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!

Love is in the air!

Commercials and store windows all over the place push us to buy chocolates, flowers, teddy bears and all kinds of merchandise with hearts printed on it. But is this really the way to express true love? And is romantic love the only one that deserves to be celebrated? How about loving your family and friends? How about self-love? Here are some ideas that we believe say “I love you” louder than a million heart-shaped chocolates with a teddy bear inside.

Continue reading “Love is in the air!”

Becoming a Dutch Citizen

Being a British citizen, I have had a lot of questions following the UK’s vote to leave the EU, as I know many of my fellow Brits have had as well. And while there are no definite answers yet on what Brexit will mean for us, I wanted to be sure that my future here in the Netherlands with my Dutch partner and child would not be affected.

Continue reading “Becoming a Dutch Citizen”

Talk to your neighbours and make a party out of it!

Today (19 May) more than 30 million people across 36 countries celebrate the Neighbours’ Day. This initiative, originally set up in Paris in 2000, aims to foster community connection and create better neighbourhoods where people enjoy living. Besides strengthening the direct involvement of citizens in their neighbourhood, it helps to create an area of intercultural dialogue, mutual aid and mutual consideration, while making the knowledge of one another easier and participating in the decrease of any prejudice or stereotype.

But in fact you don’t need any special day to just go talk to your neighbours. Just introduce yourself, and if you feel some kind of connection, invite them over or ask for some advice. And if you already know people living next to you, consider organizing a BBQ, or a potluck, or a playdate for kids. Whatever you decide to do, you will feel more integrated and find yourself more rooted instantly.

Continue reading “Talk to your neighbours and make a party out of it!”

Feeling a little blue? Here are some tips!

Did you know that Monday this week (16 January) was supposedly the most depressing day of the year? Blue Monday is said to be a combination of weather, financial problems, a return to work after the Christmas break, low motivation and abandoned New Year resolutions. Add to this list typical expat issues (which might feel more dominant than usual during these cold and dark days): the culture shock, the language barrier, feeling homesick and experiencing the lack of personal or professional network – and even the most positive people can start feeling a little blue.

Continue reading “Feeling a little blue? Here are some tips!”

Connect International is growing and changing

As 2016 draws to a close, we would like to make our Stichting Connect International members aware of some exciting upcoming changes to Connect International. In addition to providing information and support to internationals in the provinces of Groningen, Friesland and Drenthe, and organizing events and activities to connect them to the region, Connect International has also offered relocation services to companies and organizations to assist their employees with moving and settling into the Netherlands. As of 1 January 2017, the commercial relocation services formerly provided by Stichting Connect International will be offered by a new organization, Connect Relocation v.o.f. run by the same great relocation team. More information about Connect Relocation v.o.f. can be found on their new website (live as of 1 January 2017):

Continue reading “Connect International is growing and changing”