWCN share a deep commitment to helping internationals feel at home, enabling them to tap into all that this special region has to offer, and empowering them give back and get involved in their new community in the three northern provinces of Groningen, Drenthe and Friesland.

Through the introduction of a student discount membership, City Central’s community of young and engaged international residents can feel even more at home.

Sign up as a general or student member at Connect International today!

New Coronavirus regulations- and the CovidCheck App!

Since Saturday 25th, the Netherlands has officially stopped holding by the 1.5-metrer social distancing regulation. To make sure that the Coronavirus stays in check, however access to restaurants, bars, and events will be based on providing a “EU Digital COVID Certificate” (DCC). This certificate (in the form of a QR code) shows your vaccine and/or test status.

The certificate will be accessible to people, who are either (fully) vaccinated, have recovered from the virus, or have been tested negative via the CoronaCheck app. You can also download and print a paper version of the certificate via the CoronaCheck website.

Many Internationals received their vaccination outside of the Netherlands, prior to their arrival or during their stay home in summer. In the Netherlands registered vaccinations will be transferred automatically to the CoronaCheck app, but vaccinations done outside of the European Union require scheduling an appointment with the GGD, located in Utrecht. EU citizens should receive a DCC in the country in which they were vaccinated, which they can use in the Netherlands.

The IWCN has written a full guide on the subject, available here.

Covid-regulations – 26 June Update

On 26 June the Netherlands will be taking the fourth step in the reopening plan and everything will reopen.

You must still maintain a distance of 1.5 metres apart. However in places where this is not possible, such as in nightclubs and at organised events, you will need a coronavirus entry pass (visit for more info).

In addition, the requirement to wear a face mask will no longer apply in most situations. It will continue to apply only in situations where staying 1.5 apart is impossible. For example on public transport, on aeroplanes and other forms of passenger transport, at stations and airports, and in secondary schools.

Continue reading “Covid-regulations – 26 June Update”

To the beach! The best places to dip your toes in Groningen, Friesland, and Drenthe

After an exceptionally long spring (that often felt more like autumn), filled with lockdowns, curfews, and sideways rain; summer seems to have bloomed in the North. With temperatures in the next few weeks reaching the heady heights of almost 25 degrees centigrade (!), here’s some of the best places to head to for beach tennis, sandcastle-building, and maybe even a spot of light swimming.

Continue reading “To the beach! The best places to dip your toes in Groningen, Friesland, and Drenthe”